Jessica Springsteen, 22-year-old show jumping daughter of American rock legend Bruce Springsteen, has just bought one of Ireland’s top sport horses, for a rumoured 1 million euros, to compete upon internationally.

Lisona, a bay mare bred in Co. Meath by former Irish Army rider Comdt. John Ledingham, had been campaigned successfully by Sligo-born Darragh Kerins over the last three years, the combination helping the Irish team to victories in the Nations’ Cups at both Hickstead and Dublin in 2012.

Last night (Friday) Kerins said about the sale of the 12 year-old Irish Sport Horse: “It was a very hard decision for (co-owner) Maarten Huygens and I to make, as Lisona achieved so many great wins for us and Team Ireland. She is a great mare and will be very sadly missed in my barn. I wish her new owner, Jessica Springsteen, the very best of luck with her.”

The sum paid for Lisona has not been revealed, but top Irish-bred horses are highly thought of in global equestrian circles, and can command very substantial prices.

Horse Sport Ireland Chairman Pat Wall said today: “It’s great to see an Irish horse sold for mega money, and with a high profile rider like Jessica Springsteen the horse will remain in the limelight, flying the flag for Irish breeders.

“Darragh Kerins is to be complimented for producing the horse to this level and successfully campaigning him on the world stage, and it is quite likely that he will repeat the process when the next suitable Irish Sport Horse becomes available,” he added.

“What John Ledingham has achieved, breeding an animal of this calibre, demonstrates what we are capable of in Ireland and all breeders must take heart from this successful outcome.”

Meanwhile Ireland’s show jumping manager Robert Splaine said: “This was a very talented horse who was on my championship long list and will be a big loss to Team Ireland, but I understand the process completely. The Irish Sport Horse is as good as any horse in the world, and when Nations’ Cup success at Superleague level creates a high international profile for horse and rider it is inevitable that the horse becomes sought after and in many cases is subsequently sold.

“Having selected the combination of Lisona and Darragh Kerins last year for the English Nations’ Cup at Hickstead and the Aga Khan in Dublin, it was great to see horse and rider rise magnificently to the occasion, contributing greatly to Irish team victory in both competitions. I want to thank Maarten Huygens for making his horse available to us, and I look forward to both Maarten and Darragh being part of our Nations’ Cup teams in the future.”