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 “I’m still riding out, though not currently due to the crisis of course, with Eddie Harty on the Curragh which I have done for the last seven years, and also locally for various people in Wexford.

By Olivia Hamilton

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Contact Ollie Ellwood in Wexford to have your faithful canine or equine friend captured on canvas

WEXFORD-based Ollie Ellwood was just off a Skype call to colleagues in Somaliland, East Africa when contacted mid-week. “Yes, I have been working remotely as I cannot make my frequent visits out there where I work for a company delivering a security and justice program. We are currently advising the armed forces on their logistic and supporting role to the national government’s COVID-19 response.

“Thank goodness the coronavirus doesn’t appear to have hit African countries to the same extent as elsewhere globally so far, but this is likely to change and we are using this time to get procedures in place.”

Parrot Mouth Somaliland To The Curragh
Cattle herders – South Sudan. Oil on canvas by Ollie Ellwood

Working on and off in Africa over a period of 10 years after a career as a soldier, Ollie settled near Wellingtonbridge, Co Wexford in 2012 where he continues his lifelong interest in painting, mostly on commission, featuring horses, dogs and the rural landscapes that surround him.

He rode for more than 20 years as an amateur in Britain, gaining a total of 43 wins in point-to-points and under rules.

“I’m still riding out, though not currently due to the crisis of course, with Eddie Harty on the Curragh which I have done for the last seven years, and also locally for various people in Wexford.

“Eddie has some really nice two-year-olds ready to hit the track as soon as we are able to.”

Ollie rode out for Toby Balding and had his first ride in the Grand Military Gold Cup at Sandown Park in 1988. Toby and Seamus Mullins, his amateur at the time, taught him a great deal. He was particularly successful at Sandown, winning 15 races in all, four of which were for Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, two on Norman Conqueror in 1996, and one each on Bella McRae and Braes Of Mar.

He modestly describes it as “good luck” getting round in the Aintree Foxhunters Chase three times, in 1996, 1999 and 2000, not over the ‘monster’ fences of old but in the intermediate period before today’s fences.

There’s no doubt in Ollie’s mind that race riding and his ongoing riding out has not only given him plenty of material to use but helped him with composition, watching professional horsemen and women close up and observing the anatomy and action of horses.

It “gives me the experience to capture the unique character and ‘feel’ of each racehorse, hunter, hound, and dog.”

As a painter of over 40 years, Ollie is ready as ever to take on commissions and is delighted when people recommission. “I can be quick if people require it – a husband forgetting his wife’s birthday or something like that!”

www.oliverellwood.com. Mobile 085 8716953

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