A Look Back at 2022: “A once in a lifetime opportunity”

  • 9 December 2022, 11:29

A Look Back at 2022 – Showing

“A once in a lifetime opportunity”


In part three of ‘A Look Back at 2022’, Horse Sport Ireland review the success of Irish-bred horses in the showing ring both at home and abroad, the return of the Dublin Horse Show, pay tribute to two Irish showing legends who retired in 2022 and much more.

In the previous two parts to this series, we have looked at the outstanding results of Irish-bred event horses, the growing success of breeding Irish dressage horses, and the success of Irish athletes, both in the youth and senior ranks. In this week’s article we start to look a little closer to home, in what for many, is the nursey ground for the competition horses previously mentioned.

Showing and agricultural shows have provided a training ground and marketplace for Irish-bred horses for generations, 2022 was no exception.

Throughout the year over 70 shows took place, each one playing a valuable part in the education and production of horses around Ireland. Of these shows over 35 received sponsorship from Horse Sport Ireland, helping to support Irish breeders and producers.

Each shows brings its own unique focus, from young horse classes to breed specific classes, the showing season includes something for everyone.

RDS Returns

For many breeders, producers and riders the RDS Dublin Horse Show is the pinnacle of the season. Following a two-year break due to the global pandemic, it was great to see the world-famous show return. Over 115,000 spectators attended the five-day show.

The show boasts an array of over 80 national classes, including a selection of classes specifically for Irish Draughts, Connemara Ponies and Traditionally bred Irish horses. It also includes international and national show jumping classes which will be covered in the next article in this series.

The Dublin Horse Show promotes the best of Irish breeding, a number of classes are restricted to Irish-bred horses and ponies. Such classes include the Show Hunter, Working Hunter Championship and many of the young horse classes.

In the opening class, the Performance Irish Draught for four and five-year-olds, Ratheoin Jack In a Box (ID) claimed victory for owner Declan O’Neill and rider Gwen Scott. By Hilviewfarm Superstar (ID) and out of Rosharry Princess (ID), by Classic Vision (ID), this four-year-old impressed the judges to claim top marks.

In the six-year-old and older division of the same class it was a dream come true owners Robert Hare and Laura Snow, when Laura won with their homebred Drynam Hero (ID), a six-year-old by Gortfree Hero (ID), out of Cushnahans Mist (ID), by Rockrimmon Silver Diamond (ID).

Speaking to Horse Sport Ireland Laura Snow said;

“I’m delighted to have won in Dublin this year, it’s still a bit surreal. Drynam Hero is an amazing horse. He is a true testament to the Irish Draught breed with a super temperament, rideability and talent. I’m very proud to have bred and produced him myself and to win in the RDS was the icing on the cake.”

The Three-Year-Old Potential Event Horse, supported by Horse Sport Ireland, concluded the opening day of the show. John Bannon’s filly Take Your Chance (ISH) was first into the ring and proved unbeatable. Bred by Wexford’s Leo Carty, she is by Orestus (KWPN), out of Shannondale Silver (ISH).

Irish Sport Horses won both divisions of the Horse Sport Ireland sponsored Young Event Horse classes. The four-year-old class was won by Newmarket Amy (ISH), owned and ridden by Diarmuid Ryan. Victory in the five-year-old class went to CJO Kann Surprise (ISH), ridden by Steven Smith and owned by Caroline Overend and Carla Leitch

In the two-year-old gelding or colt class, sponsored by Horse Sport Ireland, victory went to John Mulconroy’s OTG Killaloe (ISH), by the Thoroughbred Virtual, and out of the Irish Sport Horse mare Reno Jean, by Reno Rebel (IRE).

Liam Lynskey’s DS Bounce With Me Baby (ID) won the Irish Draught Mares, 5-year-old and over older class with foal at foot. Bred by Brendan Duffy, the six-year-old mare is by Moylough Bouncer (ID), out of Mount Diamond Princess (ID).

In the first of the Horse Sport Ireland sponsored three-year-old classes Flynn (ISH), owned by Declan Daly won the gelding able to carry 83kg and over division. Daphne Tierney’s Bloomfield Watergate (ISH) claimed the gelding to carry up to 83kg and went on to win the Pembroke Challenge Cup. Glen Future, owned by Anthony Gill, won the three-year-old filly class. Notably both three-year-old winners were sired by Thoroughbred stallions and out of Irish Sport Horse mares. Flynn is by Munther (IRE) and Bloomfield Watergate is by Watermill Swatch (HOL).

The yearling titles, sponsored by Horse Sport Ireland, were won by Murrisk Curious Vancouver (ISH), owned by Patrick O’Sullivan, in the gelding or colt class, and Jordans Sunray Celebrity (ISH), owned by Rosalind Collier-Hindley, in the filly class.

In the Horse Sport Ireland sponsored Working Hunter Horse class, for Traditional Irish Horses, Queens Master (ISH) [TIH], owned by Anne Byrne and ridden by Katie Byrne won the class. By the late Kings Master, this nine-year-old mare is out of the Thoroughbred mare Golden Fantasy. Bred by Trevor Horgan from Piltown, Co Kilkenny.

In the four-year-old Working Hunter class JJ Bowe owned both the first and second place horses, taking the top honours was Moylough Vision (ID), ridden by Alice Griffin and in second was Hunting Sun (ID), ridden by Correna Bowe.

Parkmore Evita
Photo: Susan Finnerty

Curtain Call

2022 saw two Irish-bred showing legends retire. Parkmore Evita (ISH)[TIH] and View Point (ISH) bowed out on a high and will be long remembered for their success over the last number of years.

Parkmore Evita cemented her legacy as one of the leading mares in Ireland when she added the Eventing section of the Broodmare Championship to her roll of honour, with her filly foal Parkmore Tyra (ISH) at foot at the RDS Dublin Horse Show in August. This follows on from her previous 2019 success at the Ballsbridge location when she won the coveted Breeders Championship prize.

In preparation for Dublin Parkmore Evita claimed victory in the Banner Broodmare Class at Clarecastle Show, adding to her collection of broodmare successes, including winning the Balmoral Broodmare Championship in 2016, the All-Ireland Championship, and the Coote Cup in Dublin in 2017.

Viewpoint and Robert Walker win at HOYS

Ending his showing career on a high note, the 11-year-old Lightweight Hunter View Point, claimed the Supreme Horse of the Year Championships for the second time running Horse of the Year Show (HOYS), Great Britain.

A prolific winner for rider Robert Walker and owner Jill Day, View Point (ISH) has an enviable list of titles and awards to his name including numerous victories at the Royal Windsor Horse Show, the in-hand Cuddy Championship at HOYS for two-year-old horses, and the Supreme Ridden Horse Championship at the 2022 August Royal International Horse Show in Hickstead.

Success started early for this gelding, as a foal he won every class he was entered in. Bred in Co Clare, he is by Loughahoe Guy (ISH), out of Quality Dame (ISH) by O.B.O.S Quality 004 (OLD). His dam also produced Vantage Point (ISH), sired by Nash Me (IRE), who won the Heavyweight Hunter and overall Show Hunter of The Year at HOYS in 2015 for Jill Day.

Describing the experience of breeding View Point, Sean Jones said; “a once in a lifetime opportunity.” Day bought View Point as a foal and now that his showing career has concluded he will be taking to the hunting field.

Speaking to Horse Sport Ireland about what set View Point apart, Robert Walker said;

“He always wants to go forward and was a really easy horse to train. We had to take it easy with him as a four-year-old as he was so willing to learn, always listening and so easy to work with that he could have done too much soon.

He has such a wonderful, smooth trot and such rhythm in his movement that much like Vantage Point (ISH), he was just a touch of class. They also have similar temperaments and are so sweet and kind that you could easily trust them with a child.”

Travelling across to watch his homebreds compete has become cherished experience for breeder Sean Jones who has now been to Windsor to see View Point compete four times, and HOYS three times.

Unfortunately, the Jones family lost Quality Dame (ISH) early in 2022, her bloodline is secure for the next generation, and all connections are excited to see what the future will hold.

Irish-bred Horses Shine at HOYS

View Point may have dominated the HOYS headlines, but he was far from the only Irish-bred horse to excel at the world-famous Birmingham show. The 10-year-old Irish Draught Fuerty Emperor (ID) ridden by English rider Lauren Brill won the Heavyweight Hunter class. Bred in Enfield, Co Meath by Michael Bailey, the gelding is by Welcome Emperor (ID), out of Fuerty Grey Mist (ID), by Carrickrock Close Shave (ID).

Robert Walker once again partnered an Irish Sport Horse to success, this time in the Middleweight Hunter class with Crystal Cove. This 6-year-old gelding is by Rehy High Society (ISH), out of Kilfearagh Breeze (ISH), by Coevers Diamond Boy (ISH). Second and third place were also awarded to Irish Sport Horses, both carrying the Bloomfield prefix for Daphne Tierney. Bloomfield Greystones (ISH) was second and Bloomfield Eloquence (ISH) was third.

Jane Bradbury is no stranger to show ring success. This time she was the proud breeder when Ballinclare (ISH) won the Hack Championship for owner Ami Miller and rider Jo Bates. The 6-year-old mare is by Silvano (KWPN) and out of the homebred Thoroughbred mare Katoda (IRE).

10-year-old rider Elsie Lynch from Cheshire, England had a dream come true for her first ever HOYS experience, winning the 133 Working Hunter Class and going on to win the Working Hunter Pony Championship and the Ridden Pony Supreme Championship with the Irish-bred Nobel Peppermint.

Thank You

As is the case with many aspects of the Irish Sport Horse industry a special thanks and mention must go to all the volunteers who help make the Irish showing scene such a success. Seeing Irish-bred horses claim championships at shows such as HOYS shows the calibre of horses being produced in Ireland.