Excellent equines on show at RDS

ONE of the top equestrian showcases in Europe gets under way today with the official opening of the Discover Ireland Dublin Horse Show at the RDS in Ballsbridge.

The 138th staging of the event will see some of the world’s top show jumpers competing for an overall prize fund of €940,000, with entrants from France, Germany, Britain, Belgium, the US, the Netherlands, Denmark and Ireland.

In addition to 15 international jumping competitions and 30 national jumping competitions over the five-day show, there will also be 87 showing classes including a number of new events such as the Connemara Breeders’ Championship, a Small Event Horse Class and a performance class for Irish Draught horses.

RDS chief executive Michael Duffy predicted there would be major public interest in one of the highlights of the summer’s social calendar.

“The RDS Showgrounds will be a hive of activity over the next few days with not only the arrival of over 1,500 horses and ponies but also more than 300 trade exhibitors displaying their products,” said Mr Duffy.

“This year sees the RDS continue its mission to support the Irish sport horse breeder and producer through ensuring the best Irish-bred horses are showcased at the show.”

Among the attractions are Blossom Hill Ladies’ Day tomorrow and the Pony Club games on Saturday and Sunday, while the colourful Ukrainian Cossacks will give daily demonstrations of their horsemanship and stunt-riding.

As ever, one of the main highlights of the event will be the Nations Cup for the Aga Khan Challenge Trophy on Friday.

There will also be a keen interest in the Racehorse to Riding competition where former racehorses are tested on how useful they are for adapting to a different discipline once their racing days are over. Among former stars of the turf taking part on Saturday are Brave Inca, Hardy Eustace, Harchibald and Mansony.

Members of the public will be able to participate in the Public Judging Competition to demonstrate their own judging skills which carries a daily prize fund of €1,000. Regulars at the Dublin Horse Show will also be interested in an exhibition being held in the RDS Library which documents the history of the event from its first staging in 1868.

Those travelling to the RDS are being advised to take public transport where possible as there is limited parking space available in the Ballsbridge area.

Park and ride facilities will operate from Muckross College in Donnybrook and the UCD campus in Belfield.

There will also be a number of traffic restrictions around the RDS with Simmonsourt Road closed to normal vehicular traffic for the duration of the Horse Show, which runs until Sunday, August 7.

The show opens daily from 8am with the official opening by Dublin’s lord mayor taking place today at noon.

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