PONY riders were one of the worst sections affected by the pandemic restrictions and as a result had a much delayed start to their season. Despite this, the standard was as high as ever. The first real test came in the form of RDS qualifiers with the first of the four rounds taking place in June at Barnadown. As expected, qualifiers went down to wire as riders put their best foot forward to secure a ticket.

RDS National Championships

At the RDS National Championship, although it wasn’t the Dublin Horse Show, titles proved just as important. In the 128cm division, out of 28 combinations forward, 10 booked their place against the clock. Keeping with his family record of gathering red rosettes from the RDS, Ruben Foley took the crown with The Silver Legend in his first time competing at Ballsbridge. Juliette McIntosh and Jerry Sweetnam’s Hollycreek Oran Splendour took second place while Charlie Flynn and Penchwintan took third.


In the 138cm Championship, 24 combinations went to post and just five maintained clean sheets to book their place against the clock. Second to go, Iseult Fleming set off strong with Coppenagh Celtic Rebel and a very tight turn back to fence 14, saw her up on pace. This, matched with a daring gallop to the last, saw them lodge the winning round. Lauren Adams put in a gallant attempt with Riot Del Pegulil, but had to settle for the runner-up place, ahead of Senan Reape and Small Titan in third.


In the 148cm, the standard was again high with nine of 28 proceeding to the timed round. Martha Hughes Bravo entered the ring in a determined fashion with HHS Mustang Sally. A good turnback to fence three and then on to the Celtic Cross fence was enough for her to claim victory. Reserve 148cm champion at the SJI Championships, Sarah Fitzgerald took it up with Moore’s Pride and delivered the first double clear which would later see her take the runner-up spot, ahead of Emily Moloney and Castlehill.

Pony Championships Mullingar

The SJI Pony Championships saw riders flock to Mullingar in a bid to take one of the many titles. With 78 classes on the schedule and after four days of intense competition, the national champions were crowned. Ruben Foley was the Flexi Equine overall champion after he clocked up 111 SJI points over the show.

Claiming the 128cm under 10 crown was Ella Rush on Dutch Lady, while the 128cm went to Ruben Foley on The Silver Legend. Katie Nallon and Hubba Bubba were crowned the 138cm champions, while Anna White and Red Star Optimus took the 148cm top honours.

Coolmore Pony Premier Finals

The Coolmore Pony Premier at Necarne saw the top combinations battle it out. In the 128cm under 10s, taking the final win was Connaught’s Ella Rush with Dutch Lady, while winning the overall league was Munster’s Charlie Flynn on a massive 44 points after claiming four of six legs. The leading pony was the mount of Lucia Keane, Bjerregards Katja, who finished on 24 points.

In the 138cm section, Carlow’s Ruben Foley dominated, claiming all legs and along with the overall title, he also took the final win with The Silver Legend.

Victory in the 138cm division went to James Derwin and Ruby Brown while consistency paid off for Senan Reape, on a total of 41 points, who recorded three wins and was placed in two other rounds. The leading pony was Ruby Brown who clocked up 28 points.

In the 148cm, Kilkenny’s James Brennan led the victory lap in the final round with MHS Glow. Winner of the league was Coen Williams on 26 points, while the leading pony was Coen’s Saxton Freedam on 18 points.

Glencarrig Lady League Final

The Glencarraig Lady League is a firm favourite with children and booking a place in the final is a big achievement. Winner of the Glencarraig U9 70cm final was Ronan Duffy with Twinkle Star Cedar, clear in 33.30, ahead of Max Doran and Breakfast Toast Coco in 33.67. Filling third place were Alanna Dardis and Molly Mae who crossed the line with nothing to add in 37.15.

In the U11 80cm final, 25 battled it out where Mark Byrne and Kilmoylan Joey claimed victory after they came home clear in 34.20. Just over a second behind were Aoileann Cantwell (L) and Isabell Queen who clocked 35.23, ahead of Grainne Keogh and Midnight Sky, in 37.59.

Southview action

The Irish contingent put in a strong performance at Southview with a series of impressive results in the individual and team classes. The 128cm Irish team consisted of Robbie Sheehan, Ted Fagan, Tara Sweetnam and Ruben Foley and they claimed victory in the team event.

The good results continued to roll in the 148cm division as the team of Isobel Sheehan, Alannah Fagan, Aine Shorthall and Ruben Foley claimed the 148cm Debut Team Event.

The 138cm team of Isobel Sheehan, Ruben Foley, Izabella Rogers and James Derwin were narrowly pipped as they slotted into second place in what was a nail-biting class. In the 148cm 1.25m, the team of James Derwin, Alannah Fagan, Kym Moore and Aine Shortall finished in fourth place.


Hagen has always proved to be a happy hunting ground for the Irish and 2021 proved the same. The Irish pony team of Eoin Brennan with GCS Daisy Lux (ISH), Marta Hughes-Bravo with Carrickaduff Pet (ISH), Chloe Hughes Kennedy with Still Got Me and Katie McEntee with Valmy De Treille, managed by Gary Marshall, finished third in the FEI Pony Nations Cup on a two-round total of 24 faults with victory going to France on a zero score.

Gold for Irish

Irish eyes were definitely smiling in Peelbergen as young Irish riders clocked up top results in the FEI Jumping Nations Cup Youth Final. Gary Marshall’s team of James Brennan with MHS Glow (ISH), Coen Williams with Dun The Business, James Derwin with Cul Ban Mistress (CP) and Katie McEntee with Ardfry Skye emerged victorious in the CS Bio Ponies Nations Cup Final when they were the only team to finish on a score of zero faults. This quartet had been on form early that week as they shared the win in the Eyewatch Security Group Prix (1.30) with Denmark in the FEI Jumping Nations Cup Youth Final Peelbergen 2021.


Despite a great performance, the team of James Brennan with MHS Glow, James Derwin with Cul Ban Mistress, Katie McEntee with Ardfry Skye, Ellen Power with Ghost Rider and Coen Williams with Dun the Business narrowly missed out on a medal at the European Championships in Strzegom.

James Derwin (12) was competing in his first FEI Show aboard Cul Ban Mistress who previously won medals for his cousins Kate and Francis. He won the opening speed competition and was unlucky to pick up four faults in the team final. Both Williams and Brennan were clear on the final day while McEntee picked up four faults. In the individual rankings, Brennan was best of the Irish finishing in 11th place.

Peelbergen CSI Youth

Irish riders put in a great performance at Peelbergen CSI Youth. Among the impressive results was Cian Dore’s win in the CSIP 1.30m Grand Prix. The Limerick rider partnered his mother Edel’s eight-year-old gelding Sparkling Lackaghmore Joey to a brilliant clear in 32.97 to see off the challenge from nine competitors in the jump-off.

Cavan Pony Championship

The Cavan Two-Day December Pony Show was well supported. Sunday’s competition went down to the wire. In the 138cm 1m division, 49 combinations went to post with 31 combinations delivering double clears. Taking the win was Alex Sheehan and Cuffesgrange In It To win it.

Leading the victory lap in the 128cm 90cm Championship was Johan Fitzpatrick Burns (U) and Chocolat 11, while in the 128cm 1m Grand Prix, Jack Dore emerged victorious with the very reliable Kilcreene Basil. In the 148cm 1.20m, Paddy Reape left nothing to chance when he took the win with Valma De Fougnard.

There was a strong entry for the 148cm 1m, with 88 entries going to post. Taking the win was Leinster rider Aimee Walsh and the seven-year-old Carnabay Micky. In the 148cm 1.10m Championship, Connaught rider Fionnghuala Benson and Flash Molly took the victory.

Retiring riders took centre stage on the Saturday with 43 combinations going to post. Taking the win was Leinster rider Billy Sinnott and Fairy Dust Clydagh ahead of fellow Leinster rider Matthew Farrell and Merrylegs. Slotting into third place was Connaught rider John Kirrane with Holmestead Saddlery Prada, clear in 67.80.