IN early May, Judith Faherty and Isabel Hurley wrote: “The Royal Dublin Society has proposed to host a five-day RDS National Championships with a select number of showing and show jumping classes, in place of the five-star Dublin Horse Show, which has been cancelled for the second successive year due to Covid-19. The show is worth an estimated €50 million to the Irish economy in normal times.”

Later in the month, we were informed that the Championships would have a €167,000 prize-fund. However, it seems their divvy wasn’t enough to tempt the in-hand and ridden showing brigade to qualify for, and pay for, a one-day visit to Ballsbridge so the majority of classes in that section of the programme were cancelled – apart from the three-year-old loose performance championships and the three-year-old young event horse championship.

The new-look championships, and their qualifiers, were well covered in these pages including the young event horse, junior/young rider event horse and the two native breed performance championships, the finals of which were held in Lambertown, Co Meath on Tuesday, August 17th.

Three days later, the action moved to the Main Arena at the RDS showgrounds and, while the great atmosphere of a normal Dublin was missing, those who took part in the jumping section welcomed the opportunity to do so.

Live-streaming of all classes bar those of under-age riders, was appreciated by those unable to attend the championships which were held behind closed doors.


There was live-streaming too from the Balmoral Show which, following its year’s absence, took place in September, some months later than its usual May date. Here, the showing classes went ahead with some familiar faces topping the line-up, while locally based British rider Sameh El Dahan won the Grand Prix on Joanne Sloane Allen’s Wicked Enigma.

Some exhibitors rounded off their season at the Horse Of The Year Show in Birmingham where there was plenty of success for Irish-bred horses and ponies in the showing section.

Among other wins were those of Alicia Devlin Byrne with the veteran Connemara gelding Blackwood Fernando in the Mountain and Moorland over 143cms working hunter class and the Emily-Jayne McPolin-ridden Glenmore Miss Mirah in the 153cms open working hunter class.