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Friday, 7 August 2015

The Dublin Horse Show

The annual Dublin Horse Show has been taking place this week at its home at the RDS in leafy Ballsbridge. Launched in 1868, the event is one of the main events in the Irish equine calendar, and is estimated to bring €45m to the local economy this year.

Mrs Rosemary Brooke with her son Alan (15) standing, and her daughter Malinda (9) at the 1967 RDS Horse Show
9 August 1967
The Horse Show was first set up to showcase the talent of Irish showjumpers, and has taken place almost continuously ever since, with the exception of the years of the two world wars. It hosts the Aga Khan trophy and the Longines International Grand Prix, as well as classes, exhibitions and trade stands. 

The Aga Khan trophy is perhaps one of the best known of the events during the show, with international teams of four horses competing in timed trials. The trophy could only be won outright if a team won the competition three years in a row. This has been achieved five times: by the Irish twice, the British twice and Switzerland once. The original trophy was donated by the Aga Khan, hence the name of the competition.

The Irish winning team with the Aga Khan trophy in 1979.
10 August 1979
Another important event this year will be the Best Dressed Ladies competition on Friday, where an incredible €10,000 prize money is up for grabs. The dark days of the recession must be over at last! Originally, there was a side-saddle riding competition for women held on Fridays, where they would compete in full riding habit costumes with veils, and the day became known as ‘Ladies Day’.

Rosemary Broad and Sandra Caruth participating in the Horse Show in their own way in 1960.
2 August 1960
Besides standing around and looking pretty, women were not allowed compete in the Horse Show until 1919. It was not until 1954 that women were allowed take part in the international competitions, though now it is obligatory for teams to include at least one female rider.

If you would like to go to the show this year, it is advised to book a ticket quickly. All the hospitality packages have already been sold out, but general admission tickets, or tickets to the main hall are still available. If you find yourself unable to get into the main events, don’t worry as they will be shown on large screens around the arena, allowing you to keep an eye on the jumping as you indulge yourself in shopping, eating and drinking.

All images available @ the Irish Photo Archive