Joshua, 10, jumps ahead

Pictured Above: Joshua Byrne (supplied by Ray Byrne).

Pictured Above: Joshua Byrne (supplied by Ray Byrne).

The annual Dublin Horse Show didn’t fail to impress this last August as the usual five-day festival demonstrated its annual flair and wide selection of horse competitions and demonstrations, which didn’t fail to satisfy the horse lovers of this world.

NewsFour’s two Horse Show ticket competition winners were both very impressed with the amount of shows on offer. Pauline Byrne, originally of Herbert Cottages, Ballsbridge went a lot as a child. She recollected that, “you could get a ride on the pony as a child,” as she spoke to NewsFour about her ticket win.

Byrne remarked that the day was really good as the weather was really nice on the Sunday. The standout show for her was world-renowned equestrian artist Clémence Faivre and her Lusitano stallions. Right before the Grand Prix on Sunday, Clémence entered the ring and stunned the audience with her display of Haute École. This is one of the most advanced forms of both classical riding and dressage, which they perform without tack to better demonstrate their incredible skill.

“It was amazing,” said Byrne. “She rode bareback and controlled the horse up on to back legs and kicking out. It was unbelievable.” Faivre’s horses are renowned in particular for the classic ‘school jumps’, known as ‘airs above the ground’.

Our other ticket winner, Carole Flanagan also noted Faivre’s display when asked what stood out for her. “It was an amazing display. The lady had a big red dress which was very South American style.”

Flanagan went with her children and also enjoyed the children’s pony games events. NewsFour readers might be familiar with a scene of children on ponies doing a slalom and pursuing tasks on a course. “They were hanging off the horse, they went as fast as they could and they were jumping on and off during the course,” Flanagan remarked.

Flanagan also thought the main Grand Prix event was really tense. “You could feel your stomach going,” she noted as she watched the finest of horses challenged by time and fence sizes.

Dublin 4 also had our own contender in the Dublin Horse Show. At 10 years of age, Joshua Byrne could be the youngest of entrants from the area to enter a competition in the Horse Show. Joshua rode Our Little Nickle in the ‘First Ridden Ponies’ event on Saturday morning. It was his first experience in the RDS but not in competition as he had ridden in the Tinahealy Show previous to that.

“It wasn’t scary; I was just nervous because there were a lot of people watching,” Joshua told NewsFour. “It was exciting – Dad said I was the first person in Sandymount to do it. We warmed up, walked two laps, then trotted two laps, then the judge called who they wanted. I was called last. There’s three judges that asked scary questions!” His grandmother Barbara recalled that he got highly commended for his performance.

Joshua puts in a lot of work as the ponies are owned by his grandmother Barbara in Wexford, and Joshua has to travel down at weekends in school times, but he really increased the practice over summer by practising every day in the summer holidays. Joshua was very thankful to his trainer Jody Rossiter and “Mary and Magda” who helped him bring up Our Little Nickle from Wexford to Dublin.

Young Joshua has been bitten by the bug and is already planning his appearance in next year’s RDS Horse Show. “I’ll be riding a bigger horse then,” he said with a glint in his eye as he spoke of his equestrian passion. Look out for this rising star then.

By Ferg Hayden