Nov 1 2018

Another exceptional year of equestrian action in Millstreet was brought to a close last weekend as theDuggan family and the Millstreet team hosted the 32nd Owner’s Pony and Young Riders Charity Show. Hosted at the Green Glens Arena at no charge for nearly 20 years, close to €350,000 has been donated to a growing list of charities since the show was established; primarily in the areas of children and animals. Organising committee member Ciara Holland was delighted to report that the 2018 show was one of the most successful yet, with nearly 3,500 entries received and over 600 horses and ponies stabled on site during the weekend.

A small but dedicated group of people put the show together every year and the Committee are particularly grateful to those who supported the 2018 edition by sponsoring classes, making donations, supporting the Charity Auction or giving their time during the weekend as a judge or volunteer. Nadia Rea and Paddy McCarthy of Horse Sport Ireland  were on hand on Sunday to present special awards in each of the pony grand prix classes to the 2 highest placed ponies that were registered in an approved studbook. Currently on the side-lines but keeping up to date with the show was show-jumping judge Jimmy Ivers. Known to many as the ‘small man with a big voice,’ Jimmy and his Johnny Cash music collection have been long-standing elements of the Owners Charity Show. The Waterford man is currently awaiting surgery to get him back on his feet and a variety of fundraising efforts are taking place to support him; including a raffle held during the show which contributed over €1,500 to the fund.

The Owners Charity Show is one of the biggest of its kind and has become a cornerstone of the pony and young rider competition calendar. Over 1,000 animals jumped each day across six competition arenas and the weather gods played their part; rain on Friday cleared away leaving largely cool and bright conditions for the remainder of the show. On Saturday afternoon, nearly sixty pony riders assembled in the Indoor Arena for the annual parade of ‘Retiring Riders.’ Amongst those moving out of the pony ranks was Kilkenny-based Seamus Hughes-Kennedy; the overall winner of the 2017 FEI Pony Jumping Trophy in Mechelen, Belgium. Hughes-Kennedy began his international career in the Millstreet Indoor two years ago and since then has taken victories on the continent in Fontainebleau, Opglabbeek and Lier. Fresh from a Grand Prix win in Herning, Molly Hughes Bravo was also in the line-up of retiring pony riders along with fellow team member from the 2016European Children on Horses Jumping Championship squad Robyn Fagan. Already making his mark at senior level, Mayo’s Ciaran Nallon travelled to Millstreet to formally mark the end of his pony competition days. Before the awards were presented, a stirring moment of applause echoed around the building as commentator Noel Coleman asked those present to remember their much missed fellow showjumper and friend Jack Dodd – a familiar face at past shows in Millstreet. Having received their Retiring Rider awards, the action turned up a notch later in the evening as the fast-paced fancy dress relay competition brought a capacity crowd to their feet with an unlikely bunch of film and television characters, nuns, animals and familiar show-jumping riders taking part.


The extra hour in bed on Saturday night gave those taking part in the Equestrian World of Maynooth 128cm 1.00m Grand Prix an extra spring in their step early on Sunday morning. Thirty combinations came forward with thirteen making it into the deciding round over the James Tarrant designed course. In the end,Chloe Hughes-Kennedy delivered the fastest of the four clear rounds in the jump-off (33.46 seconds) with the Clare Hughes owned Touch of Magic. Separated by over 5 seconds, Katie Nallon took second place (38.65 seconds) aboard Sandra Nallon’s Jimm while Calum Harte rode Christine Harte’s Tantassig Mist into a third place finish (41.73 seconds) and also secured the bonus prize money offered by Horse Sport Ireland to the highest-placed studbook registered pony. Clare’s Lily O’ Dea (Newhaven Nikita) accounted for fourth place while a fifth place finish for Ellen Power with Sasha contributed to her points earned during the week and ultimately saw her receive the leading Girl Rider title at the end of the show.

Amongst the riders visiting Millstreet last weekend, the Owners Charity Show committee were delighted to welcome three young riders from Australia who lit up the show. Part of the Duffy Sport Horses contingent, Zenniah Albonetti, La’Moza Velisha and Harley McNaughton are thoroughly enjoying their time in Ireland and hope to take in a few more shows before they head back to warmer climes. La’Moza came into the Tailored Equestrian 138cm 1.10m Grand Prix with two wins under her belt and looked set to add a third when she produced one of the four clear opening rounds of the class. However, it wasn’t to be as a rail down saw her take second place in the final standings with the Duffy Sport Horses owned King Ka Ching. Double handed in the jump-off, Kilkenny’s Robin Carey produced the only double clear of the competition to take the win with Kieran Carey’s seven year old mare Bay Times, having won the Grand Prix qualifier the previous afternoon. Two rails down saw him take 4th with the Ballywalter Farms owned Chocolate Sauce, just behind Sarah Fitzgerald (Strandfield Ruby). Carey’s two victories saw him leap ahead in the final rankings; taking the Leading Boy Rider title at the conclusion of the show.

Thirty-five combinations contested the O’ Brien’s Saddlery 148cm1.20m Grand Prix with ten advancing to the jump-off. Second to go in the deciding round, Molly Ryan set a target of a clear round in a time of 29.53 seconds with Fiona Deegan’s eight-year-old mare HHS Chillax. Another of the riders departing from the pony competition ranks at the end of the year, Ryans’ time remained unbeaten; earning her the victory and seeing the final of the three pony grand prix trophies heading back to Kilkenny. Riding for Liam Clancy, Ella Clancy put in a great performance but had to settle for second place when stopping the clock at 29.95 seconds with Fernando while Niamh McEvoy completed the top three with Fireman (30.12 seconds); just ahead of the last of the double clear performances from Orla Duffy with Sunny Jr (32.01 seconds). James Connors Smyth (KEC Sofia) and Seamus Hughes Kennedy (Keatingstown Hunky Dory) were both up on the clock but took uncharacteristic falls at the turn-back to the penultimate fence on the jump-off course.

The pony competition action in the Indoor Arena came to a thrilling conclusion with the U10 Grand Final. Ten combinations had qualified earlier in the day for the class which was sponsored by Holland Homes Durrow and Alanna Fagan made the journey from Mullingar worthwhile when taking the top two places with MillField Duke (21.99 seconds) and Derravaragh Blue Stone (22.35 seconds). GemmaBuckley (Hollycreek Oran Splendour) was the only other rider to deliver a double clear and took third place.

As the 2018 show started to draw to a close, the spotlight turned to the Young Rider Grand Prix action. Supported by the Duggan Family, the 1.30m Young Rider Grand Prix was relocated to the International Outdoor Arena; familiar hunting ground for Ciaran Nallon who proved the eventual winner with Richard Nallon’s Bally Fair Deal (63.94 seconds). A winner at the CSI1* Welcome Tour in April, the combination had taken third place in the 1.25m Table A class during Millstreet International Horse Show last August. Riding for Duffy Sport Horses, Corks Lucy Shanahan battled her way into a second place finish with Omane Des Faux (64.67 seconds) while fellow Duffy Sport Horses rider Kathy Wilding took third with Fennells Bay(65.21 seconds).

As daylight faded, the action returned to the Indoor Arena where those spectators remaining were rewarded with a thrilling fourteen strong jump-off in the 1.20m Young Rider Grand Prix. Having placed third in the Young Rider Derby on Saturday afternoon, all eyes were on Meadhbh Mealiff (Plamas). Second to jump in the deciding round with the Jim Bolger owned eight-year-old Cavalier Royale gelding, Mealiff made her way around the jump-off course faultlessly in a time of 32.12 seconds. Sven Hadley (Vvood Stock de Breve) and Chloe Fagan (Caricello) came close to threatening Mealiff’s lead but the Offaly rider was left tasting victory until the final round when Cian Harrison and Mr.Big Cash secured the winners cheque by shaving almost a second off the target time; breaking the beam at 31.22 seconds. A rail down in the deciding round with Emma (BWB) kept Mark Finerty out of Grand Prix contention but cumulative points across the show, including a win in the 1.30m Grand Prix qualifier on Saturday night ultimately delivered a tie with Ciaran Nallon for the Leading Young Rider trophy which was presented on the night by founding member of the Owners Charity Show, Keith Griffin.

Aug 27 2018
The FEI Eventing Nations Cup in Millstreet, Ireland ended with a victory for France, with Great Britain settling for second and Ireland cruising to an easy third place. Olympic champions France were leading the scoreboard going into the Jumping phase and with only less than one penalty separating France in first place from Great Britain in second for this event, the pressure was tangible. (more…)
Statement from the Organisers of the Millstreet International Horse Trials

It is with great sadness that we announce that BGS Country Dreams, ridden and owned by Patrick Martin BYRNE (IRL) died as a result of a fatal accident while competing at The Millstreet International Horse Trials on Saturday 25th August 2018 in the CIC03* FEI Eventing Nations Cup.

BGS Country Dreams a 9 year old gelding had a non-rotational fall at Fence 22, The Gypsy Wagon, during the cross country phase.   The combination had jumped clear until that point.

The rider was uninjured in the fall.

The horse will be taken for a post mortem at the Irish Equine Centre.

The organisers of the event, the Duggan family, extend their deepest sympathy to the connections of BGS Country Dreams and Patrick Martin Byrne.

Saturday, 25 August 2018 at 1600.

Day 2 of the Millstreet International Horse Trials continued today with the dressage and jumping phases taking place on the main showground and the XC phases of the 1*s taking place at the stunning Drishane Castle.

The dressage phase of the  FEI Eventing Nations Cup presented by Connolly’s RED MILLS concluded this afternoon and the team from France head the standings on a score of 85.70.   Team USA are second, on an equal score to the French while Team GBR are third.

Thomas CARLILE (FRA) leads the section on an amazing score of 16.8. It is the best CIC3* dressage score in the last decade. Team USA rider Bruce O. DAVIDSON JR is 2nd and Ros CANTER’s great dressage week continues as she is in 3rd.  Sarah Ennis is the top Irish contender in 8th at this stage.

Over at Drishane Castle the CIC1* for Ponies saw Ibble WATSON (GBR) maintain her lead to win the section with fellow British riders Emily FINSTON and Daisy BATHE in second and third places.  The long trip back to the UK will start at 0300 on Saturday morning and will seem shorter with the rosettes and memories to keep them going. Ibble and Daisy’s mothers were both International riders for team GBR and is fantastic to

Gallivan Murphy Hooper Dolan CIC1* · Section A was won by Cassero 3 Brian MORRISON (IRL) followed by Camila READ (GBR) while the B Section awards head to the North of Ireland as  Steven SMITH (IRL) impressed the judges before producing spectacular performances in the showjumping and cross country phases.

Irish Sport Horse Studbook Coral Cove  CIC*YH 6yo was won by Aoife CLARK (IRL) with Suzanne HAGAN (IRL) 2nd and Heidi Woodhead (GBR) 3rd.

EPS Group CCI1* is headed by British rider Sophie BROWN, Irish rider Lucca STUBINGTON is in 3rd.

Emily BALDWIN (GBR) and Millie DUMAS (GBR) head the Donagh Hickey Motors CCI2*. Irish rider Melanie YOUNG is in 4th.

Rosalind CANTER (GBR) heads the Noel C Duggan Engineering CCI3* section followed by Aidan KEOGH (IRL) and Aoife CLARK (IRL) in in 4th

Eventing Ireland CIC2* sees Isabelle UPTON (GBR) on a score of  followed by Alexander BRAGG (GBR) and Aoife CLARK (IRL) after the dressage and show jumping phase.

Irish International Rider Sam WATSON is competing his WEG horse in this class  – Sam is making his comeback from a broken collarbone recently and is giving Horseware Ardagh Highlight a final run before he flies to Tryon next weekend.

The top 8 combinations from last night’s Irish Sport Horse Studbook National Eventing Discovery 4 and 5-year-old classes compete for the final honours tonight

Cross country continues on Saturday, starting at 0800

Aug 24 2018
Millstreet International Horse Trials got off to a flyer today.

The day has seen dressage take place for the ponies, 1*, 2* and 3* competitions, Show jumping for 1*, ponies and young horses and trot ups for all CCI classes.   Riders with multiple horses have certainly been kept very busy.

The Irish Field CIC* Pony class is headed up by Ibble WATSON (GBR).  Ibble lead the dressage on a score of 27.2 and then show jumped clear to take a lead of 3 marks into tomorrow’s cross country phase.  Ibble was one of the reserves for the team GBR Pony Team a few weeks ago so will be hoping for a great result here.

Leading Irish rider at this stage is Heather O’ CONNOR in 8th place.

The Irish Sport Horse Studbook Coral Cove 6 year old class is an Irish one two with Aoife CLARK and Suzanne HAGAN heading Heidi WOODHEAD (GBR).

Irish rider Brian MORRISON heads the Gallivan Murphy Hooper Dolan CIC* (Sect 1) on Cassero 3 and British riders Camilla READ and Flora HARRIS are 2nd and 3rd. In Sect. 2, Steven Smith and Hill Patrol lead the way.

Irish rider Aoife CLARK heads the Eventing Ireland CIC2* at this stage on a score of 24.4    British rider Isabelle (Bubby) UPTON who has enjoyed tremendous success at Millstreet over the years is 2nd on 25.3    Birthday girl Camilla SPIERS (IRL) is the highest placed Irish rider in 5th.

William FOX PITT (GBR) is making his Millstreet debut and is just out of the top 10 at this stage and is spending the evening judging the 5 year class.

The FEI Eventing Nations Cup presented by Connolly’s Red Mills started this afternoon in a blaze of sunshine.  This competition is trailing the Tokyo Olympic format and there is much talk about the team tactics.  Ros CANTER (GBR) leads the way on a score of 24 followed by fellow Brits Mille DUMAS and Alexander BRAGG.    Irish rider Sarah ENNIS is in 7th.

The fun continues into the evening with the Duggan Family inviting all competitors and their supporters to a drinks reception sponsored by Thin Gin.  Thin Gin is a multi-award winning Irish Gin from Anchor Spirits Ireland based in Waterford City

The National Eventing Discovery Qualifier (4/5 year old horses) is taking place in the indoor arena during this evening as well.

Full results from today can be found along with the timetable for another jam packed day on Friday.

The cross country phase at Drishane Castle will start at 13.30.

Aug 16 2018
With Millstreet International Horse Show CSI2* well underway, the countdown to next week’s Millstreet International Horse Trials continues and The Duggan Family and the Organising Committee are delighted to announce that the feature Millstreet CICO3* FEI Eventing Nations Cup™ will be presented by Connolly’s RED MILLS.

Now in its fourth year, the 2018 Horse Trials in Millstreet take place just days after the traditional CSI2* International Horse Show that has been a keystone in the Irish equestrian calendar for nearly forty years. Having previously hosted a variety of FEI European underage championships for Young Riders, Juniors and Ponies in the disciplines of Eventing, dressage and jumping, the Green Glens Arena and the adjoining Drishane Castle Demesne will host it’s first senior level team competition with some of the world’s best known event riders heading to Co. Cork. Ahead of next months World Equestrian Games in Tryon, North Carolina, a number of riders are using Millstreet in their final preparations including Australia’s Sam Griffiths and Andrew Hoy, Great Britain’s Rosalind Canter and Irish squad members Sam Watson, Cathal Daniels, Sarah Ennis and Aoife Clark.

The FEI Eventing Nations Cup™ series got underway in Italy in April and has since taken in venues in Great Britain, Poland, the USA and France. Millstreet forms the penultimate stage before the final in Boekelo (NED) this October and after 5 legs, a strong team from France will travel to Ireland hoping to further extend their lead at the top of the overall standings. Victories at Vairano (Italy), Strzegom (Poland) and their home leg in Le Pin au Haras give the French team a ten point advantage over Great Britain while a win on home soil next weekend would move Ireland up to sixth place in the current rankings. The 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games will feature a restructured Eventing Team competition and the Millstreet Nations Cup class will act as an official Test Event for the new format. Teams will comprise three members with an opportunity introduced to make substitutions during the competition.

Mike Etherington-Smith (GBR) returns to design the Cross Country courses at all levels and the recent dry weather conditions have been met with a renewed focus on watering and agrivation of the ground to ensure the best possible grass cover and going for the Cross Country phase. The dressage and show-jumping phases will take place on the newly resurfaced all-weather arenas at the Green Glens Arena.

Connolly’s RED MILLS have been long standing supporters of equestrian sport in Ireland through their sponsorship of initiatives including the show-jumping Spring Tour and the Connolly’s RED MILLS Eventing SuperLeague to name but a few. Gareth Connolly, Sales and Marketing Director Connolly’s RED MILLS said:

“We enjoy a great partnership with the team at Millstreet and are looking forward to our sponsored show-jumping class this weekend and presenting next week’s  Millstreet CICO3* FEI Eventing Nations Cup™. At Connolly’s RED MILLS we are passionate about producing quality feed products designed to support the high-performance horse and to be able to support our customers through these events means a lot to us. We wish all competitors the very best of luck and we look forward to meeting many of them and their teams next week.”

Speaking about the partnership, Event Director Thomas Duggan said:

“We are delighted that Connolly’s RED MILLS are continuing to support all of our equestrian events in the Green Glens Arena, including this prestigious leg of the FEI Eventing Nations Cup™.”

Dressage gets underway for the Millstreet Nations Cup next Thursday with Cross Country on Saturday and the deciding show-jumping phase from lunchtime on Sunday.

Photo: Jane Davis, Connolly’s RED MILLS congratulates Capt. Geoff Curran – winner of the Millstreet Masters during the 2017 International Horse Show.