The morning rain didn’t stop the crowds from jockeying for ringside positions as the Dublin Horse Show returned to the RDS on Wednesday following two years of Covid-19-related cancellations.
The opening day of the event, which runs until Sunday, attracted an unusually large crowd, Emily Glynn said, who was there at 10am with her children Megan and James. The family have been attending the event for the past decade.
“It’s exciting to be back,” she said. “My husband has a stud farm out in Rolestown. I wasn’t horsey until I met him.”
Horse breeder Michael Flanagan, from Roscommon, was also delighted to return to the RDS. He has been breeding Connemara broodmares since 2012 but has been attending the horse show for far longer.
“It feels fantastic to be back,” he said. “I’m here with a friend and we have a pony stallion called Bohola Mirah, bred in Behola, Mayo, just up the road from me … It is one of the few stallions currently breeding in the country.”
Dressed in a navy-blue blazer and a white Panama hat, Anne Magee, from Leath in Co Kerry, was well turned out for the event.
“We’re old-fashioned,” she said, when asked about her choice of clothing.
Standing next to her was George O’Malley, from Longford, who was clad in a tweed blazer and matching Panama hat.
The two have attended the event for more than 50 years, O’Malley estimated. Magee owns a few horses taking part in this year’s show. She said while its feels great to be back, the only downside was the weather, which she hoped would improve.
Inside the venue was a maze of shopping halls, food stalls and bars, with the wet morning proving advantageous for vendors as many sought to escape the drizzle. From CBD oil for pets, to artwork and clothing, almost anything could be bought.
Most crowded was the Berney Brothers stall, where saddles and riding gear were on sale.
Another busy operator was Kennedy & McSharry, with Neil McSharry saying he was happy with his first-day hat sales.
“Hats are coming very much back into fashion. It’s going from the typical racing hat, the Willie Mullins type of hat, to a trilby hat with a narrower brim that’s a bit dressier,” he said. “In addition, the crushable felt fedora style is quite popular.”
Sally Hyland, from Dublin, and her friend Stephanie Blake, from Wexford, were looking for something interesting to do and some variety so they decided to attend. They said they went to a drumming workshop earlier in the day and found it hilarious.
On the other hand, Sally Ike said she did not have much time for fun as she was invited to be a judge at the event. Ike, from New Jersey in the US, had previously attended when she worked for the US Equestrian Federation, managing the jumping team.
“I’ve been lucky enough in my career to have been to virtually all the big horse shows in the world, including five Olympic Games, world championships and so on in my role as jumping team leader,” she said. “The Dublin Horse Show is my favourite horse show because it is such a celebration of the horse.”