AS the first Saturday of 2022 fell on January 1st and the last on December 31st, 53 issues of The Irish Field were published last year which, of course, meant 53 photographs on the front page of the Irish Horse World. The first four in January were all from the hunting field – three of them featuring grey horses. The fifth, on January 29th, mainly consisted of the senior Irish show jumping team – Shane Breen, Jack Ryan, David Simpson and Trevor Breen – plus chef d’equipe Michael Blake on the podium following their success in the five-star Nations’ Cup in Abu Dhabi.

In February, three of the four photographs had a hunting theme but the colours of horses were more varied with just one grey jumping a ditch while the others were a skewbald and a bay. A photo from the Baileys/Northern Region flexi eventing series at The Meadows on February 19th featured Sophie Cowan jumping on to a bank on board the grey, Tempo Quickstep.

With the hunting season coming to a close, only two of the four front pages in March were from that sport, the first, on March 5th, being a super shot of eight-year-old Sophie Kinsella going through water on her chesnut pony Betty.

The following Saturday, the main photograph again featured Blake on a podium but this time in the United States alongside Andrew Bourns, Eoin McMahon, Max Wachman and Cian O’Connor who had just won the four-star Grand Prix in Wellington, Florida. Following the first Eventing Ireland one-day of 2022 at Blackstairs seven days earlier, Ian Cassells, the season’s leading rider, took pride of place on March 26th with the EI115 (Open) winner, Master Point.

In April, three of the five front pages were centred on show jumping, that on April 16th being of chef d’equipe Gary Marshall on the podium alongside James Derwin, Coen Williams, Paddy Reape and James Brennan following their win in the pony Nations’ Cup at Sentower Park, Belgium. The second of two eventing photos on the final Saturday of the month featured Cathal Daniels on board LEB Lias Jewel during the dressage phase of the CCI4*-L at Ballindenisk.

Event riders filled three of the four front pages the following month with Joseph Murphy and Austin O’Connor, riding the grey geldings Calamaro and Colorado Blue, in cross-country action at the five-star fixtures in Lexington and Badminton (May 7th and 14th).

Eighteen-year-old Niamh McEvoy, who was to become well-known to readers of these pages by season’s end, featured on May 21st following her victory with Welcome Templepatrick Limmerick in the two-star Grand Prix at Balmoral Show.

Edging it

Eventing edged it in June although the first Saturday featured Tipperary native Denis Lynch landing the five-star Grand Prix in Rome for the second time in his career, on this occasion on board Brooklyn Heights.

There was a triptych of sorts on June 11th. In the top photo, that man Blake stood flanked by Andrew Bourns, Daniel Coyle, Shane Sweetnam and Conor Swail following the team’s victory in the five-star Nations’ Cup in Langley. Below, on the left, Britain’s Laura Collett was photographed in cross-country action with Dacapo on her way to winning the CCI4*-L at Millstreet while, on the right, it was McEvoy and Welcome Templepatrick Limmerick en route to success in the two-star Grand Prix at Mullingar.

On June 25th, Cathal Daniels was again photographed jumping into the water in the five-star event at Luhmühlen on his well-known partner, Rioghan Rua.

It was show jumping all the way in July, starting with Shane Breen on his victory lap with Can Ya Makan following his first win in the famed Hickstead Derby. Cian O’Connor featured on the front page of July 9th as he partnered Taj Mahal to success in the three-star Grand Prix at Knokke, Belgium while McEvoy was back on the front on July 30th having landed the Premier Grand Prix at the Tattersalls/Ward Union Show the previous weekend.

Between times, James Kernan stood beside the podium as Rhys Williams, Tom Wachman, Niamh McEvoy (yes, one and the same), Francis Derwin Jnr and Conor McLaughlin held up their bronze medals following the team competition of the FEI European junior show jumping championships in Oliva, Spain.

The following Saturday, July 23rd, Harry Allen featured on the front page in action at the European Young Riders’ championships in Oliva where he won individual bronze with Over Lux.


All four front pages in August featured collages.

Week one saw the National Show Jumping champion, Mikey Pender, in action in the Premier Series final at Mullingar on HHS Los Angeles plus the silver and bronze medal-winning teams from the European Junior and Young Riders eventing championships in Hartpury, England.

On Saturday, August 13th, there were photographs of the show jumping and event riders who won team gold at the European pony championships in Strzegom, Poland. A super trip was crowned by show jumpers James Derwin, James Brennan and Coen Williams claiming individual gold, silver and bronze while event rider Ben Connors won individual silver.

Following a jump-off, Ireland won the five-star Nations’ Cup at the Dublin Horse Show and all four team members, Cian O’Connor, Shane Sweetnam, Max Wachman and Conor Swail – three of them riding greys – appeared in action of the front page of August 20th with the Aga Khan trophy front and centre; they also appeared on the front page of The Irish Field in company with chef d’equipe, Michael Blake. In a bumper issue of the IHW on August 27th, the front page carried photographs of some of the winners from both the show jumping and showing sections at the RDS.

By winning the five and six-year-old Irish Breeders’ Classic final at Barnadown on Noel Cawley’s Laurina, Leah Stack prevented the eventers from totally dominating the front pages in September as she featured in the issue of September 10th.

A week earlier, it was Sian Coleman who featured on Hush A Bye Baby, winner of the CCI4*-at Millstreet; Clare Abbott, who recorded two wins at the Eventing Ireland national championships at Lisgarvan, was photographed on September 17th in cross-country action on DHI No Fear in the EI120; having secured qualification for the 2024 Paris Olympics, the senior event team of Sam Watson, Padraig McCarthy,

Susie Berry and Austin O’Connor featured in a collage on the front page of September 24th, centred around the Eiffel Tower.

Celebrating success

The design team were in action again for the issue of October 1st which depicted Ger O’Neill and Ethan Ahearne with their Lanakan gold medal winners BP Goodfellas (five-year-old) and ABC Saving Grace (six-year-old). Jump two weeks to the Horse of the Year Show in Birmingham and it was the brilliant show hunter View Point having his final outing under Robert Walker before retiring.

Having helped Ireland win the Aga Khan trophy, the grey gelding Kilkenny was partnered to victory in the three-star Grand Prix at Vejer de la Frontera by Cian O’Connor which saw them grace the front page of October 22nd with an airy jump while, seven days later, it was Mikey Pender saluting the crowd following his win in the five-star Global Champions Tour Grand Prix in Riyhadh, Saudi Arabia with HHS Calais.

Hunting photographs took over the front pages again in November although that of the fourth and final Saturday featured Bertram Allen (Pacino Amiro) and Michael G. Duffy (Clitshko 17) ‘jumping out of fireworks’ having been members of the Miami Celtics team who pocketed €1.5 million when winning the Global Champions League Super Cup in Prague the previous Sunday.

Including New Year’s Eve, hunting photographs dominated the front pages in December apart from Christmas Eve when British rider Lucy Glover featured on the grey Connemara stallion Castle Kestrel, winner of the Mountain and Moorland supreme championship at the London International Horse Show.