THE death occurred recently of Joan Keogh, the founder of Dressage Ireland. Her passion, vision and dedication to dressage in Ireland has resulted in the organisation growing from meagre beginnings to a rapidly growing dynamic sporting discipline with membership not only growing in Ireland but also throughout Europe.
Joan built on her research and knowledge of European dressage bodies to lay the foundation for Dressage Ireland. In her desire to assist riders, she initiated a training programme with German trainer Conrad Schumacher which inevitably raised standards and interest in dressage at a time when dressage was in its infancy. In doing so, she opened a gateway for similar pathways in dressage at junior level, which led to the Silver Spurs competition. Many of our now Grand Prix, junior and senior international dressage and eventing riders benefited from training bursaries won at the Silver Spurs.
Joan led by example, she was the ultimate in professionalism, was visionary, hardworking with high standards and a ‘can do’ attitude, it gave all who followed the confidence to continue with the same enthusiasm.
After stepping back from a lifetime at the helm of Dressage Ireland, she was always available with advice when needed and in recent times, when her health was compromised, she never dwelt on herself when asked how she was but enquired as to how you, your family and horses were.
Joan will be sorely missed and our sincere condolences to her family and grandchildren. She has left a lasting legacy with Irish dressage riders at senior and junior level competing internationally throughout Europe, qualifying for European championships, World Equestrian Games and Olympics. We will be forever grateful for her energy and vision.
May she rest in peace.
Yours etc, Marguerite Kavanagh
Chairperson Dressage Ireland