2022 is a milestone for the riding club movement in Ireland, as the first club was started in August 1972. This was the Foxborough Riding Club in Co Wicklow, formed by a small group spearheaded by Esther De Groot, who received much help from the British Horse Society about the setting up of a riding club, the examination system and general guidance. The group consisted of Esther, Helen Mangan, Gladys McCormick, Birgit Holfeld-Connolly and the late Teresa Bernon.

The club was aimed at the amateur rider for whom there was nothing outside the hunting season. It attracted many people, not only riders but others with an interest in horses, because besides being competitive, it was also great fun as the emphasis was on enjoyment rather than winning. The activities were very diverse and included instruction, ridiing club exams, jumping, showing, dressage, hunter trials, gymkhana events, treks, exams and social events.

From these beginnings, the riding club movement took off with clubs forming in Meath, Wicklow, Cork and spread to become a national movement. This led to the setting up of the AIRC, and today there are over 100 clubs in Ireland.

Yours etc

Esther de Groot, Birgit Holfeld-Connolly, Helen Mangan, Gladys McCormick

Galtrim Park

Bray, Co Wicklow