A NEW working hunter class for Traditional Irish Horses is among further new initiatives announced by the RDS for this year’s Dublin Horse Show which takes place from August 17th to 21st at the Ballsbridge venue, after two years of cancellations owing to Covid-19.

The show, which costs €6 million to run, has a total prize fund of €1 million for 2022 and welcomes back all the usual five-star international show jumping classes and showing classes.

In a welcome boost for TIH fans, the working hunter class for traditionally Irish-bred horses will take place on the Sunday of the show. The class will be open to mares, geldings and stallions aged five to 10 years old.

It will be open to Traditional Irish Horses (TIH) only and eligibility for the class will be based on the horse having three successive generations of recorded Irish traditional pedigree, i.e., one to some, of all the three basic constituent breeds being Irish Draught (ID); Connemara Pony (CP); and Thoroughbred (TB/XX).

No age restriction in Show Hunters

In addition to the recently announced 53% increase in prize funds across the Show Hunter classes, the three weight categories; light, middle and heavy weight, will now be open to horses of all ages. The previous restriction to eight-year-olds and under will be removed and several classes across the three weight categories will now be open horses six years old and over. “In recent years there has been an increased market for well-produced older horses, and it was decided to therefore open the classes to the more seasoned animals,” a press release from the RDS explained.

The RDS will also reintroduce its €5,000 ‘thoroughbred’ foal class under the mares and foals section with a new twist this year. The entry criteria have been widened to include foals out of thoroughbred mares, as well as foals by thoroughbred stallions. The €5,000 prize fund will be awarded among the three highest placed foals: €3,000 for first place, €1,500 for second and €500 for third.

Following on from the decision to split the Breeders’ Championship into two classes, to cater for those breeders aiming to produce show jumping foals and those producing foals for eventing, it has been agreed to remove the requirement for exhibitors to present their horses using ‘the triangle’ format.

“The Breeders Championship classes in addition to the presentation phase of the Three-Year-Old Potential Event Horse class will now take the format of a traditional in-hand showing class. While the ‘triangle’ format allowed judges to evaluate conformation and get an optimum view of horses in walk and trot from one location, it was not popular amongst Irish exhibitors,” the RDS said.

Meanwhile, qualifiers for the show jumping classes – young horses, ponies, young riders, children on horses and junior equitation – begin next month. In early March, the RDS announced new competitions for 128cm and 138cm six- and seven-year-old ponies in the 2022 programme, aimed at benefitting and supporting the production of young ponies in these height categories.