MANY thanks to Kevin O’Donnell for sending us these photographs, which were taken 40 years apart, of the Irish Pony Club team who travelled across the Atlantic in the summer of 1984 for the Canadian and American Pony Clubs’ International Tetrathlon.

The squad all met up again last Saturday at the O’Donnell family’s racing/hunting/eventing/show jumping and young horse production yard, Bramblestown, Gowran, and then adjourned for dinner at the nearby Gowran Park Racecourse.

Selected after several weeks’ training and trials, the 1984 team comprised Kevin O’Donnell (Kilkenny), George Angel (Meath), Robert Ogilvy Watson (Wicklow), Des O’Connor (Tipperary), Stephen O’Connor (Bray), Ruth Magee (Bray), Jane Hurley (Kilkenny), Una Murphy (Louth), Sara Slazenger (Bray) and Caroline Jacob (Kildare).

Raymond Cox, who trained the team, was unable to travel as he had been offered, and had accepted, a job as a veterinary surgeon in the Isle of Man, where he still works to this day. Irish rugby international, and former Bray member, Tony Doyle took his place on the trip as trainer, while Betsy O’Connor (who is in the 2024 photograph) travelled in the role as chef d’equipe.

The IPC team at the Canadian and American Pony Clubs’ International Tetrathlon 1984

The team left Ireland for Montreal towards the end of July and were almost immediately into action at the Canadian Championships before heading to New York for the American International Championships in mid-August, where the British Pony Club was also represented.