THIS was the year which welcomed back a full schedule of show jumping after the Covid-19 disruption had hampered so many competitions over the previous two and a half years. The return of the five-star Dublin Horse Show where young horses took centre stage, as well as the ever popular Irish Breeders’ Classic, internationals at Balmoral, Mullingar and Millstreet, while the national leagues ran in full.

Mikey Pender, undoubtly a breakout star on the international circuit with no less than two five-star Grand Prix wins, was crowned the Irish National show jumping champion on one of his trips home, and he won two young horse finals at the RDS.

Another breakout star was Niamh McEvoy, who ran Pender close for the National Champion title; she won her first international Grand Prix in Balmoral and went on to win more, and ended the year with a senior Nations Cup debut. Her teammate at Ballypatrick Stables, Leah Stack, also won her first Dublin championship with Noel Cawley’s five-year-old home-bred mare Laurina, before going on to win the Breeders’ Classic, making it a memorable double for the Cawley family.

Good start

As usual the Showjumpers Club Spring Tour got the year off to a good and early start with 18 rounds of competition held from the end of January until the middle of March at indoor arenas throughout the country.

Young riders featured strongly throughout the series, and it was University of Limerick student Robyn Moran who eventually took the title after the final round in CoilÓg.

Two wins, one in Warrington and the other in Tubberbride, three second placings, the first in Wexford, the second in Killossery and the third in Cavan, when added to the other points gained from minor placings at four other venues meant she finished well ahead on a total of 84 points to secure the overall win.

The runner-up spot went to Jacklynn Breslin. She scored wins in Cavan and Wexford, as well as taking two seconds in Barnadown and Mullingar. A third place in Tipperary when added to two other minor placings saw her finish on a total of 49.

John Floody is always one to watch in these 1.35m classes; and he did not disappoint winning three rounds; two of them in Cavan, as well as a second and a third place at the same venue, were added to a win at The Meadows to see him finish on a score of 45 for third place.