McDonagh is February Star of the Month

OISIN McDonagh (14) is the GAIN Equine Nutrition/The Irish Field Star of the Month for February. McDonagh had a great month, particularly in combined training competitions, where he scored two second placings at the second leg of the Eventing Ireland Western Region league. The first of these was with Ralph Conroy’s six-year-old mare Milchem Twilight in Section B of the EI80 class; the second was in the EI90 class, riding his father Martin’s seven-year-old Irish Sport Pony gelding, Full Moon Magic.

McDonagh performed even better at the third leg of the league, when scoring a double – winning Section A of the EI80 class with Milchem Twilight, as well as the EI90 class with Full Moon Magic.

At the conclusion of the league, McDonagh and Milchem Twilight were runners up in the EI80 class, just one point behind the overall winner. He and Full Moon Magic were the victors in the EI90 league though, where this time they finished a point ahead of their nearest competitor. McDonagh is dedicated to his sport and, according to his father, would like to spend all his time at Milchem Equestrian Centre!

Swail strikes again with Casturano

IRISH riders have begun their Easter weekend in style, dominating the top placings in Thursday’s five-star WEF Challenge Cup Round 12 at Wellington International in Florida.

Co Down’s Conor Swail took victory with Casturano, while Galway’s Andrew Bourns finished third with the James and John Meade-bred Sea Topblue (ISH) just ahead of Derry’s Daniel Coyle in fourth with Incredible. Cian O’Connor also jumped double clear in the class on Fancy De Kergane. Swail also took the win in Wednesday’s 1.45m in Wellington with Gamble.

Sea Topblue (ISH) is a 2011 gelding by Chacco Blue (MECKL) out of Sea Top Lady (ISH) by Lux Z (HANN). He was bred by James and John Meade, Co Clare and is owned by QBS Equestrian and Andrew Bourns. A full report on the week at Wellington will appear in next week’s edition and last week’s reports appear on page 88.

Studbook bans ICSI offspring

SWEDEN’S SWB studbook will no longer register offspring born via ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection) and OPU (Ovum Pick Up) from next March. The news was announced this week by the Swedish Warmblood Breeding Association (SWB) and does not apply to foals born in 2024.

The decision does not affect foals born via ET (embryo transfer).

According to a press release from the SWB, the change is being implemented because of the Animal Welfare Act, as the procedures are regarded as a prohibited intervention in Sweden.

“We want to emphasise that horse welfare always weighs more heavily for SWB than purely commercial interests. We think that a clear, ethical compass will be a success factor in the longer term,” said Per Jansson, SWB’s Board chairman.

Founded in 1928, the SWB typically registers 3,000 foals per annum and amongst its best-known horses are Catch Me Not S, by top Swedish sire Cardento; Bianca, Steve Guerdat’s individual bronze medal winner at the 2018 World Equestrian Games; Fibonacci and H&M Butterfly Flip (show jumping), Wega (eventing) and Briar (dressage).

Caroline March remembered fondly

EVENT rider Caroline March, who suffered a life-changing spinal injury in 2022, has died aged 31.

She revealed why she decided to take her own life in an apparent assisted suicide in an emotional letter published on Facebook. With the letter, a statement reads: “It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Caroline on Saturday 23 March 2024. She wished to leave this final post in the hopes you may gain an understanding of who she truly was and the decisions she made. Please read her message with an open mind and be respectful for the sake of her family and friends. She will be greatly missed.”

Caroline was a professional event rider who competed to three-star (now four-star) level, including at Blenheim, Chatsworth and Gatcombe. Tributes have been paid to Ms March, with Eventing Nation describing her as “well-known and loved throughout the British eventing community for her big personality and fiery streak, and a zest for the things that she loved that saw her accomplish much in her three decades”.

Balmoral prize fund increased

THE 2024 Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank, has announced that the collective prize fund for this year’s International Show Jumping competitions has increased to over €55,000. The prestigious CSI2* International Grand Prix, a Longines Ranking class, will see the overall winner take home €30,000.

Entries are now open and must be submitted through the FEI Online Invitation System in accordance with the CSI2* Invitation Rules. Further details on how to enter and a copy of the FEI Schedule can be found within the Competitions tab at

The Balmoral Show in partnership with Ulster Bank will return to the Eikon Exhibition Centre showgrounds from Wednesday, May 15th to Saturday, May 18th, 2024.

Entries for IPS Spring Show closing soon

The Irish Pony Society will be hosting its annual Spring Show on Thursday, April 4th, at Mullingar Equestrian. With over 90 classes on the day, there is something for everyone.

This show is open to all and, with over 30 qualifiers for The Agria Royal International Horse Show at Hickstead in July for both ponies and horses, it offers Irish competitors a fantastic opportunity of qualifying for the world-famous show. This will also be a great outing for those wishing to qualify for Dublin Horse Show. Entries close soon and can be made using the following link: