Some of the group gathering in front of the house prior to off at ‘Mount Juliet’ 20th October 2012

From L-R Maura Mansfield on Prince, Rosemary English on Chad, Evelyn Glynn on Caesar, Sarah Furney on her own cob Cahirmee, Ann Shouldice on her faithful 29 year old mare Lia, Karen Gibney on Big Dave, Hannah Gibney on TJ, Emily Meredith on her own hunter Mac, Claire Madden on Grey Harry, Ann Marie Walsh on her own mare and Rachel Lawlor on Bonnie

The Fania Mahony Memorial Cup

Fania Mahony, born in 1936 in County Derry, was one of the Side-Saddle Association’s founding members, her keen interest in horses developed from an early age. This interest continued on into adulthood where both she and her husband, Denis, set up Carrickhill Stud in Portmarnock, County Dublin, where numerous top class show ponies were bred and went on to great success.

One of her most noted accomplishments was being a very talented side-saddle rider. Her elegance and poise were seen on numerous occasions while she successfully competed at The Royal Dublin Horse Show. Her sad passing in 2007 brought great sorrow to the equestrian world, thankfully her legacy continues on in the Ladies Side-Saddle Class at the annual Tattersalls Ward Union Hunt Show in Ratoath Co. Meath, where the winner will receive The Fania Mahony Memorial Cup ,which has been kindly presented by the Mahony Family.
For any side-saddle rider to have their name inscribed on this beautiful cup would be an honour.

Tremendously enjoyable day at Mount Juliet

Tremendously enjoyable day at Mount Juliet

On Saturday 26th May, fourteen ladies of the Side Saddle Association of Ireland, including Chairperson Georgina Galvin and ride organiser Ciara Ryan, set off on what proved to be a tremendous day full of enjoyment. Blessed with the weather, perhaps a bit too well blessed, it was blazing hot quite a difficult feat to ride in heavy hunting costume.
All riders and their entourage met at the magnificent Mount Juliet Estate, Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny.  Mount Juliet Equestrian Centre provided six absolutely smashing hire horses with impeccable manners, and so well schooled, they were just amazing. Great thanks must go to them. The assistance received from everyone at Mount Juliet showed no bounds, they were so helpful and professional in every way.

Eight  ladies brought their own horses, while six more rented from the very impressive Equestrian Centre . The ladies ranged in age from seventy five years young to thirteen years old included in the company was ladies from a variety of different backgrounds hunting, racing, showing, riding club, team chasing, show jumping and eventing fanatics with one thing in common- the love of the beautiful and elegant style of equestrianism that is riding Side Saddle.
The riders included five complete beginners with an average of two lessons each and one who had never previously sat on a side saddle and still managed before the day was out, to jump a complete round of cross country fences.
Absolutely unbelievably to witness everyone attempting jumping parts of the wonderful solid cross country course!  With a 62 year age gap between them, so it just goes to show one is never too old or too young to ride when paired with a good horse!
The weather was fabulous, indeed one of the warmest days in Ireland this year, the back drop of Mount Juliet added greatly to the total enjoyment of the entire day. The former home of the McCalmont family, whose beloved Kilkenny Foxhounds are still kennelled on the grounds of the Estate .The ladies were dressed in immaculate extremely warm hunting costume!! Horses turned out to perfection.
While they all rode most elegantly for three hours by the banks of the River Nore, through meandering woodland trails and a stud farm, before tackling the cross country course. Led by the more experienced riders whereas the other ladies to their surprise were delighted to find that jumping aside in good company is actually quite easy on a well trained, obedient horse!

If you were among the ladies who missed out on this wonderful day don’t lose heart There are already plans in place to go back in mid October for a pre hunting day!

The Side Saddle Association of Ireland would like to say a huge THANK YOU  Ciara Ryan for taking on the task of organising the ride.
To Jenny Reid, (manager of the Mount Juliet equestrian centre) and her staff Tara Monahan and Elaine Roche for preparing such fabulous horses and for ensuring the day ran smoothly. .
SOME PHOTOS OF THE DAY – Photographs are courtesy of Jennifer O’Sullivan, Harry Reid and Radka Preislerova