Last week’s Dublin Horse Show (July 20 to 24) saw more competitors than any previous show, an astounding 1500 competitors. Pulling off a 5-day, international competition requires a great deal of logistics coordinated by many people (mostly volunteers). It will be surprise to WARHorses that this year’s successful show was due largely to the organizational skills and coordinated efforts put forth by women.

Women of Age Riding Horses Dublin Horse Show

Begun in 1864, the Dublin Horse Show has become an institution and celebration of Irelands love for horses (especially Irish Sport Horses). The venue is a global showcase for the sport of show jumping.

Most of the international competitors are men, though women compete on equal terms. This year team Italy beat out the Irish team during a jump off for the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup (formerly the Aga Kahn Cup). And three Irish riders topped the Puissance competition, Shane Breen and Cisero jumping 2m 20cm (7 feet 3 inches) for the win.

Cheering the competitors is a given. But today let’s give a hand to the women behind the scenes that help make the show run seamlessly.

Jane Darragh is chairwoman at the RDS (Royal Dublin Society) which effectively means, she runs the Dublin Horse Show. Darragh’s role is to organize stewards, volunteers and judges. She manages the logistics of placing people so competitions run seamlessly. For a bit of perspective; each class requires 4-6 people to supervise or manage, there are 15 separate classes in each ring for each day of the show and 125 total classes over the 5-day period.

“This is usually a man’s job but the women are taking over and creeping in,” says Darragh.



Susan Oaks judges the side-saddle class. She is a world record holder for highest side-saddle jump. Fiona Sheridan is the equestrian development manager of RDS and works year round organizing the Dublin Horse show. She is also responsible for finding educational and entertainment exhibitors for the general public. Katie Condren has been a volunteer steward at DHS for eight years. Her role is to gather individual horses for specific competitions.

Condren explains, “The judges are judging and the stewards line up the horses for the competitions so you have to get them in safely through the crowds for the classes.”

Kudos Ireland for putting on another great show with particular appreciation from WARHorses for the equestrian and managerial skills of these amazing women.


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