Ireland won the Aga Khan trophy on Friday after beating France in a jump-off at the RDS.
It is the first time Ireland has claimed the prize since 2015. President Michael D Higgins presented the cup to Ireland’s chef d’equipe, Michael Blake, at the Dublin Horse Show.
Conor Swail and Count Me In sealed the victory in the Nations Cup event. Cian O’Connor and Kilkenny brought Ireland to a draw with France earlier, forcing the head-to-head when both teams were on four penalty points each.
Swail and Count Me In recorded a time of 30.31 to deliver the verdict for the Ireland team, ahead of France’s Marc Dilasser at 31.81.
Switzerland finished third on eight faults, while the Netherlands finished fourth, Brazil fifth, USA sixth and Norway seventh.
It was the 24th time that Ireland has won the Aga Khan since its first running in 1926.
Away from the competition area, one of the big attractions at this year’s show has been a seven-year-old miniature Shetland pony from England.
Having amassed a large following on Instagram and TikTok, Teddy doesn’t get far before being mobbed by fans wanting a selfie.
Jed Dillon (10), from Co Galway, has been following Teddy on Instagram (@teddytheshetland) for two years and waited all morning on Friday for a meet and greet at 1pm. “I like all the cool stuff he does on social media. If only he could talk.”
Even without speaking, Teddy has starred in television series — such as The Great with Elle Fanning — and advertisements, and was featured in a 14-page spread in Town & Country magazine.
Alice Goring, of Surrey, England, got Teddy when he was five months old as a companion for her other horses. “Sometimes the young horses get overwhelmed, so Teddy’s presence and company relaxes them.”
Because of Teddy’s gentle disposition, Goring trained him to be a therapy horse. He works with various charities in England, including visiting children with life-limiting conditions.
“He stands on a little step next to a child’s bedside and sticks his head on their bed and cheers them up. It’s the most amazing thing because you see children who couldn’t react to different things and they reach out their arm and stroke him,” said Goring.
When sponsor Schleich and the RDS invited Teddy to attend the Dublin Horse Show, Goring said it sounded like a big adventure. “The Irish are so famous for their horses and, as an event rider, I was excited to see what a massive Irish horse show was like.”
It has not disappointed. Teddy has met Tánaiste Leo Varadkar and tons of fans through the twice-daily meet-and-greets at the horse show.
Although Teddy is a social butterfly, Goring wants Teddy to stay grounded: “Teddy is very chill, but it’s important to us that he has a normal life at home, with a touch of glitz of glamour and charity work on the side.”