Claudia Murphy, 16, from Carrigaline, took part in the Connemara class as part of the Dublin Horse Show last Thursday, 10th of August Writes Tara Maher.
At ten years old, Claudia Murphy took up horse riding as a hobby, and over the years, she has spent time in local Riding Schools such as Tullaghmore, Ballinhassig, and Tom Busteeds.
During covid, Claudia began to lease a five-year-old full-breed Connemara pony called Jack. "It was an instant bond between us, and we've grown so close over the years," Claudia said.
Claudia and Jack, who competes under the name "Knightsbridge Jack," have participated in 'Showing' competitions across the province. "Jack has turned many a head with his beauty and show standards," said Harriet Murphy, Claudia's mum.
'Showing' allows riders and owners to exhibit their animals. Classes are divided into ridden and in-hand sections, and there are many different classes for different horses and ponies. Classes may be broken down by the age, type, or breed of the horse or pony. For in-hand showing classes, the horse is led without a saddle, not ridden, and its conformation and gaits are judged.
Having been successful in many regional competitions, Claudia and Jack received 'a golden ticket' to compete in this year's prestigious Horse Show. Claudia and Jack have spent countless hours preparing over the last few months in anticipation of the competition. From lessons to grooming to stable planning and tack and show gear have to be up to a high standard to showcase Knightsbridge Jack, it was a busy few months for the pair.
Claudia was one of twenty to compete in her class. The duo enjoyed a successful competition but missed out on silverware, "we had a fabulous day. He (Jack) loved the show and performed amazingly. No cup for us this year, but we are delighted to get to the RDS. I am now one of the top twenty riders in the country in Connemara class which is an amazing achievement".
Claudia and Jack are only at the beginning of their careers and are already looking forward to focusing their attention on showjumping.
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