Sunday 4 December 2016

Ronnie MacMahon

Horseman who won showjumping honours at home and abroad became head of the Army Equitation School

Published 19/12/2010 | 05:00

The death took place last week of one of Ireland's greatest horsemen, Lt Col Ronnie MacMahon.

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He was 69 and lived at Lambertstown, Kilmessan, in Co Meath. He was a former Officer in Command of the Army Equitation School and represented Ireland in the Olympic Games in Munich in 1972 and Montreal in 1997.

A native of Rathfarnham, Co Dublin, he often rode with the South County Dublin Hunt. At 18 he joined the Army Cadet Corps. Within two years he was based in McKee Barracks in Dublin as part of the Army Equitation Team alongside such prominent riders as Billy Ringrose, Ned Campion and Larry Kiely.

He travelled abroad to jump in Nice, Rome, New York, Washington and Toronto and, with Campion and Ringrose, won the Nations Cup for Ireland at Fontainbleau in France, in 1971. He won the International Championship at Punchestown that year and helped his team win a bronze medal in the European Championships. A year earlier he rode San Carlos to second place at Badminton in the UK and came fourth in the 1970 World Championships.

When he retired from competition in 1980 with the rank of commandant, he was appointed trainer at McKee. He also became chef d'equipe of the Irish team, a role he filled for seven years, guiding Ireland to the Olympic Games in Seoul and Barcelona.

He retired from the Army in 1999, having been promoted in his last two years to Officer in Command of the Army Equitation School. Subsequently he worked in Dubai as an adviser and head of the United Arab Emirates Equestrian and Racing federation.

Lt Col MacMahon moved to Co Meath in 1974 when he married Judy Preston of Swainstown House, Kilmessan, an accomplished rider. Together they developed a world-class equestrian centre.

He is survived by his wife and children Clare and Emily, who continue the equestrian tradition.

Sunday Independent

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