Showing classes at the Dublin Horse Show are the ultimate test for exhibitors and breeders
Each year hundreds of exhibitors across the country, and beyond, vie for their place at the Dublin Horse Show. Be it ridden, in-hand showing or show jumping classes, the competition is hot and everyone wants to take home a piece of RDS silver at the end of a long week.
For the showing enthusiasts, in particular, the five-day spectacular is the culmination of many months of hard work preparing their animals for the ultimate show case.
This week, both new and old faces will meet in Ring 1, Ring 2 and perhaps the Main Arena to battle it out for some of the most prestigious titles on the Irish showing calendar.
It was back in 1869 that the first Challenge Cup was presented for the best exhibit in the classes for hunters and young horses likely to make hunters.
Presented by the Lord Lieutenant, Earl Spencer, this cup was the first to usher in a trend of similar cups and trophies which have added to the success and sense of prestige associated with winning at the Ballsbridge showgrounds.
This was soon followed by the Pembroke Cup, first presented to the owner/breeder of the champion young horse of the show by the Earl of Pembroke in 1882. Open to yearlings, two, three and four-year-old colts, geldings or fillies bred by their exhibitors, the same criteria is observed to this day and remains as one of the most coveted.
In the early days it was won by some notable exhibitors who themselves went on to have other cups and trophies at the show named in their honour.
In its 135-year history it has only ever been won outright once after three successive wins - in 1927 by Owen Ryan from Mullingar in Co Westmeath.