Thursday 22 August 2019

'It's great to compete in a sport where women and men are equal'

Wexford Rose Emma Byrne from Clonroche. Pic Steve Humphreys
Wexford Rose Emma Byrne from Clonroche. Pic Steve Humphreys
Sorcha O'Connor

Sorcha O'Connor

The sun shone down on the Dublin Horse Show festivities yesterday, as attendees marked 100 years of women show-jumping at the event.

In keeping with the theme of gender equality, there were prizes for both men and women in the style stakes yesterday.

Wexford Rose Emma Byrne (19) was among those in attendance. She came fourth in the Small Show Hunter Mares 4- and 5-year-old class.

The Clonroche woman has been competing at the horse show since she was just 12 - the seventh generation of her family to take part.

While she took a break for her Leaving Cert last year, she is back competing now - when she isn't studying to be a primary school teacher on St Patrick's Campus in DCU.

"The Leaving Cert is a tough year, so while I didn't want to take a break - I had to," she said.

She said it was an honour to compete with the best at the RDS and carry on the family tradition. "It has always been a hobby for me and it is great to know you can compete with professionals. I'm just a country bumpkin really - I wouldn't have a big set-up at home. My dad built that stables and I was trained by my mam.

"I spent some of my communion money on my Connemara pony - I own his leg," she said.

"It's also great to compete in a sport that men and women are equal," she added.

Also up for the races was actress Aoibhín Garrihy. The 32-year-old looked radiant in a rose-red dress and hat.

She spoke about how she and her husband John Burke are expecting baby number two in December and how she wished he would take up a different hobby.

The hotelier, who has climbed Everest, is due to climb Mont Blanc next month.

"He is always going to climb mountains. You can't call out the tide, as they say," Aoibhin told the Irish Independent.

"That's his thing, that's his self-care and you have to encourage it and not prevent anyone doing what they love.

"I understand it and if I didn't, it would make it a little bit more difficult.

"It is what makes him happy and what he loves, so I am all for it. It could be a little bit safer, he could be playing golf or something."

Malahide woman Maksuda Akhter (29) might have had her arm in a sling after she fell off her bike, but she still embraced the summery weather and donned a floral Ted Baker dress in her bid to impress in the style stakes.

"I'm stuck with the pain either way, so I said I may as well put in the effort," she said.

She paired her dress with an orange hat, perfect for the sunny day. Her friend Keara Lydon, also from Malahide, took a trip to trusty TK Maxx for her accessories.

Irish Independent

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