Stage set for Kilguilkey International 2018

An International field of event riders will be heading to the heart of Duhallow country this weekend as a record eight nations will be represented at the Fernhill Sport Horses Kilguilkey House International Horse Trials. Now in its sixth year, the venue near Cecilstown, Mallow has been developed by Danny and Michelle Dulohery to become a core element on the International eventing calendar with riders regularly using the facility as part of their preparations for upcoming European and World championships.

Izzy Taylor (Perfect Stranger) – Haygain CIC3* Winner 2017 (Photo: Bit-Media)

Over 200 horses and riders will pass through the gates of Kilguilkey this weekend representing nations including Great Britain, Canada, Italy, Australia and Argentina. Olympic and World Championship Cross Country course designer Mike Etherington-Smith (GBR) has brought his expertise to Kilguilkey once again and worked closely with Danny Dulohery to create cross country tracks at three, two and one star level. Many visiting riders will be gaining experience at Kilguilkey ahead of this year’s World Equestrian Games which take place in Tryon, North Carolina (USA) in September. They will also be hoping to find glimpses of what Etherington-Smith may be planning for the European Eventing Championship course he will design at Luhmühlen (GER) in 12 months time.

Dressage and Show-Jumping for the feature classes takes place on Saturday 30th June with the all-important Cross Country phase bringing the action to a close on Sunday 1st July. Admission is free and amongst the highlights of the weekend is the Rider’s Party on Saturday evening where renowned musician and regular equestrian competitor Liam O’ Connor will be on hand with a unique performance.

A strong Irish entry including Sarah Ennis, Cathal Daniels and Joseph Murphy will be amongst those hoping to impress Senior High Performance manager Sally Corscadden ahead of the World Equestrian Games. Kilguilkey is also an important step in the selection process for the European Eventing Championships for Ponies which take place in Bishop Burton College (GBR) in August and team selector Becky Cullen will be closely watching the performance of combinations in the Eventing Ireland CIC*P class this weekend.

Mike Etherington-Smith (GBR), Course Designer with Danny Dulohery, Event Director/Course Designer

The wet spring followed by recent dry weather have brought their own challenges to preparations for the 2018 event. However, the ground has been carefully maintained and has a good cover of grass. The use of an ‘agrivator’ together with regular watering should make for perfect going at this weekend’s competition which for the first time, includes competition at 1.05m (Introductory) level as well as young event horse classes.

A former winner of the IRD Duhallow Best Agri-Business Award, Kilguilkey House has benefitted from LEADER funding through IRD Duhallow. Fernhill Sport Horses have continued their title sponsorship for 2018 and Global Event Horses, TopSpec and Eventing Ireland are amongst the returning sponsors. This year, the organisers are delighted to welcome Plusvital, Equissentials and Avalon on board as sponsors of the CIC1* and CI Intro classes.

The Fernhill Sport Horses Kilguilkey International Horse Trials forms part of the €10,000 Horse Sport Ireland Eventing Challenge where riders are vying for league points at Irish International horse trials across the summer in the hope of putting their name on the cheque at the final leg in Ballindenisk, Co. Cork in September. Many of the riders this weekend will be returning to Kilguilkey later in the year as the venue will host the Eventing Ireland National Championships for the first time.