I remember the shows in the fifties, especially the people and the horses who competed in the showjumping arenas. The McEntees from Co. Monaghan had at least five or six horses showjumping. ‘Monkey’ McGovern was their great jockey. The McCalmounts from Northern Ireland were great supporters also and the McDougals from Northern Ireland (who had the well-known factory making sheep dip.)
Francie Kearns from Sligo was a great showjumping rider, he rode Frank McGarry’s horse called ‘Go Sly Up.’ Mrs. Teeling from Roscommon owned a lovely Bay horse`Go Lightly.’ John Daly from Lough Mask owned a number of horses. James Corbin, Claremorris competed with his two thoroughbred mares ‘Christmas Gift’ and ‘May Gift.’ Prior to showjumping, they raced in Galway. Another gifted rider from Claremorris, Derry O’Brien on his horse `13allykillroe’ which he bought for 2/6 had failed many riders earlier was very successful for Derry.
Michael Duffy who was managing Ballinamore farm (now a nursing home) used to jump a Clyde mare at the show. Jimmy Hobin, Castlebar used to compete with a part Clyde mare. Harry Conway (cousin) from Tuam won the Champion Stonewall competition in 1959. Henry Gordon later won the champion stone wall with a 13.2 Connemara pony.
Sean Ronyane and his brother T.J. from Claremorris regularly competed at the shows. Their younger brother Philip also used to compete with his pony called ‘Merrylegs.’ In the showing classes, the Cox family from Strokestown, Jimmy Prendergast from Claremorris, Edward McLoughlin from Cullane, James Raftery and James Rhattigan, lrishtown, always had horses for the showing classes.
I won a showing class in 1961 and that mare produced a foal in 1964 who later went on to star in the film `Ryans Daughter’ ridden by the leading lady Haley Mills in 1968.