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The History of Eventing Ireland

In 1952, in order to select an Irish team to compete in the Three Day Event at the Olympic Games in Helsinki, a One Day Event was organised at Castletown House, Co Kildare – the home of Lord and Lady Carew.

The selected team of Captain Freeman Jackson, Dudgeon and Darley finished 6th out of 19 teams at the Helsinki Olympic Games.

In 1953, due to the success of the Event at Castletown the previous year and the good performance of our team at the Olympic Games, “The Castletown Olympic Training and Hunter Trial Society Ltd” was formed in order to establish an annual Event at Castletown which would include a One Day Event and the Irish Hunter Trial Championships. However in 1954, due to a complaint from the Irish Olympic Council, the name of the Society was changed to “The Castletown Equestrian and Hunter Trial Society Ltd”.

In 1959, “The Irish Olympic Horse Society” (IOHS) was formed with The Castletown Equestrian and Hunter Trial Society becoming a sub-committee of the IOHS The aims of the I.O.H.S. was to ensure that Ireland would be represented by the best possible teams in future Olympic Games; by arranging financial and training assistance for riders and horses of International standards and by promoting Horse Trials in Ireland. Also in 1959 the “Northern Ireland Horse Society” was created. In 1961 they succeeded in attracting one of the world’s greatest trainers – Major Joe Lynch – to conduct a training course, at Balmoral Show Grounds. This led to Scarvagh Horse trials being organised under the auspices of the Newry Harriers Hunt Club in 1961, using the adjacent farms of George Bryson and Bill Buller, and attracting a total of 56 entries from all over Ireland – the venue quickly became extremely popular.

In 1966 the IOHS invited the Northern Ireland Horse Society to become part of its structure. This brought together the two main horse trials groups, providing riders from all over Ireland with the opportunity to represent Ireland at the Olympics Games. The first International Three Day Event took place at Punchestown, in 1966, and in 1967 they hosted the European Championships, and the sport was well and truly established.

In 1975, the IOHS was redesignated the IHTS (Irish Horse Trials Society). In 1985, so that Dressage could become an official body, the IHTS expanded to become the IHT and DS (Irish Horse Trials and Dressage Society). There were five regions formed to cover all of Ireland, which included the Northern Region who retained its autonomy due to the different jurisdictions and currency’s used.

In 1989, Dressage founded its own Society (Irish Dressage Society) so the IHT and DS reverted to its former name of the I.H.T.S. (Irish Horse Trials Society). Similar happenings took place with IHTS (Northern Region) to address the issue nationally.

Today, the IHTS continues under this trade name but in 1998, the Sport of Horse Trials became known as Eventing Ireland and Eventing Ireland (Northern Region) in recognition of the two jurisdictions.

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