The Dublin Horse Show is a celebration of Ireland's affinity with the horse. The event is known nationally and internationally and Ballinasloe ‘s rising horse-riding star and Garbally student Godfrey Gibbons Junior scooped Top prize.
Godfrey Junior whose family own the Pillar House Pub on Society St, won the Young Rider Class at with strong performances in the show jumping element- which tests the horse’s ability to jump over a course of fences at a pre-determined pace.
2022 has been a great year for the young rider. Before the Horse show, in the previous 10 eventing competitions, he never failed to finish in the top six once and won three of them.
He’s just turned 18 this year. He got into horse riding because his mum Marie rode horses and he picked up the interest from there – “I got a little pony called Dots when I was 4, joined East Galway Pony Club when I was 7 and have been riding horses ever since – I enjoyed hunting with East Galway hunt and competing at various pony club competitions around the country before starting eventing”, states Godfrey.
Winning this competition was a huge achievement for him but his highlight from this year is whenhe represented Ireland at the European Championships in Hartpury in the UK and won a silver medal in eventing.
Eventing is a discipline, where the horse and rider have to complete three tests, in the following order: a dressage test, a cross country test and a show jumping test.
He will be able to compete again next year in the same discipline in the Dublin Horse Show, but he will have to do it on a different horse. He hopes to find a horse with the same qualities as Milchem Miami.
Since he has began horse riding Godfrey has had a lot of great coaches probably too many to name and he doesn’t want to leave anyone out. “My mum’s sister Sinead McGrath helped me in the early days with dressage, since I started eventing, I have been coached by Ralph Conroy from Milchem Equestrian Centre who has been a great help in all three disciplines – dressage, show jumping and cross country. This summer I also worked with Damien Griffin and got lots of show jumping practise in”, he explains.
He would have this advice for any young person considering taking up the sport “Have fun and enjoy it – there will be lots of ups and downs – everyone has bad days – you have to park them and move on – but keep working hard, be open to learning and the good days will come.”
“ My parents I have to thank for the huge work they do behind the scenes, with special thanks to my mum as she does all the driving and grooming. I am also very appreciative to Ralph Conroy for all the great coaching and his sister Katie for all the help she gives me “ , he concludes.
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