Carton Equestrian Centre have a lot to look forward to this August in the RDS Horse Show in Ballsbridge.
The centre, which is owned and ran by Owen and his son Sean Kavanagh, has been in business over ten years in this premises, and previous to this Owen ran Kilmacradock riding school in Maynooth.
Owen has been involved with horses for over 25 years and has successfully ran two riding schools and produced several students who have since gone on to open their own equestrian centre, one of those students was his son Sean who after spending several years abroad to extend his show jumping training further after passing all of his equestrian exams then returned back to Ireland and has since managed the yard.
This year four of Carton’s riders have managed to qualify for the annual and prestigious RDS Horse Show. All pupils qualified under the tutorial of Chef D’Equipe Sean Kavanagh.
Three of the riders are all under the age of 16 and have qualified for the showjumping equitation class held on the Sunday of the event.
This was an extremely tough class to qualify for with only four riders from each four qualifiers which are held in each region able to gain a place.
Gavin Smith of Plunkett Hall, Dunboyne aged twelve was the first to qualify on Sean Kavanagh’s Blackwoodland Jackdaw who at only aged four years of age,this is an extremely huge achievement for a pony that only started being ridden after Christmas.
Gavin came third in Mullingar equestrian on June 10. Gavin will be competing against 15 other riders on the day, he has been a long time customer of Carton and his mother and brother also compete so it is definitely in the family.
Con Lowney of Ballygoran, Celbridge, aged eleven, was the next rider to qualify on his parents David and Andrea’s pony Ice Cool Cali who is also only five years of age and at such a young age in the competition, both pony and rider stepped upto the challenge better then could be expected.
Con came second in Saintfield Co Down on June 17.
Charlie Staunton of Quarryland, Batterstown, Co Meath, aged 14, qualifed on Una Twyfords Bushmills Fionn who is a brother to Con’s pony also.
His class had over 50 competitiors in each of the four qualifers so it was not an easy task to achieve to get in the top four placing.
Charlie came second in Charleville, Co Cork on June 24.
This was the very first year that all three of the boys ever attempted to try qualify for the RDS so to manage to get all three in was a brilliant result for all the riders, parents and the trainers and the yard.
Stephen Holland also qualified on Sean Kavanaghs seven year old gelding Oakenes Titan for the young rider class held on the Saturday and the Sunday. This competition is confined to riders under 21 years of age.
Stephen is from Celbridge and at aged 20, he also qualified two years in a row back in 2007 and 2008 for the equitation class that the other three riders qualified for this year when he was still riding his pony before he made the transition into horses.
Six qualify from each region for the young rider class and Stephen qualified on his second attempt in Lurgan, Co Armagh, he came fourth place overall.
The riders trainer Sean is no stranger to the RDS having qualified over six times and having numerous results.
In 2008 he was reserve champion in the showjumping four year old class in Dublin, this class had the top 36 Irish bred horse in the country and he came second.
In 2010 Sean along with the rest of his team, Stephen Holland, Rachel Stafford and Nicola Stafford ( who are all instructors in Carton) were all crowned National champions in the AIRC showjumping event in the RDS. This class had the top nine clubs from the country competing for the champion title.
Again in 2011 Sean qualified on his own horse for the four year old class and came in the top twelve overall in the event which had 36 Irish bred horses in it.
Having had vast experience with the necessary training, dedication and commitment required when aiming for the RDS, it is clear that Sean’s professional experience along with the hard work of the riders and the parents huge support all combined to receive the end results.
It will be a very busy week for all of the centre as aswell as having 4 riders competing Carton also have two riding school ponies doing childrens pony rides all week in the kids zone on the showgrounds. This is open for all spectators to use and have a ride.
Carton equestrian also run summer pony camps every week throughout July and August and hold regular shows.
They offer livery, lessons, breaking and schooling, birthday parties and BHS exam tuition.