North County Dublin club celebrates 40th anniversary

Cheval Riding Club recently held a celebratory event to mark the clubs 40th anniversary.  The club is based at its show grounds at Jordanstown in North Dublin

In 1977, some like-minded equestrian enthusiasts came together to form Cheval Riding Club, with the idea of promoting and encouraging equestrian competitions for true amateurs. With a membership of 50 – 60 people per annum stemming from Howth, Rush, Lusk, Sutton, Swords crossing in County Meath and County Louth, forty years later, the club is still going strong.

In the early days, Cheval held shows in the grounds of the Grand Hotel in Malahide, Monk’s field at Drynam and Milton house home of Kit, Kieran and Judy Ryan – where the Pavilions Shopping Centre stands today. Later events were moved to Charlie Haughey’s well-known estate Abbyville in Kinsealy. During the mid 80’s the Cheval Committee lead by then Chair Paddy Condron, and Secretary Bernie Foley (still an active member and now a level 3 dressage judge) got to work raising money through initiatives such as race nights in the old Ashbourne House Hotel and by May 1987 Cheval opened its Showgrounds in Jordanstown Co Dublin.

The Showgrounds in Jordanstown’s county north Dublin boast 3 grass arenas and an all-weather outdoor sand arena. The IRE£20,000 all-weather arena was funded at the time by various fundraising activities by the then committee, headed up by Chair Michael Walsh and Club Secretary Christine Walsh. Member’s also played a huge part in helping the club reaching its target by donating of IR£200 per member. Finally a grant from the Rural Dublin Leader programme sealed the deal and the all weather arena was commissioned and opened in 2000. The arena has served the club well allowing members use of the showground facilities all year round and enabling the club to host events during the wetter months.

Over the past 3 years the current committee, headed up by Chair Angela Day, have been working on giving the Showground in Jordanstown grounds a bit of a facelift. After various fundraising projects, the Club House was replaced and two new toilets were installed, two new storage containers and new jumps were purchased. In addition after 17 years the drainage system in the sand arena was updated.

Cheval hosts a number of events at their showgrounds each year, as the club needs around €7k annually to keep its gates open, pay insurance and utilities. The 7th May will saw the return of the Annual AIRC affiliated Spring Show, hosted in conjunction with Copperfield Riding Club, based in Loughshinny, and Drynam Riding Club, based in Swords, and sponsored by the Horse Mad Store located in Metro Business Park Swords.

At their Pre-Festival show in June, a number of previous members and supporters of the club joined present members to celebrate the club’s 40th birthday for a special toast to mark the club’s special history. Among those present were past chairs such as Margot Lowth, Teddy O’Reilly, David Keane and long-time members Christine Walsh, Margie McLoone and Bernie Foley. Present chair Angela Day, and treasurer Triona Dever, spoke of the importance of the club in the region, and how each individual member over the clubs 40 years played a vital role in the club’s rich history. 

Cheval would like to take the opportunity to thank all competitors, sponsors, the Association of Irish Riding Clubs, AIRC North East Region and volunteers for their ongoing support, without whom the club could not thrive. Here’s to the next 40 years of Cheval!

Here’s to the next 40 years of Cheval!

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