Horse spectacular for Shane’s Castle game fair

Carriage driving
Carriage driving

Enthusiasts will be harnessing a lifetime passion for all things equine next month to create a massive horse and pony spectacular at the annual Irish Game Fair at Shanes Castle.

As Ireland’s biggest and most successful celebration of country sports, pursuits and interests prepares to mark 40 fabulous years, the Great Game Fairs of Ireland is adding extra excitement to the ruby anniversary with the inclusion in the programme of an all-new horse show and display staged by the prestigious Irish Hackney Horse Society.

Announcing the development, Fair Director Albert Titterington said: “Horses and ponies are at the heart of our rural heritage so, very naturally, they have always been an important facet of the Irish Game Fair experience. This year however our ruby anniversary has spurred us into action and we’re looking forward to the unbridled spirit of our equestrian legacy taking centre stage.

“The Irish Hackney Horse Society has come on board to stage what will be a major - and highly competitive - horse show in the Countrysports in Action Arena on Saturday 23 June, together with a hugely impressive display in our main arena.

“Alongside these great events we’ll have a range of thrilling equestrian demonstrations including thrilling medieval jousting by a top international team, the Knights of the North from the borders of Scotland; displays of European Champion Western Riding and Dancing Horses from the County Offaly-based Cochise Stud, mounted cavalry at the Battle of Antrim re-enactment and horse drawn threshing from Johnnie Fee. All equestrian life is here so, if you love horses and ponies, you’ll certainly love the Irish Game Fair.”

Ian Armstrong, of The Irish Hackney Horse Society Show, will be managing the society’s input.

Delighted to be partnering the Irish Game Fair for its ruby anniversary, he commented: “As a society our main aim is of course to promote the Hackney breed, but we welcome and will make every effort to welcome exhibitors from across the equine world to Shanes Castle this year where they will see the very best of both ‘in hand’ and ‘in harness’ competition.

“Whether you are already knowledgeable about horses and ponies or simply enjoy watching equine spectacle, there will be plenty to enjoy and we are looking forward to sharing our enthusiasm with even wider audiences. The overall champion and reserve champion will win special ‘Ruby Anniversary Trophies’ this year and we know that competition will be intense to carry home that once-in-a-lifetime honour.”

Entries are now open for competition sections which will include: Native Pony Breeds (Shetland, Highland, Exmoor, Connemara, etc) In Hand; Native Horse Breeds (Clydesdale, Irish Draught, etc) In Hand; Welsh Cobs In Hand; Irish Sport Horse In Hand; Part Bred Horse or Pony In Hand; Rare or Endangered Bred Pony ( Hackney Pony, Dales Dartmoor, etc) In Hand; Rare or Endangered Bred Horse (Hackney Horse, Clydesdale etc) In Hand; Any Other Bred In Hand; Young Handler; Donkey In Hand; Exercise Vehicle; Multiples (two or more equines to a suitable turnout); Trade Vehicles; Country Turnout; Private Driving; Hackney Pony; Hackney Horse; Lady Whip; Junior Whip; Disabled Driver

To enter, contact Ian on 07849494958 or e-mail armstrong.in@gmail.com

The Irish Game Fair is open to the public on 23 and 24 June at Shanes Castle, Antrim.

The Irish Game Fair is supported by TourismNI and Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council.