Welcome to the first of our ‘Grill the Equestrian‘ Series where we’ll be asking equestrian riders and professionals all the questions on your mind!
To kick it off we decided to start with a local, up and coming Irish showjumper, Eva O’Shaughnessy, who just competed in her very first overseas international event. When you travel to an international show in another country and see someone waving the Irish Flag like a boss, how could we resist not asking a few questions?
Who is Eva O’Shaughnessy?
I’m 35, I have a full time job and the horses are my every other breathing hour. I have 4, a pony for my niece and nephew (to ensure at least one member of my family is into horses :)), my 17 year old mare Rogue(Haven Supreme) who taught me everything I know and who I competed to 1.10, her yearling by Ringfort Cruise – Ruby (Supreme Endevour) and my mare that I currently compete on; Crvaghs Diamant Taille.
When did you first start riding?
I was 10 and my aunt surprised me with a lesson in Greenhills equestrian for my Birthday, I didn’t get my own horse until I was 18
Tell us about Crvaghs Diamant Taille
Diamond (stable name) is a 12 year old 15.3 ISH mare by a son of Flagmount King out of a little TB mare. I have known her since she was 2, I broke her and then bought her from the owner when she was 6. She’s always been a challenging, hot, quirky, sensitive, little horse, she hates men, strangers and anyone who doesn’t ask nicely and she likes to express her upset by dancing on 2 legs. We’ve been through the wars together but its all worked out and she’s my horse of a lifetime
Tell us about your coach
My coach is basically superwoman. She is based in JAG equestrian in Winterdown Stud in Naas Co Kildare. Over the years I’ve tried many different top jumpers and stuck with none until I met Julieann. I’m about 5 years with her now and she’s brought me from an average 1m rider(on another horse) to a (I’ve been recently told) “make it look very easy” confident 1.20 rider on my current horse. Julianne teaches each rider to their and their horses true ability. She’s never negative always constructive and sets down goals and plans. She tells you the truth but is always kind about it. We trained like crazy, I usually do lessons once a fortnight or weekly when the bank account allows but we went to 2 a week in the weeks before Hickstead.
What type of exercises do you do at home to train your horse for big events?
My mare is hot so we do a lot of flat and hacking for fitness, we jump once a week and then do pole work another day. I have no go to exercise as I like to mix it up, horses along with riders get bored so its important to switch it up all the time. We school over courses at least once a week and work on the most important parts of flatwork, rhythm and straightness the rest of the time. These things are key over everything else
The Road to Hickstead
How did you prepare at home for such a big event like Hickstead?
A lot of hard work. I work full time so riding and competing every evening after work and weekends. Dedication and consistency is key in this sport you need to be at it all the time exposing yourself to big shows, training hard; flat work, pole work, or jumping you have to be dedicated you cant do it part time if you want to be successful.
How did Diamond handle the journey?
She was great, it was about 14 hours on the truck. She has a history of being an odd/bad traveller but the transport company looked after her really well and she arrived pretty much the way I’d sent her
Was there anything you were most worried about?
The travelling for her consumed my mind until I saw her in her stable in Hickstead. Once she was there my aim was to just enjoy myself. I stuck to the heights I was most comfortable jumping
Did you meet many other international riders at Hickstead? Who were you most awestruck by (if any)?
I didn’t really get to meet anyone we were so busy with our own horses. I know Paddy O’D so bumped into him a few times passing to and from the ring. We all have our heroes, I do too, but I’m in awe of all riders, for any of us to get up on horses and do what we do at any level is a huge accomplishment from the smallest jumps to the biggest.
How does the rest of the year look for you and Diamond?
Busy 🙂 we had the national amateur champs in Wexford equestrian a few weeks agoand from now to Oct/Nov is back to back with the goal being to qualify for the Cavan International Show.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
God Knows 🙂 still riding horses, hopefully still loving it and still driven to be the best I can be. Id like to breed a bit more and start producing those horses but we will just have to wait and see.
We hope you enjoyed learning all about Eva and Diamond. If you’d like to keep up with them on their equestrian journey, be sure to follow her on Instagram @eveoshock or over on JAG Equestrian’s Facebook page where there are regular updates on Team JAG’s riders.
Keep your eyes peeled for our next installment, do you have anyone you would like to hear from? Let us know in the comments below!
Thanks for reading,