Dressage Ireland Winter Finals

First weekend back from Portugal and Spain, and we were straight off to the Dressage Winter Finals at Cavan Equestrian Centre. A long drive!

River Lodge Equestrian

Michelle Kenny, Rafael Sanctuary and Spencer Golding, celebrating after the GP win

We have come to the end of a fantastic few months with the River Lodge Equestrian Team, following their time in Portugal and Spain (Mijas).  Over this time we have seen the horses improving so rapidly – the sunshine must be working well! In Portugal, a great week was completed at the show in Lisbon – with 40 horses in total. The rosettes were rapidly building up at the back of the RLE stand and Michelle Kenny topped the week with a win in the small Grand Prix with Stefan Van De Heffinck.

The sizeable crowds at the show became very enthusiastic over the novelty competition where riders had to jump a 1.20M course, dismount and run and jump a small fence, then sprint over to a bicycle which had to be ridden around a set course (through fairly sticky sand.

Both Michelle and Raf took up the Challenge (Raf multiple times) and proved they are more than competent jumpers themselves.

Stork flying overhead at Rio Frio

After Lisbon, the team set off for an event at Rio Frio on 11th February. So different to photograph amidst the rows of olive trees with storks flying overhead! In spite of the sometimes torrential rain on the day – all RLE horses went very well, and Michelle’s new pride and joy “Aspe” gave her a fantastic spin around the cross country. The little mare just flies!

Michelle in the dressage phase – before the rain started!

The next show was at Pego where we managed to get some drone footage of Michelle and Pimms (Sophie’s Joy). I would not normally recommend using a drone to photograph show jumping but these horses are so cool with drone work, and even took part in a publicity video for Golega.

Michelle – very happy with the first day

From Portugal we made a long overnight trip to join the Sunshine Tour in Mijas.  Horses,

An equally happy Raf

people and dogs, not to mention mountains of tack and feed, meant it was a long convoy that was travelling.

We were pretty tired when we got to Mijas! The showground at Mijas is lovely (apart from the occasional dust clouds around the yard area), and there is a lovely relaxed atmosphere.

First day of competition was the 15th March, and all the RLE horses were impressive, producing clear round after clear round.

The horses continued to show great performance throughout the show. both Michelle and Raf were delighted with their horses, and in the bigger classes “Sophie’s Joy”, “Avalon du Carpont”, “RLE Stefan van de Heffinck” and “RLE Legoland”  produced amazing results from the outset.

River Lodge Equestrian are also lucky to have the most amazing team of riders, grooms and other staff who keep the machine running!

Pingu AKA The Boss

Last but not least, Pingu has to be the best team member ever. Never misses a thing – though does expect to travel in comfort if the weather is chilly!

fabulous metal signs

These shop and direction signs are a constant reminder that Golegã is considered to be the horse capital of Portugal. Every cafe and restaurant is also adorned with horse photos and posters.


Aveiro has both canals and gondolas so the town is sometimes referred to as the Venice of Portugal – so a daytrip had to be made!  The gondola like boats are actually known as barcos moliceiros, and were busy transporting tourists up and down the canal all afternoon.

Had a long walk around the many narrow cobbled streets – it is like stepping into the past.  Had to try the delicious “ovos moles” (soft eggs).

Golegã, Portugal 18th February 2017

Had a chance to pop up to see the  Campeonato Regional de Equitação de Trabalho in Golegã this morning. The morning started out very foggy, but the fog lifted quickly, so it was easy to capture the wonderful colours of the traditional riding attire against the backdrop of the old buildings surrounding the square.

11th Feb Rio Frio Portugal

What a different event venue from what we are used to photographing. Following the River Lodge Equestrian event horses at today’s event amidst the olive trees at Rio Frio. What was “normal” was the rain!  Torrential downpours which would equate to any Irish weather. All the RLE team put up a great performance at their first eventing day of the season with 9 horses getting double clears.

Lots more photos on our Facebook album: https://www.facebook.com/pg/equuspixphotography/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1311546355550891


Golegã is known as the capital of the horse (Capital do Cavalo), and is famous for the annual Golegã Horse fair which runs every November.

Warrington RC Summer Show 24th April

All photos from the show can be found at the following link:


Facebook images from the day