Irish eventer beats the world’s best show jumpers in her five-star debut

“I can’t believe it,” said Irish eventer Elizabeth “Esib” Power after claiming victory in a five-star showjumping speed class at Dublin Horse Show on Saturday (10 August). “I won once in the main arena in ponies when I was 15 or 16.”

Esib, 34, was riding her former eventer, the 18-year-old Doonaveeragh O One (High Roller x Diamond Lad) to claim a much coveted victory in the Theraplate Ireland Royal Dublin Society Stakes, worth €8,250 to the winner.

This first CSI5* win was extra special for the daughter of Con Power, who was a member of the Irish team that famously won the Aga Khan trophy in the Nations Cup three times in a row in the late 1970s. The same four riders competed in all three years from 1977 — Con Power, Paul Darragh, James Kernan and Eddie Macken.

“There’s no ring in the world like this in my Dad’s eyes — for him, this is it,” said Esib, whose brother Robbie is a leading National Hunt jockey.

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Esib was ninth at Burghley last year but is no stranger to the showjumping arena, having partnered Doonaveeragh O One to compete in the Hickstead Derby four consecutive times, finishing sixth in 2019.

However, this was her first appearance in a top level five-star show and she beat Sweden’s Angelie von Essen (Tiger) into the runner-up spot with the world number five McLain Ward in third riding Up Des Chaines. The likes of the world’s leading rider Steve Guerdat, Gerco Schroder and Great Britain’s team rider Holly Smith all struggled to match Esib’s pace on the gelding — she finished half a second quicker than her nearest rivals.

“He loves his job, that’s why he’s still doing it,” said Esib.

Read the full report from Dublin Horse Show in this week’s issue of Horse & Hound, out Thursday 15 August.