Irish SJ hero retires

  • Top Irish show jumping, John Ledingham, has retired after a successful international career

    John Ledingham has retired after a spectacularly successful show jumping career spanning more than 20 years at the Irish Army Equitation School.

    The 43-year-old rider competed in more than 60 Nations Cup classes and contributed to five historic Aga Khan Cup victories in Dublin.

    Despite never taking the grand prix title there, the Royal Dublin Society showgrounds proved a happy hunting ground for John over the years. Something of a puissance specialist, he won at Dublin on four occasions and set the record there clearing 7ft 5in withKilcoltrim.

    He was fortunate enough to ride two of the most exciting horses to come out of the Equitation School in many years, the speed-machine Castlepollard and the big, bold Tudor Rocket gelding Kilbaha.

    He competed at three World Championships and three European Championships, but it was for his successes at Hickstead that he will probably be best remembered.

    He had already taken the coveted Hickstead Derby title in 1984 with Gabhran, but had to wait another 10 years before back-to-back victories with Kilbaha in 1994 and 1995, and recording a hat-trick of speed Derby successes with Castlepollard.

    John was promoted to chief instructor at McKee Barracks in 1999.

    Read more sports news in today’s Horse & Hound (28 March 2002), or click here to subscribe.

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