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Diarmuid's Pony Kids
Diarmuid's Pony KidsRTÉ One, Thursday, 8.30pm

Programme 6

Diarmuid Gavin & Jessica Kurten, Ireland's No.1 showjumper, have teamed up together to train five pony kids who had raw talent and a love for horses but no formal training.

The challenge began earlier this year when trials were held at the Fettercairn Youth Pony Project Centre, in Tallaght, Dublin. Kids came from all around the country and Jessica, Diarmuid and showjumper & trainer, Ronan Corrigan deliberated long and hard before finally choosing Thomas, Jade, Daryl, Squeeky and Dean.

The next and biggest challenge was to train them up in 10 short weeks to compete in a competition at the RDS Horseshow.

Over the weeks that followed the pony kids had to set aside their hoodies and trainers in favour of blazers, jodhpurs, chaps and riding boots and learn how to use saddles, reins and stirrups for the first time. They spent 10 gruelling weeks travelling up and down to Mullingar for daily training and amazingly not one of them missed a day no matter how tough the going got.

Their journey over the course of the series has taken them from inner city pony markets to a meeting with royalty, as Diarmuid and Jessica exposed them to every element of the horse industry. They got to see a different side to the Gardaí than they're used to when they visited the mounted unit in Aras an Uachtaráin.

They took their very first flight out of Ireland to visit Jessica's stables in Germany. And last last week they spent the day with Zara Phillips at Gatcombe Park watching her compete in the art of Dressage. It's a long way from the world of bare-backing pony riding.

The final episode in the series follows the kids final week together as they prepare for their big day in the RDS. However, their progress has been much slower than was hoped. Will they all be ready for the RDS to compete on the biggest day of the Dublin Horseshow... the Aga Khan?

 

Daryl and Squeeky
Daryl and Squeeky
The Pony Kids at the RDS
The Pony Kids at the RDS