SHE’S known as a former Limerick Rose, and an accomplished jockey but Adare’s Suzanne O’Brien has a few more feathers in her hat.
A regular competitor at the annual Dublin Horse Show since the age of five, Suzanne wowed the judges outside the show ring last week with a creation inspired by her time at the legendary grounds.
Suzanne, 25, who works in sales with Live 95FM, clocked the prize for most creative hat, and was crowned in the winner in her field by the judges, designer and presenter Brendan Courtney, Love/Hate star Susan Loughnane, and Sky Sports presenter Rachel Wyse.
The hat is of course a replica of the iconic RDS clock tower, complete with a ticking clock.
“I have competed there for about the last 20 years in the show rings, and win, lose or draw, my mother always makes us get our photograph taken on our horses in front of the clock tower.
“I went with that idea because the RDS means so much to me, and when I think of the RDS I think of the clock,” she said.
She had the idea for the hat over the past two years, but designed it two months ago, while her father Tim looked after its careful construction, ensuring that it was light enough to wear for the day. Light materials used in the construction of model airplanes, pieces of velvet and even a hairband were among the parts used in phases of its construction.
“It really took people by surprise, and got a lot of attention, especially when people saw that it was a working clock, they took a second glance. I was thrilled. I didn’t expect it. I think the judges appreciated the story and the effort that went with it as well.”
Many asked her where she got it made, or if it was a Philip Treacy, but a delighted Suzanne replied in jest, “No, it’s an O’Brien”.
Suzanne also designs her own bags, by using cartoons or caricatures she has drawn and transposing on to shopping bags.
The bags have especially become popular with bridal parties, and these were also on sale at the horse show.
Given her clear creative streak, she is considering doing a millinery course. While she wasn’t successful competing in the small hunter competition with her horse Crystal on Wednesday, she literally pulled the hat out of bag with her entry on Thursday. Her win was featured across many national newspapers, but seeing her image on the front page of The Irish Field the next day was a double delight. She also won the title of Most Stylish Lady at Limerick racecourse in July. Over 600 ladies turned out for their chance to be crowned this year’s Blossom Hill best dressed lady in Dublin.
Annmarie Blennerhasset from Tralee won best dressed lady, which included a shopping trip to New York worth €8,000.
n See www.facebook.com/ArtBySuzie