SOME REVELLERS were only going home to their beds at 4.30am this week during the Rose of Tralee, but not the Limerick Rose.
Suzanne O’Brien was instead rising at that ungodly hour to muck out her horses and prepare them for the Dublin Horse Show.
The Adare native, a broadcast journalist with Live 95FM, was admittedly disappointed she didn’t get to represent Limerick on the stage in the Dome in Tralee.
However, she was riding high nonetheless after taking home four medals in several categories. Suzanne took home a first prize medal, two thirds, and a fifth on her own horse Crystal (aka Razzle Dazzle Girl), while her sister Lyndsey also took home two medals - a fourth and a sixth place, on Hero (Mr Shakespeare).
A keen jockey, as luck would have it this was also the first year she made it to the parade ring in the main arena for the overall champions, after her friend had to bow out due to an injury, and instead Suzanne rode her horse, Finn, to glory.
“It was a great week. I really couldn’t believe it. I was just delighted with the result. It was a tough week, with a lot of early mornings and late nights, but when you get the result it’s worth it. It’s a show that anything can happen at, no matter how consistent you’ve been all season. It’s always an honour to ride up there and great to come away with anything,” she said.
She took home her prizes in the show hunter ponies category, the side saddle, and the small Hunter category, and then there was a quick dash to Tralee on Sunday, after competing that day in Dublin. Suzanne was in the audience with her fellow Roses who didn’t make it beyond the regional finals in Portlaoise. “The atmosphere was electric, and I felt really proud to be there and represent Limerick even though I wasn’t on a stage. It was great to support the girls I had made friends with in Portlaoise and we all supported one another. I was delighted I went and to be a part of it.”
The Luxembourg Rose, Nicola McEvoy, won the tiara this year, and Suzanne said she had been one of her odds-on favourites all along. “I had a long-list of favourites but she was definitely up there. I don’t know what it was, she just stood out. She had all the traits you imagine a Rose should have – she had the poise, the charisma, a sense of humour, she can speak very well. She’s just a really nice person.”