Kilkenny (horse)

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For other uses of Kilkenny, see Kilkenny (disambiguation).
Breed Irish Sport Horse
Dam Laughter
Maternal grandsire Sandeman
Sex 17.0hh Gelding
Foaled 1957 in Ireland
Country  United States and Ireland
Colour Bay with a small star
Breeder William Dempsey
Owner Dorothea B. Wofford
Medal record
Olympic Games
Silver medal – second place 1968 Mexico City Team 3-Day Event
Silver medal – second place 1972 Munich Team 3-Day Event
World Championships
Gold medal – first place 1966 Burghley Team eventing
Bronze medal – third place 1970 Punchtown Team eventing
Pan American Games
Gold medal – first place 1967 Winnipeg Team eventing

Kilkenny was a horse that competed in the sport of eventing.

Competitive career[edit]

Kilkenny was named after the area in which he was bred – County Kilkenny, Ireland. His breeder was William Dempsey of Ballyhale. Kilkenny was first ridden by an Irish rider, Tommy Brennan, with whom he competed at the 1964 Badminton Horse Trials and in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. In 1965, he turned briefly to show jumping, becoming a member of the Irish Show Jumping Team and competing at the Rotterdam CSI, jumping 6'7" in a puissance class. He was ridden again in the 1966 Badminton Horse Trials and then at the 1966 Eventing World Championship at Burghley, where he won team gold. Wofford saw the horse running at the World Championships and was impressed by his bravery. His mother purchased Kilkenny that winter, and gave Wofford the ride.

Under Wofford, Kilkenny continued to have great success, first winning the 1967 USET Nationals, before earning the team gold at the Pan-American Games and finishing 4th individually. In 1968, the pair competed at Badminton for a third time, placing 13th. A few months later they finished 8th at the Canadian Championships, before shipping off to the 1968 Olympics.

The Olympics was a success, earning a team silver medal for the Americans. However, a broken caulk in the show jumping resulted in a fall, and disappointedly dropped the pair from second individually down to sixth.

The pair continued finishing well, placing 3rd at the 1969 USET Championships, and winning the bronze medal at the 1970 World Championships in Puncheston. In 1971, Kilkenny finished third at the Canadian Chanmpionships, and finished his competitive career at the 1972 Olympic Games, with a team silver medal.

Following his third Olympics, Kilkenny was retired at Ledyard, and carried Wofford out fox hunting for 6 years.


  • One of only three horses (including The Grasshopper and Paket) to compete in three Olympics
  • Winner of 2 team gold medals, 2 team silver medals, 1 individual bronze, and a National Championship
  • Competed in 4 CCI***s and an amazing 9 CCI****s
  • One of only five event horses to have competed in six or more CCIOs (International Team Competitions), in addition to The Grasshopper, The Poacher, Random Light, and Priceless.
  • At 3 of the CCIO****s, he finished with the fastest cross-country time (including the 1968 Olympics, where he finished an amazing 30 seconds ahead of the second-fastest)
  • Completed every CCI he every started


  • 1964 Dublin Horse Show Catalogue – Class 60. confined to horses entered for jumping only.