Paddy McMahon, Show Jumper.

Paddy McMahon

     Paddy McMahon

Paddy McMahon was one of the leading show jumpers of the 1970s. He was the1973 European Champion and was nearly unbeatable on his horse Penwood Forge Mill(Forgie). He won the European Championship at Hickstead and in the same year won the King George V Gold Cup and the Horse and Hound Cup at the Royal International Horse Show. He was ATV Sportsman of 1973 and runner up to Jackie Stewart as the BBC Sports Personality of 1973. He competed in the 1980 World Cup Final in Baltimore, USA.

Many people assume because of his name that he is Irish. However he was born in Derby on the 5th December 1933 and grew up in Chaddesden. He was the eldest of six boys and grew up on Wollaton Road. There was no history of horse riding in the family and his route to the top was unusual.

He attended St Marys’ Roman Catholic School in Derby and came to an arrangement with Cliff, a fellow pupil to have rides on his ponies. Later he palled up with another school friend, Billy Mulholland, whose father was a scrap metal dealer. He was allowed to ride on horses that were pulling scrap carts during the week. This was bareback riding with a driving bridle!

Paddy started jumping hedges and ditches, Tommy Mulholland recognised his natural talent as a show jumper and so story began. His first outing was at Wollaton Park and it wasn’t long until he was taking part in B.S.J.A. Affiliated Shows.

When the time came to leave school at 14, rather than taking a regular job, he went to ride for Tommy Mulholland until at 18 he was called up for National Service in the Catering Corps at Aldershot. Fortunately he obtained a transfer to the King’s troop and took part in many ceremonial duties, including being part of the Queen’s escort on Coronation Day. After his two year’s National Service he returned to work for Tommy Mulholland. In 1956 he married Joyce and moved to Mickleover, finally leaving Derby in 1962.

He was often seen riding on the fields between Morley Road and Copes Way in the late 40s and early 50s. His parents were very proud of his achievements and their house was filled with photographs of his achievements.

Paddy published his autobiography “Winning Ways” in 1980, which provided much of the above information. Thanks to Fred Moss who remembered seeing Paddy riding in Chaddesden, which started this project .

Jean Moss.

14 Comments on “Paddy McMahon, Show Jumper.

  1. Derby Evening Telegraph on 1st August 1958 reports that Paddy McMahon (24) long distance lorry driver of 4 Wollaton Road, Chaddesden won the British Show Jumping Association’s national adult championship at Blackpool. The horse, Tim II, is owned by his employer Mr Tommy Mulholland of Mount Farm Brailsford.

  2. Paddy lived opposite me in chaddesden and I spent a lot of time with his brothers . He sometimes kept his horse next to the house under a lean to and I remember one day the horse getting spooked and kicking the whole lot down . When he won the King George V trophy it was my biggest sporting thrill ever ( and I was at wembley in 66) Thanks Paddy

      • Hello Neil
        I’m Paddy’s next to youngest brother and I was a pal of your dad Graham as a young boy.
        We called ourselves ‘the Gutter Twins” and got up to all sorts of trouble.
        I worked as an Apprentice at Rolls Royce because my dad wouldn’t allow two boys to be show jumpers when Paddy wasn’t doing so well at first.
        However, I later bought my own horse and proved my dad right.
        I now live in Kent having retired after 31 years in the Met Police.

        Danny Mc Mahon

    • Hi Barry
      Happy days, lots of fun with you and Roy. I notice a comment also from Graham Ashton’s son. Graham and I were pals at the age of 10 and got in lots of trouble like scrumping and got summonsed for blackberry picking on the railway bridge at Breadsall (didn’t stop me becoming a policeman in London).
      Best wishes Barry.

  3. I met Paddy one day some 20 years ago when we were extending is riding school.
    I used to live in the prefabs then somerset st.
    A real chad lad.
    Just for the record I am still doing the same job now as I was then been at it now 40 years.
    All the best.

  4. Fond memories with Vicky and Graham Paddys youngest brother coming to shows and watching Paddy compete and meeting ‘famous’ people and Penwood Forge Mill ….. We jumped every jump with him and European Cup Success had hysteria in the front roon in Ilkeston. Happy Days!

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