Over 80,000 people are expected to converge on Dublin’s RDS venue for the Dublin Horse Show which started today.

The Fáilte Ireland and Bewleys Hotels Speed Stakes took place today at the beginning of the prestigious equestrian event, which is one of the most noted moments on the Irish social calendar.

Today’s event was opened by Deputy Dublin Lord Mayor Evie Wynne, who arrived in the Mayor's 200-year-old horse-drawn coach.

1,400 horses and ponies in total are due to take place in the competition.

The Royal Dublin Society’s first running of the famous show took place back in 1869, and it has been a yearly event ever since.

Friday is traditionally the busiest day when a capacity crowd comes to see the Nations Cup for the award of the Aga Khan trophy. This year’s trophy will be presented by Ireland’s President, Mary McAleese, as is traditional.

Ireland, Spain, France, the United States, Britain, Germany, The Netherlands, Switzerland and Sweden all compete in this year’s event.

Ladies Day takes place on Thursday.

300 stalls selling everything from antiques to art will also be set up for the duration of the day.

The total prize fund for the 2010 competition exceeds €920,000