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HomeHorse WeekHorse EventsA sweet victory for Eva and ‘Candy’ at Hagans Croft

A sweet victory for Eva and ‘Candy’ at Hagans Croft

SATURDAY, June 26 saw the third leg of Hagans Croft’s four-week Working Hunter League and NIF Qualifiers. The morning session started out with the horse classes and the 60cm classes. The course was a very technical track, with lots of questions for all those competing.

Rachel Conn’s four-year-old mare ‘Brooklodge April Star’ was certainly up for the test, finishing clear over the course of 12 fences. Awarded the red ribbon for their efforts, this pair certainly have a bright future ahead.

Sarah McClay was delighted with her gelding ‘Ballinglen Romeo’ – covid and lockdown set ‘Ballinglen Romeo’s’ education behind, but all their hard work clicked together on Saturday, clearing the course and claiming the red ribbon. What a way to start the weekend – well done!

The 80cm horse class was a strong and competitive class, however as the height went up, the 80cm the technical course was more testing and the clear rounds were fewer. Karen McKee and ‘Ballyellen Royal Hero’ were the only ones to finish clear, which secured them the win and the red ribbon!

Kate Russell and ‘Toffee Latte’ hadn’t much competition, with them being the only entrant in the 80cm cob class, however they still put on a ridden show and kept all poles intact over the course, finishing on 90/100 and claiming first place.

Nothing separated the top two within the 85cm small horse class – both Aimee McKeown and Sarah Brittain finished on a score of 97/100, however, after much deliberation between judges, Chloe Thompson and Alistair McDonald, the decision was made that first place was Aimee McKeown and ‘Russel’, followed by Sarah Brittain and ‘Fantastic Mr Fox’ in second place.

Determined to come home with that red ribbon, Sarah Brittain entered ‘Braeview Little Lion Man’ into the 90cm class, where they secured the top spot. Their winning streak did not stop there, as the pair went on to take home the overall Horse Champion on the day, which was very well deserved!

Julie Donaghy Simpson and ‘He’s the Lad’ were back on hunting ground, as they attacked the 1m course, securing the red ribbon and so too going on to be awarded Horse Reserve Champion with their championship show.

The Minion Pony section, which is held in the grass arena, started at 11am with the cross-poles class. Anna Poots, who has never competed in a working hunter competition before, certainly shone through as they went clear over the course and, after their ridden show, the pair finished on a score of 98/100. Everyone in the cross-poles class received a special rosette for all their efforts.

In the 40cm class, there were a few penalties seen over the course. All three competitors had unfortunate poles down and some refusals, however, it was Tabitha Cullen and ‘So Cool’ who placed first on the day.

Charlie Watson and ‘Master Casper Boy’ displayed a foot-perfect ridden show and, if the judge could have given her more marks for their manners and performance in their ridden show, he would have – but with a jaw-dropping perfect score of 100/100, there was no doubt the pair were coming home with the red ribbon.

Kezaia Boyce and ‘Errismore Black Log Lady’ also impressed the judge with their ridden show, as the pair also finished on a score of 100/100 and took the red ribbon. It was no surprise then when Kezaia and Charlie were the two competitors shining through in the Minion Pony Championship show. Minion Pony Champion went to Kezaia Boyce and ‘Errismore Black Log Lady’ and Minion Pony Reserve Champion went to Charlie Watson and ‘Master Casper Boy’.

The course was adjusted back to 60cm as the afternoon saw the pony working hunter classes get underway. Eva Kennedy had a busy day ahead with three ponies to ride, two of which were in the 60cm class. Success came with her dun mare called ‘Candy’, who won the class and went on to win the overall Pony Working Hunter Champion.

The 70cm class saw Ellie Annett and ‘Litton Hi-Society’ take home the red ribbon, while Ellie Hynds and ‘Homealone JJ’ took home the red ribbon in the 80cm class. Nadine Gormley and ‘Cois na hAbhainn Trojan’ came up trumps in both the 90cm and 1m class.

The day finished off with the pony championship class and, as competitors showed off their walk, trot, canter and gallop, the judges came down to the finer details in order to get their champions. After much deliberation, Eva Kennedy was delighted to receive Pony Working Hunter Champion on her mount ‘Candy’ and Chloe McLaughlin, who placed second in the 90cm class, was delighted to come home with the Pony Reserve Champion ribbon on ‘Teddyboy’. Both competitors smiled and laughed as they finished off the day with a celebration lap of honour, showing off with another gallop to finish the day!

Hagans Croft would like to thank everyone who supported the third leg of Hagan’s Croft’s four-week Working Hunter league and NIF qualifiers. This League is made possible with the following peoples help: judges – Chloe Thompson ans Alistair McDonald; Stewards – Harriet, Lindsey and Samantha. Thanks also to Anna and John of Black Horse Photography for covering the event. All photographs can be viewed and purchased from the Black Horse Photography website.

This league runs every Saturday until July 3 and is open to everyone, especially those wanting to qualify for the NI Festival at Cavan. This event is pre-entry only, with entries taken via Hagans Croft’s website: or you can download and enter through the Hagans Croft App. Entries close each Thursday at 8pm prior to Saturday’s event and start times are posted online on Thursday evenings.

To qualify for the final in week four, each horse/ pony and rider combination must compete in three out of the four weeks and within the same class. Competitors must compete in the final to be eligible for league placings, prizes and the overall league horse and pony Working Hunter Champion and Reserve Champion. Placings will be based on a points system. The final is open to everyone, with a separate prize giving taking place for competitors on the day and league competitors.

To find out more about the league, please contact Gillian on 07849 106453 or go to the website:


Saturday, June 26

Working Hunter League & NIF Qualifiers


Minion Working Hunter Pony Champion: Kezaia Boyce, Errismore Black Log Lady; Minion Working Hunter Pony Reserve Champion: Charlie Watson, Master Casper Boy.

Class A – Cross-Poles: Anna Poots, Henry.

Class B – 40cm: 1) Tabitha Cullen, So Cool; 2) Elizabeth Swift, Eeabrook Isra; 3) Olivia Rodgers, Motivator.

Class C – 50cm: 1) Charlie Watson, Master Casper Boy; 2) Elizabeth Swift, Eeabrook Isra; 3) Ellie Annett, Loughside Pebbles.

Class D – 60cm: 1) Kezaia Boyce, Errismore Black Log Lady; 2) Vivienne Andrews, Sarah’s Pebbles.


Working Hunter Horse Champion: Sarah Brittain, Braeview Little Lion Man; Working Hunter Horse Reserve Champion: Julie Donaghy Simpson, He’s The Lad.

Class 1 – 60cm Working Hunter Horse & Four-year-old Working Hunter Horse NIF: 1) Rachel Conn, Brooklodge April Star; 2) Hannah Ogle, Casements Cavalier; 3) Rachel Freil, Alghan Nipper.

Class 2 – 70cm Working Hunter Horse: 1) Sarah McClay, Ballinglen Romeo; 2) Jessica House, Khalasar; 3) Karen McKee, Ballyellen Royal Hero; 4) Amanda McCullough, Lady braveanna; 5) Sharon Cowan, Rose of Mourne.

Class 3 – 80cm Working Hunter Horse NIF: 1) Karen McKee, Ballyellen Royal Hero; 2) Reah Magee, Mr Dutton; 3) Jessica House, Khalasar; 4) Charlotte McCullough, Lady Zara; 5) Danielle Connolly, Ruby; 6) Sharon Cowan, Rose of Mourne.

Class 4 – 80cm Working Cob: 1) Kate Russell, Toffee Latte.

Class 5 – 85cm Small Working Hunter Horse (not exceeding 158cm) NIF: 1) Aimee McKeown, Russell; 2) Sarah Brittain, Fantastic Mr Fox; 3) Beth Taylor, Mill Yard Bobstar; 4) Jessica House, Tully’s Rebel; 5) Zara Greenfield, Ruby; 6) Ellie Johnston, Moreno VIII.

Class 6 – 90cm Working Hunter Horse NIF: 1) Sarah Brittain, Braeview Little Lion Man; 2) Julie Donaghy Simpson, He’s the Lad.

Class 7 – 1m Working Hunter Horse NIF: 1) Julie Donaghy Simpson, He’s the Lad.


Working Hunter Pony Champion: Eva Kennedy, Candy; Working Hunter Pony Reserve Champion: Chloe McLaughlin, Teddyboy.

Class 9 – 60cm Working Hunter Pony NIF Starter Stakes & M&M: 1) Eva Kennedy, Candy; 2) Charlotte Nelson, Reggie; 3) Kirsten Bailie, Blue; 4) Abbie Knox, Spirit; 5) Jocelyn Hutchinson, Langwedh Miss Saigon; 6) Eva Kennedy, Case.

Class 10 – 70cm Working Hunter Pony NIF Starter Stakes & M&M: 1) Ellie Annett, Litton Hi-Society; 2) Ellie Hynds, Homealone JJ; 3) Charlotte Nelson, Reggie; 4) Kirsten Bailie, Blue; 5) Abbie Knox, Spirit.

Class 11 – 80cm Working Hunter Pony NIF 133cm also M&M: 1) Ellie Hynds, Homealone JJ; 2) Katie Annett, Finians Bambi; 3) Ellie Hynds, Willow; 4) Jessica Rogers, Knockbridge Magic Moments; 5) Ellie Annett, Litton Hi-Society.

Class 12 – 90cm Working Hunter Pony NIF 143cm also M&M: 1) Nadine Gormley, Cois na hAbhainn Trojan; 2) Chloe McLaughlin, Teddyboy; 3) Jessica Rogers, Knockbridge Magic Moments; 4) Alex Watt, Ted; 5) Katie Annett, Finians Bambi; 6) Eva Kennedy, A Little Touch of Pepper.

Class 13 – 1m Working Hunter Pony NIF

153cm: 1) Nadine Gormley, Cois na hAbhainn Trojan.

Bree Rutledge

If you would like to find out more about Horse Week, Bree Rutledge can be contacted by email: or or by telephone: +44 (0) 28 9033 4493.




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