THE Northern Indoor Pony Championships, Eglinton were held from Friday, September 23 until Sunday, September 25 and continue to grow. There were three days of great jumping, with rugs, sashes, cups, trophies and ‘craic’ galore!
This venue was delighted to host the HSI Young Pony classes throughout the weekend and the top three eligible ponies received an additional prize of £175, £125 and £75, with a winning Pony Breeder’s prize of £125.
On Saturday, the classes were also part of the TRI Equestrian Autumn Pony Tour, which meant valuable league points were at stake.
As always, everyone was amazed and delighted by the range and number of prizes awarded during this three-day extravaganza and the committee would like to take this opportunity to all sponsors and everyone that contributed in any way.
Alongside those that sponsored individual classes, other contributions included a bag of horse feed from Strabane Mills and a bag of haylage from Craig Haylage to the winners of each class. Gud Gut Equine supplied a bag of their supplement to the winners of the three Grand Prix classes.
The three open classes on Saturday and the three Grand Prix classes on Sunday all had a Sparkling Equine Trophy presented to the highest placed young pony.
On Sunday, a special ornament was presented to the three winners of the speed classes, courtesy of Sara Margey.
Friday night’s jumping started with a selection of novice classes and the opportunity to introduce some of the younger athletes and ponies to jumping indoors. The classes were well supported and, with a rug presented in each class alongside good prize money, the tone was set for two more days of good competition. With one of the final rugs of the night being won by local athlete Kadie Walsh on ‘Miraculous’, the home crowd departed in great form with everyone happy. Friday’s classes were kindly sponsored by Liam Kelly Haulage, Team Maloney, Breen Concannon Farrier, Erne Communications, Murphy Farms, Castle Irvine and Edna Gamble.
Saturday morning kicked off with the Ritchie and Sandra Nallon sponsored 138 80cm class and seven riders posted double clears. Following on was the Rush Family 138 90cm class, which resulted in 13 double clears. The first timed class was the Protrans Transport and Logistics 138 1m class and, with additional HSI prize money at stake, this provided some excitement with less than two seconds between the top eight ponies. Charlotte McCracken aboard ‘Tynan Rocket’ came home in 28.33 seconds; closely on her heels was Harry Rush in 28.86, one of the many Connaught visiting athletes, aboard ‘Relled the Entertainer’, while third place went to Julia Mulligan on ‘Strawberry Phoenix’ in 28.96. Sophia Bingham’s ‘Little Pretender’ came in as the leading young pony in the HSI section, with Harry Rush on ‘Conazar Jane’ getting the second place and Ella Rush riding ‘Shadow Dash’ coming third.
Next up were perhaps the most anticipated classes of the show, once again sponsored by Ronan McLaughlin Equestrian. The RML Equestrian Newcomers 128 50cm and RML Equestrian 128 60cm classes are the highlight of the season for many of the young competitors. Over 60 combinations jumped in these classes and, with a rug, rosette and goody bag for each competitor, the Eglinton arena and surrounding area was a mass of red rugs and smiling children.
The 128 70cm Weld-Tech and the 128 80cm Scribblers Day Nursery classes followed, with a total of 47 double clears. Competition then moved to the Lakeland Electrical Services NI 128 90cm and the second HSI class of the day, as well as being part of the TRI League, there was all to jump for. Cliodhna McEvoy on the very quick ‘Tynan Tuttle Pip’ took every possible turn to win in the time of 26.80 seconds, with yet another Connaught visitor Edward Walsh (Jnr) filling the runner up spot. The HSI Six/ Seven-year-old prize fund was distributed to first ‘Lellaish Lady Penelope’ (Medbh Kinney); second ‘Standmorslow Shane’ (Ella Cash) and third ‘Pillheath Camellia’ (Cathal McKeon-Devaney).
It was then time for the 148 novice classes. The 148 80cm (KG Haulage), the 148 90cm (LCC Show jumping) and the 148 1m (Bob Sweeney Equine Ltd), which posted a total of 43 double clears and full TRI League points for those combinations.
McFadden Civils 148 1.10m included the HSI incentive programme and was an exciting class to watch, with the lead changing frequently. Leinster athlete Keira McGrath took the opportunity to show her coolness in a jump off and went in and executed a superbly ridden round to post a time of 29.91 seconds on ‘Wildwood Silver’, ahead of Connaught’s Jack Cash aboard ‘Giorgio Armani’ in second and Ulster’s Rianna Mulligan took third on ‘Highlandy Rebel’. Cara McFadden on the six-year-old, ‘Lisgreen Annie’ was the winner of the HSI Six/ Seven-year-old section. Second placed pony was ‘Dowdstown Vic’ with Sophia Bingham and third spot was taken by Jack Cash and ‘Quina Van T’.
The final two classes were the COH/ Jnr horse classes. The 1m class was sponsored by Daniel Scullion Farrier and Ellie Rose Martin, Tara Brennan and Darragh Murphy all posted double clears. The final class of the day was the Dean Bell and family 1.10m class was won by local rider Josie Doherty on her grandfather’s ‘George’ to much applause. Ellie Rose Martin on ‘Beach House’ was second,Tara Brennan was third on ‘Carnone Annabelle’ and Ted Gibson took fourth on ‘Ballylee Captain’.
Sunday’s jumping kicked off with three classes incorporating the HSI initiative and all three allowed the young ponies to be showcased. Justin and Lisa Gilmartin sponsored the 148 1m class and 11 combinations posted double clears. Tara Mellet won the class on ‘Chico De Goariva’, with Scarlett Keys second on ‘Anita’s Lass’. Sparkling Equine’s ‘Prince Sparrow’ ridden by Zara Jane Kelly came in next and also collected the top 148 HSI Four/ Five-year-old prize. Local athlete Aidan O’Brien aboard ‘Killynard Johnno’ jumped a super double clear to earn fourth place overall and collect the HSI prize for the second highest placed young pony.
Eight ponies jumped double clear in the James Gilmartin 138 90cm class, which was also a young pony Four/ Five-year-old HSI class. Joe Cadam on his lovely pony ‘Knockagaron Fear Bui’ took top spot after a well ridden second round, with Charlotte McCracken on ‘Blairmore Knightshade’ close on his heels. Third and fourth places went to Helen Walsh on ‘Burnal Skipper’ and Rebecca Coulter on ‘Sam’s Secret’ respectively. The top placed young pony in this class, coming fifth overall, was ‘Dumfries Funambule Mickeys Pride’, ably ridden by Rebecca Coulter. Sparkling Equine’s ‘Sparkling Boomerang’s Zoffany’ was steered into sixth place and collected the HSI for the second highest place young pony.
The 128 80cm class saw five combinations jumping double clears and was kindly sponsored by Garrity Vehicle Services.
Excitement mounted as the first of the Grand Prix classes started, with a strong field of entries in the Under 10 class. As always, this class was accompanied with lots of shouts of encouragement and cheers. After several changes in leadership, it was the Connaught rider Ella Cash on the very nifty ‘Lucky’, who took home the winning rug and sash. Khloe McLaughlin displayed some excellent riding on the beautifully turned out ‘Phoenix Phantom’ to take the runner up position, much to the delight of the spectators. Third place went to another Connaught athlete Sonny McGovern on the ever-consistent ‘Ballykett Highlander’.
Following on was the 128 Grand Prix, which saw six combinations through to the jump off. Once again it was Cliodhna McEvoy who came to the fore, riding ‘Tynan Tuttle Pip’ to romp home in 27.53 seconds. Ella Cash on ‘Bellismo Spartacus’ was the only other double clear, but with a time of 33.66 had to be content with the runner up spot on this occasion. Elizabeth McCracken was third on ‘Sparkling Drumcaughey Katie’ and fourth on ‘Sparkling Ruby May’. Sarah McLaughlin on Linde Hoeve’s ‘Ricardo’ came fifth, while Helen Walsh on ‘Knockash Lady Bird’ was sixth.
A strong field of combinations in the Wild West 138 Grand Prix meant that everyone was looking forward to a hot class and it did not disappoint. Six athletes jumped clear in the first round, so the jump off was always going to be speedy. Charlotte McCracken showed her determination and sped round on ‘Drumcaughey Diamond’ in a time of 32.93 seconds. Although others rose to the challenge, it was not to be and Charlotte was the worthy recipient of the first place rosette, sash and rug. ‘Conazar Jayne’, ridden by Harry Rush, was runner up in a time of 34.03. Meanwhile, Abbie-Rose McGeady jumped a very stylish double clear aboard ‘Tonabrocky Timmy’ to take third spot. Johan Fitzpatrick Burns made all the turns on ‘Sergant Jack’ to post a fast time, but an unfortunate pole on the ground meant he had to be content with fourth place.
As always, the 148 Grand Prix is one of the main features of championships and this year was no exception, with some riders travelling just for this class. As expected with the standard of entrants in the class, the 148 GTG Biogas Grand Prix proved to be an excellent class to watch. Eight combinations went through to the jump off, with Katie Nallon and Kiera McGrath going in double-handed. Only two combinations jumped clear in the speed round. Kiera McGrath on ‘Lough Key Camouflage’ was second in this class last year and she rode a super speed round to better this result by winning this year’s class. Second was Kym Moore, who jumped superbly to post the only other double clear on ‘Drumcashel Little Legend’. Katie Nallon on ‘Keredern Rosscastle Gilbert’ made the time, but had an unlucky pole, so was placed third.
After the Grand Prix classes, there were three speed classes, which kept everyone’s enthusiasm for excitement catered for. The Leading Rider Prize was still very open, so points in these classes had added value.
In the 128 90cm class kindly sponsored by MGM Custom Clearance, it was the girls who took the top three places. Cliodhna McEvoy aboard the ever-consistent ‘Tynan Tuttle Pip’ took the win and yet another red rug. Cara Garrity was runner up on ‘Goldie Locks’ and Elizabeth McCracken on ‘Shanvally Lily’ was third. Then came the Walsh siblings, Edward was fourth on ‘Ivoryheights Ella’, while Helen was fifth on ‘Carra Peppa’. Cliodhna also took sixth spot on ‘Romeo’.
Zara Jane Kelly dominated the Chestnut Hill Clinic 138 1m Speed class, coming first on ‘Future Memories’; third on ‘50 Shades’ and fourth on ‘Sparkling Taylor Maid’. Only Charlotte McCracken denied her a clean sweep by coming second on ‘Tynan Rocket’. Ciara Cash on ‘Hero CA’ came fifth, while a local competitor Zoie Dobbins on ‘Derryvane Truffles’ finished her show in sixth place.
The final class of the show was The Foot Clinic, Fintona’s 148 1.10m Speed class and even then the atmosphere was still good, with lots of encouragement from the stands. Zara Jane Kelly continued her winning ways and collected the final red rosette and rug of the day on ‘Romabout’. The next four places all went to Connaught athletes, but it was another local girl Josie Doherty on ‘Millparks Silver Rascal’, who got the sixth place rosette with lots of cheers from the audience.
With much anticipation, the show concluded with the Overall Leading Rider accolade going to Zara Jane Kelly, who along with a mass of sashes, rosettes, rugs, prizes and prize money had to transport her final prize, which was a fabulous jump, kindly sponsored by AGON Ltd., all the way back to Fintona.
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