PONY CLUB CAMP
MONDAY, July 5 saw the start of a three-day camp at Castle Irvine Estate, Necarne Demesne. All ponies and horses stayed over at the beautiful courtyard stables. Unfortunately, due to Covid restrictions, this was a non-residential camp for riders.
It was lovely to be back at Necarne, where participants had use of all facilities, which are second to none. The equine students left Necarne in Spring 2012 and it’s been over 10 years since a Pony Club camp has been there.
26 Seskinore Harriers members attended, ranging in age from four to 17 years old, with their ponies and horses split into six rides. There were mounted rides each day – including flatwork and dressage, polework, gridwork, show jumping, drill riding, cross-country, lunging, road safety and hacking through the fantastic estate.
There was a dressage arena set up in the indoor arena, show jumps in the outdoor arena and organisers were delighted to be able to jump a full course of jumps in the Walled Garden. Parents brought Seskinore’s portable cross-country jumps and these were set on the grass area in front of the castle for cross-country practice; some of the older members were able to use the permanent cross-country jumps on the estate.
Rosie Maguire from Action Mental Health presented an interactive workshop on ‘Our Generation – Growing Up Better, Together, Healthy Me’, where everyone learned about the importance of expressing feelings to friends and that it’s okay to feel unsure sometimes. The workshop was part of the training members are doing towards completing the new Pony Club Wellbeing Achievement badge, which will be tested in the Autumn.
Members also participated in two sessions of stable management each day and were examined on various badges on the last day of camp. Achievement badges gained include feeding, tack cleaning, perfect paddock, mucking out and saddlery. Mini badges gained were poisonous plants, grooming and colours and markings – a total of 56 badges were presented, which is a fantastic achievement.
Older members are working towards the Achievement badge for lunging equipment, which will also be tested later in the summer. They also started coaching training and rapidly discovered coaching is not as easy as coaches make it look!
Camp ran smoothly thanks to a number of people – the Feed Fairies (aka the Williams family) for checking on the ponies each night; Bernie and her catering team for keeping everyone well fed during camp and the staff at Necarne for whom nothing was any trouble.
Thank you to the instructors – Kyle Hayes, Wendy Rowland, Jenny Richardson, Geraldine Porter, William Anderson and Mark Robinson. There were some new instructors this year at camp, but each of them “went down a storm” with their rides.
Thanks should also go to all the supportive committee members and parent volunteers, who helped with set up and dismantling of camp, without whom none of this is possible.
Some quotes from camp
“Being new to the area, Seskinore Harriers has been a fantastic way for us to meet new friends as a family.”
“At Summer Camp, our daughter learned so many new riding skills in a fun and exciting way and made friendships that will last a lifetime.”
“A great Pony Club we are delighted to be part of!”
“Camp was mighty!”
“My instructor told me ‘If it’s in the brain, it’s in the rein!’ I’ll always remember this.”
ROAD RIDER ACHIEVEMENT BADGE
During June, Seskinore Harriers members have been taking part in Road Safety training. This was tested at Pony Club. Congratulations to Annie Kelly, Shauna Murray, Shannon Smyth, Zara Smyth and Alana Teague, who all passed their Road Rider Achievement badge. Well done girls!
Seskinore Harriers received funding from Fermanagh Omagh District Council through their Volunteer Support Recover Fund programme to purchase some First Aid kits to be used at rallies and hi viz vests. Each member and one of their parents were given a hi viz vest for use when hacking on the roads, forests, etc to ensure their safety and allow other road users to see them.
AREA SHOW JUMPING
The Area 17 Show Jumping Championships were held at The Meadows, Lurgan on Friday, July 10.
Kaitlin McCrory had an early start on Friday morning to compete in the Mini Major, Olympia Qualifier. There were 14 competitors and Kaitlin came fourth and was one of only four double clears, so very well done to her.
Elle-Mae McCrory had a great round in a strong PC80cm Regional class as an individual.
The PC90 Novice competition team of Kaitlin McCrory, Ruby Millar and Patrick Williams had some great first rounds, however as a team of only three, picking up a few faults in the second round left them out of the placings. Ruby’s double clear round was one of only 17 on the day in a large class.
Seskinore Harriers’ two 90cm individual competitors, Shauna Murray and Zara Smyth, did very well on their first outing, giving it their all in the speed rounds, but picked up an unfortunate few faults.
The PC100 Inters team of Amy McLaughlin, Kamryn McQuade, Kate Millar and Sophia Williams placed fourth out of 14 teams, with Amy leading the individual competition to near the end, when she was pipped by 0.2 of a second into second place. Sophia Williams also had a fantastic jump off time, with an unfortunate pole down.
Claire Murnaghan, on her young horse, was clear in round one with an unlucky pole in round two.
There was an excellent turn out, team spirit and jumping from everyone – members should be very proud of themselves for representing Seskinore Harriers so well.
The Area 17 Tetrathlon was held at Ballyvannon on July 17 and 18.
Open Girls – Sophia Williams
Intermediate Girls – Charley Love, Amy McLaughlin and Claire Murnaghan
Junior Boys – Patrick Williams
Junior Girls – Mary Kate Rice
Minimus – Stewart Beattie
Beanies – Catherine Beattie
What a weekend Seskinore Harriers members had at Ballyvannon!
There were some fantastic scores in swimming, shooting and running on the Saturday and then great cross-country rounds on the Sunday. The weather conditions over the weekend were very HOT, but everyone rode very well in the challenging weather conditions, over what was a tough cross-country course.
In the Open Girls class, Sophia Williams placed second with the best swim, run and shoot in the Area 17 competition.
The Intermediate girls team placed fourth – Charley Love was second individual, Amy McLaughlin fifth individual and Claire Murnaghan sixth individual. There were some Area 17 discipline bests here too, with Claire having best swim and Amy sharing best shoot.
In the Junior Boys class, Patrick Williams placed first individual out of 19 boys, with the best run of the entire junior boys class and best swim of Area 17 boys.
In the Junior Girls class, Mary Kate Rice, stepping up to the Junior level for the first time, placed seventh individual.
In the Minimus class, Stewart Beattie had a great cross-country on his new pony and ended up eighth individual in another hotly contested class.
In the Beanies class, Catherine Beattie was fifth at her first Area Tetrathlon competition.
Some members were out for the first time at Tetrathlon, with three members on new mounts this year too, so it was a big ask for everyone. To quote Stewart’s mum about their new pony: “‘Jess’ clearly loves XC, she really came alive!”
The Area 17 Eventing Championships were held at Tullymurry on July 25.
PC90 – Kamryn McQuade, Mary Kate Rice
PC100 – Charley Love, Amy McLaughlin, Patrick Williams and Sophia Williams
It was another HOT day at Tullymurry for the Area Eventing. Everyone had a great day and, despite the heat and ground conditions being very hard underfoot, making it tough going for the horses, all riders rode well. There were some very respectable dressage scores, a tough show jumping course with tricky jumps on slopes and a tough cross-country brought some lovely clears, but hitting the time was difficult on the hard ground.
The star of the day was Mary Kate with a double clear on show jumping and cross-country, just picking up a few time faults to add to her dressage score.
Well done everyone and the support teams running about with buckets of cold water!
The Area 17 Dressage Championships at The Meadows, Lurgan on July 31.
Three of Seskinore Harriers’ new members this year decided to give dressage a go and Aoife, Lily and Maria all had a superb day, along with four other riders. Not only were the riders and their ponies superbly turned out, but all rode their tests accurately and with confidence.
Walk Trot – Lily Beatty and Aoife Gallagher
Grassroots – Maria Elliott and Ellie-May Johnston
Novice – Fergal McKinney (fourth place) and Patrick Williams (fifth place)
Intermediate – Fergal McKinney (first place) and Sophia Williams (sixth place)
There were lots of positive comments from the judges.
NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS AND SENIOR REGIONALS
During the Area competitions, members and their ponies qualify to represent their Branch and Area 17 of the Pony Club at the National Championships in Offchurch Bury, England during August. Seskinore Harriers were delighted that members achieved nine qualification spots, covering the range of Dressage, Show Jumping and Tetrathlon. Three Branch members are travelling to compete in the Tetrathlon Championships.
Two members have also been selected to travel to Melton Mowbray, England to represent Northern Ireland at the Pony Club Senior Regionals Tetrathlon competition. The Branch wishes all members travelling a safe and successful trip.
As a small Branch of the Pony Club, Seskinore Harriers are extremely proud of their members, as they participated in each of the Pony Club disciplines offered and represented Seskinore Harriers Branch of the Pony Club with pride at all Area events this summer.
Seskinore Harriers District Commissioners, Karen McIvor and Mandy McQuade, look forward to seeing these pony and rider partnerships as they progress and become stars for the future.