THE start of the school year sees a number of summer leagues draw to a close and Donegal riders have been out in force in a number of disciplines over the past couple of weeks. The show jumping fraternity were defending the province’s honour at Necarne Castle, as the All-Ireland inter-provincial finals were held on September 18. The weather made an already superb venue truly idyllic and the county’s riders did their bit to help Ulster secure the winners spot on the podium.
Details of the Donegal riders to contribute to the win are as follows:
COH 1.10m: Tara Brennan (second place).
148 90cm: Nicole Fox (first place).
138 90cm: Alannah Doherty (fourth place), Eabha Brennan (fifth place).
138 80cm: Alannah Doherty (first place), Eabha Brennan (fifth place).
128 70cm: Khloe McLaughlin (fifth place).
128 60cm: Harry Kelly (second place), Tara Ardbuckle (12th place).
The next big date for pony riders who enjoy show jumping is the Northern Indoor Pony Championship, which is being held at Eglinton Equestrian Centre on September 24 and 25. Horse riders have to wait until October 6 to 9 to enjoy their Northern Indoor Championships at the unique venue. The show is always well supported and attracts the very best of Irish riders, giving local enthusiasts an opportunity to see the elite of the sport in action on their doorstep.
On a more local level, Greenacres Equestrian in Convoy are running an autumn jumping league on Wednesday evenings, where riders can stretch their boundaries in a friendly atmosphere. The Torrens family are also gearing up for their big Hallowe’en show on Saturday, October 29. This show is a popular outing for showing enthusiasts and offers classes for every size and type of horse and pony.
The Northern Region of Eventing Ireland wound up its season on September 17 at Finvoy. The final one day event in the region enjoyed ideal ground and weather conditions, allowing for a great atmosphere at the scenic venue. Taking advantage of the recent introduction of training classes open to non-members, Inishowen’s Lauren McLaughlin steered her reliable ‘Bluebell’ into fourth place in the 80cm training class. Kilmacrennan’s Jill McGettigan rode her traditionally bred mare, ‘Watermill Hollie’, into third place in the EI 110 Open class.
The weekend also saw Ireland qualify an eventing team for the upcoming Olympics, with the Irish contingent putting up a spectacular display cross-country at the FEI Eventing World Championships in Pratoni, Italy.
Enjoying the fun of the cross-country and show jumping at the final of Cloncaw Equestrian’s two-phase league were Donegal Gaeltacht members, Ryan McBride and Liz Potter, along with Letterkenny Riding Club’s Rachel Carton.
Both Ryan and Rachel managed to eliminate themselves due to an error of course at the water jump, with both riders merrily taking a route, which the organisers had deemed too challenging for inclusion. Fortunately, they had started the day with enough points on the leader board that they still ended up in the prizes. Ryan took second place in the maxi league, while Rachel managed a creditable fourth. Unfortunately, sat-navs were not part of the prize package! The honour of the Donegal riding club’s was salvaged by Liz, who nailed the win in the mini class aboard her regular partner ‘Clyde’.
The county’s race riders are doing Donegal proud as always, with a regular stream of winners keeping the local lads in the spotlight. Special mention must go to Dylan Browne McMonagle, who rode his first Group 1 winner aboard ‘Al Riffa’ at the Curragh. Opportunities to win races like that don’t come too often and Dylan was delighted to be given the chance by trainer Joseph O’Brien. He followed up with a nice double at Dundalk, with Letterkenny trainer Charlie Moore providing one of the winners in the shape of ‘Coviglia’.
Rathmullan’s Luke McAteer landed a very nice victory on board ‘Thunderbear’ at Fairyhouse. Meath trainer Jack Davison has teamed up with Luke before for success and was happy to leg him up again for the recent win.
Oisin Orr battled hard in Hamilton to push the Richard Fahey trained ‘Installation’ into a last-second dead-heat with the Callum Rodriguez ridden ‘Queenie Rooney’. The judges were unable to split the two horses in the photo finish. Also in the winners enclosure recently was Rathdonnell man, Martin Harley. Picking up the ride on ‘Afterlife’ for the training partnership of John and Thady Gosden, Martin duly pushed out his able mount to win convincingly at Newbury.
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