GRASSROOTS riding club members had a wealth of choices of competition types and venues available to them recently. With numerous places hosting show jumping, those keen on the discipline had ample opportunity to fine tune their performances before heading to the national stage at the AIRC (Association of Irish Riding Clubs) Show Jumping Championships at Mullingar. The calibre of both human and equine athlete at these championships should not be underestimated, so for Tirconaill Riding Club’s Cyndi Graham to finish in the ribbons for the second year in a row was no mean feat. Riding her good horse, ‘Sea French Cavalier’, Cyndi was one of just four riders to finish without jumping faults over a very technical course. Her club-mate Laura Diver also had a good show, but finished just outside the ribbons on her regular mount, ‘Chance’.
Riders who favour the adrenaline buzz of a cross-country course, rather than the coloured poles of an arena, headed for the inaugural Derby show at Ash Hollow Equestrian, near Omagh. This new venue is a superb addition to the local (relatively speaking) amenities. With no expense spared in the construction of the various complexes throughout the parkland, the hosts have succeeded in building a course that offers everything from baby-steps and paddling pools to knee-trembling drops and challenging combinations.
Inishowen Riding Club had a good showing at the Derby show, with Lynne Thompson snaffling the first prize in the 60cm class, while Lauren McLaughlin flew around the 85/90cm to take third place on her rapidly improving ‘Cullion Midnight Blue’. The duo were followed home by Lesley McMorris and Samantha O’Neill, who both enjoyed excellent rounds but were slightly off the time.
With a regional training day around the corner on July 24, Riding Club members will be looking forward to the promise of a day that is always a good split between education and sociable fun. The training day, organised this year by the Donegal Gaeltacht club, is taking place at Maddybenny Equestrian Centre, near Coleraine. This venue was a traditional home for eventing and promises a good variety of challenges for all levels of rider.
Neighbouring club (again speaking relatively), the Border Counties hosted a Derby show on July 17 at Cloncaw Equestrian in Glaslough, which drew a large entry from all around the area. With this opportunity to school around the course, riders will be well set-up for the next leg of the Cloncaw two-phase competition on July 31.
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