Family affair at Hagans Crofts Working Hunter competition

Hagans Croft WH BR Farm
1M WINNER: Laura Napier and ‘Margie Mac’ won the 1m class at Hagans Croft and was awarded the Reserve Champion title. (FW39-556NN)

AS the clean up operation following Storm Ali continued, Hagans Croft’s first leg of their five-week working hunter league got underway. And, just as luck would have it, the sun came out for the event on Saturday, September 22, where the day started out with the pony/ junior section. The entries may have been small (two), but the competition was mighty within the 60cm class. With a clear score in their jumping phase, Kaitlyn Kearns and ‘Doohay Bandit’ claimed the red ribbon. With an unfortunate one pole down, it was the blue ribbon for Katie Donnelly and ‘Cash’.

The 70cm class proved more popular and once again it was a clear round for Kaitlyn Kearns, this time on her grey gelding ‘Tubbervale Jacob’ claiming the red ribbon. Katie Donnelly and ‘Cash’ jumped a super clear round and after their show phase came an extremely close second.

HORSE CHAMPION: Claire Smyth and ‘Tilly’s Comet’ had a great day at Hagans Croft, winning both the 80cm and 90cm classes, before claiming the Horse Championship. (FW39-555NN)

Zara Smyth and her beautiful dun gelding ‘Killucan Boy’ came first in the 80cm class, followed by Emmalee Turley and her new mount ‘Dooey’. Susie Thompson and ‘Dun Surprise’ had it in the bag within the 90cm and 1m classes, finishing on the highest scores of the day and being awarded the red ribbon within both classes.

The morning session finished off with the championship show, where all competitors who were placed first and second within all five classes came back into the arena to claim the title of pony champion and pony reserve champion of the day. Susie Thompson was over the moon with ‘Dun Surprise’, as they stepped forward to receive pony Champion and so too was Kaitlyn Kearns on ‘Tubbervale Jacob’ to receive pony Reserve Champion on the day.

After lunch, it soon became clear that Saturdays event was turning out to be quite the family affair. It was now the chance for the mums to show their daughters how it was done! The first mum to ride out within the 70cm class was Barbara Kearns on ‘Kitty’, jumping clear in phase one and finishing third after their show phase. Antoinette and Keva Milligan was another mother, daughter combination to ride out together on Saturday, where Antoinette and ‘Kings Appraisal’ were awarded second place for their efforts. First place went to Nicola Stuart and ‘Clonkeen Cheeky Charmer’, who rode a fantastic clear round and show piece in front of judge Nicola Martin.

The 80cm NIF qualifier class was dominated by the mother, daughter combos. Zara was cheering her mum Claire Smyth on, as she rode ‘Tilly’s Comet’ into first place, while Katie cheered her mum Antonia Donnelly and ‘Majestical Fox’ in second place. Una Megoran rode her coloured gelding into third place, whilst Sarah looked on as her mum Victoria Craig rode ‘Rocky’ into fourth.

The next class was an 80cm NIF small hunter qualifier, with Nicola McLoughlin and ‘Killarn PG’ coming home with first place, followed by Antonia Donnelly and ‘Majestical Fox’ bringing home the blue rosette.

The 90cm NIF qualifier class saw some strong competition, however, luck was on Claire Smyth’s side and both she and ‘Tilly’s Comet’ were awarded another red ribbon for their efforts. This time it was blue for Nicola McLoughlin and ‘Killarn PG’.

Laura Napier and ‘Margie Mac’ took on the challenging 1m course, with just one pole down nothing could dampen their spirits as the red ribbon set them up well to enter into the championship.

The championship welcomed all the first and second place competitors over all six horse classes on the day to enter in with a chance of being awarded overall Horse Champion and Reserve Champion. Judge Nicola Martin had a very hard decision to make, however, two horses stood out for her. The Champion horse was awarded to Claire Smyth on ‘Tilly’s Comet’ and Reserve Champion, Laura Napier on ‘Margie Mac’. Congratulations to both competitors!

Hagans Croft would like to thank everyone who supported this first leg of Hagan’s Croft’s five-week working hunter league and horse NIF qualifiers. This League is made possible with the following people’s help: course builder – Toni Donnelly; judge – Nicola Martin; scribe – Pat Martin; stewards – Carol and Lindsey. Thank you to the league sponsors: The Ainseed Lounge, The Spoilt Horse Company and Black Horse Photography for sponsoring and covering the event.

This league runs every Saturday until October 20 and is open to everyone, especially those wanting to qualify for the NI Festival at Cavan. Please note, there is an Early Bird pre-entry fee of £12 per class, with an On the Day entry fee of £15 per class (on the day, competitors entering two or more classes will receive £2 discount). Pre-entries close on the Thursday at 12 noon prior to Saturday’s event. Blackboard order will apply on the day.

To qualify for the final in week five, each horse/ pony and rider combination must compete in three out of the five 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, September 22

Ponies / Juniors

Champion: Susie Thompson, Dun Surprise; Reserve Champion: Kaitlyn Kearns, Tubbervale Jacob.

Class 1 – 60cm: 1) Kaitlyn Kearns, Doohat Bandit; 2) Katie Donnelly, Cash.

Class 2 – 70cm: 1) Kaitlyn Kearns, Tubbervale Jacob; 2) Katie Donnelly, Cash; 3) Emmalee Turley, Dooey; 4) Sarah Craig, Jasper; 5) Zara Smyth, Killucan Boy.

Class 3 – 80cm: 1) Zara Smyth, Killucan Boy; 2) Emmalee Turley, Dooey.

Class 4 – 90cm: 1) Susie Thompson, Dun Surprise.

Class 5 – 1m: 1) Susie Thompson, Dun Surprise.

Horses / Seniors

Champion: Claire Smyth, Tilly’s Comet; Reserve Champion: Laura Napier, Margie Mac.

Class 2 – 70cm: 1) Nicola Stuart, Clonkeen Cheeky Charmer; 2) Antoinette Milligan, King’s Appraisal; 3) Barbara Kearns, Kitty; 4) Una Megoran, Ace; 5) Megan Houston, Rowan; 6) Hannah Ogle, Starlight Express.

Class 3 – 80cm NIF WH qualifiers 2018: 1) Claire Smyth, Tilly’s Comet; 2) Antonia Donnelly, Majestical Fox; 3) Una Megoran, Ace; 4) Victoria Craig, Rocky; 5) Barbara Kearns, Kitty.

Class 4 – 80cm NIF Small Hunter qualifiers 2018: 1) Nicola McLoughlin, Killarn PG; 2) Antonia Donnelly, Majestical Fox; 3) Sophie Cowan, Tempo Quick Step; 4) Keva Milligan, Laurelvale Rose.

Class 5 – 90cm NIF WH qualifiers 2018: 1) Claire Smyth, Tilly’s Comet; 2) Nicola McLoughlin, Killarn PG; 3) Caroline Hunter, Indie.

PONY CHAMPION: Susie Thompson and ‘Dun Surprise’ won both the 90cm and 1m classes at Hagans Croft before securing the Pony Championship. (FW39-554NN)

Class 6 – 1m NIF WH qualifiers 2018: 1) Laura Napier, Margie Mac.


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