Sunday, September 5, 2021
HomeHorse League‘Fantastic Mr Fox’ claims Working Hunter Champion title at Hagans Croft

‘Fantastic Mr Fox’ claims Working Hunter Champion title at Hagans Croft

SATURDAY, June 19 saw Working Hunter enthusiasts descend onto Hagans Croft Equestrian for the second week of their four-week league. Another jam-packed schedule was on offer, with classes ranging from cross-poles to 1m for both horses and ponies alike, with the option to jump on grass for the minion working hunter ponies and the main sand arena for the bigger classes.

The day started out with the horse classes and 60cm was the first class on the schedule. Whether it was riders’ nerves or the strength of the course, clear rounds were very few – in fact only one clear round in the jumping phase was to be seen and that was Hannah Ogle and ‘Casements Cavalier’, moving up this week to a red ribbon!

Not to be knocked off the top spot, Megan Houston retained first place within the 70cm class on her trusty steed, ‘Craigmount Sparrow’ for the second week. This second win has set Megan up well for league placings. Once again, only four clear rounds were to be seen in a strong 80cm class, Sarah Brittain took the top spot on ‘Breaview Little Lion Man’ and then Sarah also went on to take the top spot in the 85cm Small Hunter class on ‘Fantastic Mr Fox’. The pair finished on a near to perfect score of 97/100, it was therefore no surprise to see them go on to be crowned Horse Working Hunter Champion for their extremely polished performance within the championship show.

Kate Russell and ‘Toffee Latte’ put on a mighty performance to win the 80cm Working cob class and Gill McAreavey riding ‘Marley’ finished clear on a score of 92/100 in the 90cm class, taking the red ribbon home and so too the Horse Working Hunter Reserve Champion for all their efforts throughout the day. Well done to them, all their hard work is paying off!

Tori Farr had an unfortunate refusal in the 90cm class, but before going in to jump the 1m class had a pre-jump pep talk with ‘Tracy’s Hope’, which seemed to pay off as the pair jumped clear and finished on a final score of 89 after their show phase, taking home the red ribbon for the 1m class.

It was very refreshing to see more uptake for the minion classes this week, all of which coped very well on their grass surroundings, taking all the jumps and their show phase in their stride. A special mention goes to those two competitors who stood out for judge Mandy Blakely and who were ultimately crowned minion working hunter champion and reserve champion. Eilis Donnelly and her beautiful palomino ‘Pip’ jumped clear over the 40cm fences to take home the red ribbon and then went on to be crowned Champion of the minion working hunter ponies. Kezaia Boyce made her debut at Hagans Croft riding her home-bred ‘Errismore Black Log Lady’ – it was such a promising start to this pair’s future together, placing first within the minion 50cm and 60cm classes and then going on to take home Reserve Champion of the minion working hunter ponies.

The afternoon saw more attendance of ponies than the previous week, therefore competition was stiff! Charlotte Nelson and ‘Reggie’ jumped a faultless round over the rustic fences and presented a foot-perfect show for judge, Toni Donnelly. They were more than deserving of their red ribbon for the 60cm class.

The 70cm class saw a few problems, with unfortunate poles hitting the ground and runouts – particularly at fence two – but nothing was a problem for Brooke Rice and ‘Stanray Luigi’, who finished clear over the course of 11 fences, attaining top marks for ‘Stanray Luigi’s’ conformation and movement within their ridden show and finishing on an overall score of 96/100. Not only did this superb pairing get first place in the 70cm class, they went on to achieve Reserve Champion of the working hunter ponies – congratulations!

Kelsea Maginnis and ‘Moylough Lady’ put on a strong performance in the 80cm class, coming home with the red ribbon and were delighted to be taking part in the championship show at the end of the day. This pair have never competed at Working Hunter before, but they have certainly got the bug and are excelling, therefore, we hope to see more of them.

Hagans Croft was delighted to see Nadine Gormley and ‘Cois na Habhainn Trojan’ back competing at this venue. This pair have been working hard over lockdown, as they excelled in both their 90cm and 1m classes, coming home with the red ribbon in both. This set the pair up well for the championship show at the end the day, which is judged independently and solely on this ridden performance. Judge Toni Donnelly said it was such a strong ridden show by all, that it was down to the miniscule little faults that only a trained eye could pick up on. The one that stood out the most was Nadine Gormley and ‘Cois na Habhainn Trojan’, who were crowned pony working hunter champion! Well done, organisers hope to see you back for the remaining weeks of the league.

Hagans Croft would like to thank everyone who supported the second leg of Hagan’s Croft’s four-week working hunter league and NIF qualifiers. This League is made possible with the following people’s help: judges – Toni Donnelly and Mandy Blakely; scribe – Katie Donnelly; stewards – Harriet, Lindsey and Samantha. Thanks also to Black Horse Photography for covering the event. All photographs can be viewed and purchased from the Black Horse Photography website.

This league runs every Saturday until July 3 and is open to everyone, especially those wanting to qualify for the NI Festival at Cavan. This event is pre-entry only, with entries taken via Hagans Croft’s website: or you can download and enter through the Hagans Croft App. Entries close each Thursday at 8pm prior to Saturday’s event and start times are posted online on Thursday evenings.

To qualify for the final in week four, each horse/ pony and rider combination must compete in three out of the four 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, June 19

Working Hunter League & NIF Qualifiers


Minion Working Hunter Pony Champion: Eilis Donnelly, Pip; Reserve: Kezaia Boyce, Errismore Black Log Lady.

Class A – Cross-Poles – winners: Jessica Curran, Hightopps Busy Bee; Sofia Taylor, Pepsi Coca Cola.

Class B – 40cm: 1) Eilis Donnelly, Pip; 2) Annabelle Gill, Gracie; 3) Tabitha Cullen, So Cool; 4) Olivia Rodgers, Motivator.

Class C – 50cm: 1) Kezaia Boyce, Errismore Black Log Lady; 2) Charlie Watson, Master Casper Boy.

Class D – 60cm: 1) Kezaia Boyce, Errismore Black Log Lady; 2) Zach Watson, Socks; 3) Vivienne Andrews, Sarah’s Pebbles.


Horse Working Hunter Champion: Sarah Brittain, Fantastic Mr Fox; Reserve: Gill McAreavey, Marley.

Class 1 – 60cm Working Hunter Horse & Four-year-old Working Hunter Horse NIF: 1) Hannah Ogle, Casements Cavalier; 2) Rachel Conn, Brookelodge April Star; 3) Rachel Freil, Alghan Nipper.

Class 2 – 70cm Working Hunter Horse: 1) Megan Houston, Craigmount Sparrow; 2) Sarah Skelton, Ballyneety Quality; 3) Karen McKee, Ballyellen Royal Hero; 4) Sharon Cowan, Rose of Mourne; 5) Jessica House, Khalasar; 6) Sarah McClay, Ballinglen Romeo.

Class 3 – 80cm Working Hunter Horse NIF: 1) Sarah Brittain, Breaview Little Lion Man; 2) Jessica House, Khalasar; 3) Katie Burns, Ruby; 4) Gill McAreavey, Marley; 5) Sharon Cowan, Rose of Mourne; 6) Anna Reid, Duchess.

Class 4 – 80cm Working Cob: 1) Kate Russell, Toffee Latte.

Class 5 – 85cm Small Working Hunter Horse (not exceeding 158cm) NIF: 1) Sarah Brittain, Fantastic Mr Fox; 2) Megan Norton, Hathaway; 3) Ellie Johnston, Moreno VIII; 4) Beth Taylor Mill, Yard Bobstar; 5) Megan Savage, Star Surprise; 6) Gareth Clinghan, Goldsmith Country Ruby.

Class 6 – 90cm Working Hunter Horse NIF: 1) Gill McAreavey, Marley; 2) Julie Donaghy Simpson, He’s the Lad; 3) Tori Farr, Tracy’s Hope; 4) Lucy McGuinness, Duchess.

Class 7 – 1m Working Hunter Horse NIF: 1) Tori Farr, Tracy’s Hope; 2) Julie Donaghy Simpson, He’s the lad; 3) Aimee Webb, Rossy April.


Champion Working Hunter Pony: Nadine Gormley, Cois na Habhainn Trojan; Reserve: Brooke Rice, Stanray Luigi.

Class 9 – 60cm Working Hunter Pony NIF Starter Stakes & M&M: 1) Charlotte Nelson, Reggie; 2) Holly Savage, Mountjoy Lad; 3) Ellie Hynds, Homealone JJ; 4) Lauren Gordon, Sparrow; 5) Abbie Knox, Spirit; 6) Eve Lindsay, Clounamon Silver Princess.

Class 10 – 70cm Working Hunter Pony NIF Starter Stakes & M&M: 1) Rice Stanray, Luigi; 2) Eve Lindsay, Clounamon Silver Princess; 3) Eve Lindsay, Tableybrook Henry; 4) Charlotte Nelson, Reggie; 5) Asya Dixon, Kilmood Lilly; 6) Ellie Hynds, Homealone JJ.

Class 11 – 80cm Working Hunter Pony NIF 133cm also M&M: 1) Kelsea Maginnis, Moylough Lady; 2) Eve Lindsay, Tableybrook Henry; 3) Brooke Rice, Stanray Luigi; 4) Amber Thompson, Lagan Lad; 5) Jessica Rogers, Knockbridge Magic Moments; 6) Megan Cooney, Princess Dusty.

Class 12 – 90cm Working Hunter Pony NIF 143cm also M&M: 1) Nadine Gormley, Cois na hAbhainn Trojan; 2) Chloe McLaughlin, Teddyboy; 3) Jessica Rogers, Knockbridge Magic Moments; 4) Megan Cooney, Princess Dusty; 5) Alex watt, Ted; 6) Eva Kennedy, A little touch of Pepper.

Class 13 – 1m Working Hunter Pony NIF 153cm: 1) Nadine Gormley, Cois na hAbhainn Trojan; 2) Elly-Rose Dixon, Sliabh BÃn Rosie; 3) Nikita Kidd, Adastra on a Whisper; 4) Anna Morrow, Ballyvary Ripple.

Bree Rutledge

If you would like to find out more about Horse Week, Bree Rutledge can be contacted by email: or or by telephone: +44 (0) 28 9033 4493.



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