BORDER Counties Riding Club won the Team Eventing title for the third time last Sunday at the TRI Equestrian Association of Irish Riding Clubs’ (AIRC) National Eventing Championships after previous wins in 2016 and 2011.
10 teams, from seven regions, declared for the national club championship, which took place at Lisgarvan House just outside Ballon, Co. Carlow, where the best three scores counted towards the team total.
It was a close contest, with just 0.2 penalties separating the top two teams, with the honours on this occasion going to Border Counties on 85.0 penalties with last year’s winners, Carne Riding Club, in second place on 85.2.
Caroline McQuillan, who was a member of the previous two winning teams for Border Counties, provided the team’s lowest score in the open championship, where the Glaslough resident completed the day on her dressage score of 22.8 on ‘Foxtail Orchid’.
Club secretary Gemma Kelly was next best for the team on 29.3 after ‘Old Orchard’s Greg’ picked up four penalties over the coloured poles. Laura Murphy Finn (‘Setanta Express’) provided the other counting score of 32.9, after the Glaslough resident also picked up four penalties in the show jumping phase.
Newcomer Elizabeth Thompson wasn’t far off the target, as ‘Westhill Archie’ completed the three phases on her dressage score of 34.1.
Border Counties chairperson, Dean O’ Neill said: “The TRI Equestrian Eventing Championships is a major highlight in the club’s event calendar each year, as our members work hard and are dedicated to their sport throughout the year.”
“The success of the team comes from loyal and seasoned members, Caroline McQuillan and Laura Murphy Finn – both who have been on many of our winning teams down through the years. Their positivity and love of the sport encourages many new members to join our club and be part of winning teams, where we had Gemma Kelly on her second team and Liz Thompson competing at the championships for the first time. On behalf of the club, I would like to thank the AIRC and all at Lisgarvan House for a great event,” he added.
Last year’s winners, Carne Riding Club, claimed the runners-up place on 85.2 penalties, just 0.2 penalties off the winning total, in what was one of the closest contests in the history of the team championship.
Karen Feleki was the star performer of the day, as the Carne rider finished on 19.3 after picking up four penalties over the coloured poles on ‘Archibald Wells’. Lean O’Connor (‘Diamond Minty Fresh’) added two time penalties in the show jumping to finish on 31.9, while Lisa Whitehead provided the remaining score of 34.0 after ‘Ballyell Little Jim’ also lowered a pole in the show jumping. Katie Stafford provided the discard score after the Murrintown resident encountered difficulties in the show jumping phase.
Ballycanew Riding Club claimed third place on 102.8, with Corrib (108.4) in fourth place, ahead of Barrow Valley (111.6) and Mill Road (113.4) completing the top six teams.