THE Northern Indoor Pony Championships held at Eglinton Equestrian Centre over the weekend of Friday, September 24 to Sunday, September 26, did not disappoint. There were three days of great jumping, with fantastic prizes of rugs, sashes, cups and trophies galore.
Elizabeth McCracken won the lion’s share of the prizes on offer at Eglinton and, consequently, earned the title of ‘Leading Rider’ of the show. Elizabeth had an incredible weekend and needed help to load her haul of prizes into the lorry to go home!
The Leading Rider prize was kindly sponsored by the Belmont House Hotel and Elizabeth was the envy of many on winning the fabulous prize.
The action started on Friday with a selection of novice classes and the opportunity to introduce some of the younger ponies to jumping indoors. The classes were well supported and, with a rug being presented in each class alongside good prize money, the tone was set for two more days of great competition. Friday’s classes were kindly sponsored by Eamonn McEvoy and Co., Breen Concannon Farrier, Andrew Thompson and family, Thyolo Equestrian, Dunlop horse transport, Murphy farms and Edna Gamble.
The classes on Saturday were also part of the TRI Equestrian Autumn Pony Tour, which meant valuable league points were at stake.
Saturday morning kicked off with the Children on Horses (COH)/ Junior (JNR) 1 metre (Daniel Scullion) and 1.10m (Dean Bell and family) classes and a nice flowing course produced nine double clears in the 1 metre and a good jump off in the 1.10m/ 1.20m class, which Ava Stubbs won aboard ‘Morning de la Bouverie’, with Catherine Buchanan on ‘Loughshore Light of Touch’ in second place.
The KG Haulage 148 80cm, LCC Show jumping 148 90cm and James Gilmartin Sports 148 1m classes produced a total of 32 double clears, which meant valuable league points, as well three rugs distributed and £450 shared out!
AGAINST THE CLOCK
The 148 1.10m class was sponsored by Fintona Foot Clinic and was the first timed class of the day and provided local rider Ben Walsh the opportunity to show his coolness in a jump off. Ben was first to go on ‘Derryvane Belle’ and set what everyone thought was an excellent time of 35.14 seconds, however, second draw Jenny Dunlop on ‘Keatingstown Hunky Dory’ came in and, with a well planned and executed round, went into pole position in 32.56 seconds. Jenny held on to the lead for a long time, until Ben Walsh returned to the ring on the dun stallion ‘Springfield Oliver’ to make some unbelievable turns to knock off the beam at 30.31 seconds. Final placings were Ben Walsh first on ‘Springfield Oliver’, Jenny Dunlop second on ‘Keatingstown Hunky Dory’, Cara McFadden third on ‘Kilfenora Maddie’ (33.05), Lucy McCann fourth on ‘GV Fred’ (34.96), Ben fifth on ‘Derryvane Belle’ (35.14) and Oliver Doherty slotted into sixth place on ‘Springhill Premiere’ (36.11).
The 138cm 80cm Tempo Stables class and the Victoria McKinney 138 90cm class were jumped next and a total of 10 combinations posted double clears in the classes. A further two rugs and £300 was presented to happy children.
The second timed class of the day was the McFadden Civils Ltd. 138 1m class and, once again, a well planned jump off with a range of options led to a good bit of excitement and a lot of cheering. First in, Charlotte McCracken on ‘Tynan Rocket’ had a fast jump off time of 31.32 seconds with an unfortunate four faults – but she had given her competition an indication of the speed required and they all rose to the challenge.
After much chopping and changing of positions, the final placings were in first place, Charlotte McCracken on her second pony ‘Drumcaughey Diamond’, double clear in a time of 31.98 seconds; second place went to Harry Rush on ‘Conazar Jayne’, double clear in 32.53; with third place also double clear, Katie McGrath on ‘Caoimhes Robyn of Old Road’ in 33.10.
The fastest time of the class was fourth placed Connie McFadden on ‘Drumlin Lady’, who romped home in 30.04 seconds, however they had an unlucky pole on the ground in the jump off. Fifth place was Charlotte McCracken on ‘Tynan Rocket’ and, in sixth was Jack Cash on ‘Seale’s Exchequer’, with four faults in a time of 31.86.
Next up were perhaps the most anticipated classes of the show, the RML Equestrian Newcomers 128 50cm and RML Equestrian 128 60cm classes. A total of 30 combinations jumped in these classes and, with a rug, rosette and goody bag for each competitor, the Eglinton arena and surrounding area was awash with red rugs and very happy children!
The 128 70cm class, kindly sponsored by Scribblers Day Nursery and the Bob Sweeney Equine 128 80cm class followed and, with 11 double clears in the 70cm class and 15 double clears in the 80cm class, there was much experience gathered for both riders and ponies. A further two rugs went to two lucky riders as part of their prizes.
The final class of the day was the Chestnut Hill Clinic 128 90cm class and this class was dominated by Elizabeth McCracken, who just kept getting faster and faster on her three ponies, with only Helen Walsh on ‘Knockash Lady Bird’ in second place, denying her a clean sweep. Elizabeth took first place on Uquam d’Emery, third and fourth on Sparkling Equine’s ‘Sparkling Drumcaughey Katie’ and ‘Sparkling Ruby May’ respectively. Fifth was Kaitlin McCrory on ‘Cool Addiction’ and sixth was Cara Garrity on ‘Goldie Locks 11’.
After a blustery night, everyone was up bright and early for Sunday’s jumping, which started with the 148 1m class, kindly sponsored by Justin and Lisa Gilmartin. Rachel McGrath on ‘Aherlow Boy’ was the winner of the first rug of the day in a time of 27.53. Second place went to local girl, Josie Doherty on ‘Millparks Silver Rascal’ in 32.02, with Jack Cash third on ‘Giorgio Armani’.
The Protrans Transport and Logistics 138 90cm class followed with 12 double clears. Then 11 combinations jumped double clear in the 128 80cm class, kindly sponsored by the Rush family.
Then it was time for the featured events of the day, the four Grands Prix, which were also part of the TRI Equestrian Autumn Pony Tour and the tension was mounting…
The MGM Customs Clearance 128 Under 10 Grand Prix was dominated by Ella Rush from Sligo, who took the top two spots, well ahead of the competition. Ella won on ‘Dutch Lady’ in 31.20 seconds and was second on ‘King Of Rock and Roll’ in 31.50 seconds. Next up was her neighbour from home, Cathal McKeon-Devaney on ‘Colour Me Perfect’ in 34.55. Eunan Kelly on ‘Tynwydd Alun’ was fourth, Ella Cash on ‘Lucky’ was fifth and Blathnaid Murphy on ‘Whiskey Jack’ was sixth.
Next up to the challenge were the competitors in the MK Surface Treatment Ltd 128 1m Grand Prix and once again there was lots of excitement and baited breath, as hair-raising turns were made! After a quick and calculated round, Harry Rush on ‘Bellismo Spartacus’ matched his sister’s earlier success by taking the win with the only double clear. Elizabeth McCracken had taken all the turns and was much quicker, but an unfortunate four faults meant she had to be content with runner up position. Abbie-Rose McGready on ‘Mirdads Babysitter’ slotted into third place, much to the delight of her home crowd. Elizabeth McCracken was fourth on ‘Sparkling Ruby May’. Two other local riders took fifth and sixth, Sarah McLaughlin on ‘Leo the Lionheart’ and Sara Margey on ‘Aladdin’ respectively.
The 138 Argon Ltd Grand Prix was very competitive from the outset, with Charlotte McCracken on ‘Tynan Rocket’ jumping double clear in a fast time of 36.00 seconds to set the standard. Calum Pearson on ‘Lackaghmore Frishow’ came close when he posted a double clear in 36.50. Then Charlotte returned to the ring on ‘Drumcaughey Diamond’ and did what the others couldn’t seem to do – she beat her own time and left all the poles up! Zara-Jane Kelly on ‘Future Memories’ entered the arena full of determination and, with a well executed plan and lots of encouragement from the sidelines, scorched around the jump off at full speed with some incredible turns to knock nearly four seconds off Charlotte’s time to win the class! Final placings were first Zara-Jane, second and third Charlotte, fourth Calum and fifth Emma Burns on ‘Ardnacashel Little Dreamer’, with the only other double clear. Jack Cash on ‘Seale’s Exchequer’ was sixth with a fantastic time of 33.21, but with four faults.
148 GRAND PRIX
As expected with the standard of entrants in the class, the 148 GTG Biogas Grand Prix proved to be an excellent class to watch. Seven riders posted double clears and it was won by Jenny Dunlop on ‘Keatingstown Hunky Dory’, who rode a calm and calculated jump off in a time of 33.56 seconds. Kieara McGrath, aboard the stylish ‘Lough Key Camouflage’, was second in 34.90 seconds, while Cara McFadden steered the scopey ‘Infinity’ round the track in 34.94. Oliver Doherty was fourth on ‘Springhill Premier’, while Beth Thompson took fifth on ‘Honey Money’ and sixth place on ‘Romabout’.
After the Grand Prix classes, there were three speed classes, which kept everyone’s enthusiasm for excitement catered for.
In the 128 90cm class, kindly sponsored by Garrity Vehicle Services, it was the girls who took the top three places. Elizabeth McCracken aboard the ever-consistent ‘Uquam d’Emery’ took the win and yet another red rug. Abbie-Rose McGeady was runner up on ‘Mirdads Babysitter’ and Helen Walsh on ‘Knockash Ladybird’ was third. Then came the boys, Eunan Kelly on ‘Tynwydd Alun’ was third, Edward Walsh on ‘Creeduff Belinda’ was fifth and Edward was also sixth on ‘Ivoryheights Ella’.
Charlotte McCracken dominated the Richie and Sandra Nallon 138 1m Speed class, coming first on ‘Tynan Rocket’ and second on ‘Loughfern Rob Reflection’. Caitlin Kelly give it a good try and was third on ‘50 Shades’. Fourth was Katie McGrath on ‘Caoimhes Robyn of Old Road’, Emily Maneely on ‘Rosie’ was fifth and Calum Pearson on ‘Lackaghmore Frishow’ was sixth.
The final class of the show was the Erne Communications 148 1.10m Speed and, even then the atmosphere was still good, with lots of encouragement from the stands.
John Kirrane on his super young pony ‘Tyson’s Little Clover’ claimed the final win and final rug of the show. Connor Gilmartin was a very close second aboard ‘Castlelawn Holly’, with Rachel McGrath on ‘Aherlow Boy’ taking third. John Kirrane, who was last to jump on ‘Holmestead Saddlery Prada’, cruised round for fourth place, while Catherine Buchanan took fifth on ‘Sir Henry’. Local lad Ben Walsh finished his show by taking sixth place on ‘Springfield Oliver’.