LISBANE Farm was the beautiful setting on a lovely bright day for a Two-Phase Event last Saturday.
Such is the popularity of this fabulous Co. Down venue, that places were booked out four days ahead of the scheduled closing date.
Eric Pele and his team worked miracles creating four superb courses from 1.10m down to 75/80cm, each providing very valuable education for horses and ponies at all stages of their development. There was every conceivable type of fence from ditches, hedges, brushes, palisades, cottages, steps, to water and rivers. Great accolades were afforded to the entire team for a very enjoyable and well organised day, which saw the Covid-19 protocols being tested to great satisfaction.
Denis Currie didn’t have far to travel to claim victory in the 1.10m class, where he jumped both phases clear and just accumulated some cross-country time penalties to his score with ‘Arodstown Aramis’, aka ‘Troy’. Hannah Blakely came in just two points behind with her nine-year-old ‘Clerkenwell’ gelding, ‘Clerkson’.
The 1m class had almost 40 starters, with 17 of those maintaining a clean jumping status across both disciplines. Corey Mawhinney from Castlereagh came top of the list with just 7.6 time penalties on his eventing mare, ‘Lemme Aine’, with which he moved up to the EI100 category at the final event of last season. Nipping at his heels was Holly McClenaghan and ‘Blacklaw Pelorus’, which she partnered to runner up position at the National Eventing Championships last year.
An incredible 86 combinations took on the challenge of the 90cm track with mixed fortunes. Exactly half of these jumped double clear and the well deserved winner, picking up just 3.6 time penalties was Margery Warnock, no stranger to success with her 14-year-old ‘Almiro’ mare, ‘Butterfly Charm’. Margery returned to eventing last year after a lengthy break and the Julie Drysdale-bred mare was the recipient of the Northern Region points award for the EI90 Amateur category last November.
‘Roundthorn Claddagh’, previously campaigned in eventing by Conor O’Hare, took the runner up spot under saddle with 17-year-old Phoebe Beaumont from Bangor. Down High School pupil, Rachael Broome and her eye-catching pony, ‘Cookies n Crème’ came home fractionally behind to take third spot.
Meantime, the anticipation was mounting amongst the 60 competitors in the 75/80cm class, who were literally champing at the bit and raring to go. Many of these combinations were making their first foray into a Two-Phase competition and their excitement both before and after was tangible. Again, almost half completed clear jumping, but even those who didn’t returned to enquire when the next competition was due to take place, a true testimony to the adrenalin rush.
The class winner was 12-year-old Corey McGahan and his fabulous little pony, ‘Hugo’ (‘Snowy’), with which he plans to start eventing next month. Corey has been riding at his grandmother’s Riding School in Newry since he was just two and a half and is now starting to break ponies. This combination, which have been in partnership for almost eight years, is certainly one to keep an eye on in the future.
Slotting into second place, just marginally behind, was 14-year-old Hollie Donnan, who, along with her sister, Lucy, was enjoying her inaugural cross-country experience. Hollie and her pony, ‘Romeo’ (‘Killoughter Nuggett’) are more frequently seen in a show jumping arena, but that will possibly change as they have now caught the eventing bug!
Huge thanks go to the entire team of volunteers, who brought this event to fruition and provided much needed sport to a large section of the equestrian community.
Particular thanks go to the sponsors, namely, Baileys Horse Feeds, Kingsfield Haylage and Kingsfield Equine Veterinary, as well as Leo Pele Farrier Services.
Next up at Lisbane Farm is the Summer Jump Cross Series, which commenced on Tuesday, July 14 and will continue each Tuesday evening throughout the Summer, starting at 6pm with 75cm – please note that pre-entry is required.
Saturday, July 11
1.10m: 1) Denis Currie, Arodstown Aramis; 2) Hannah Blakely, Clerkson; 3) Michael McGaffin, Jimmy; 4) Janie Cairns, Charlie.
1m: 1) Corey Mawhinney, Aine; 2) Holly McClenaghan, Blacklaw Pelorus; 3) Zoe Martin, Hunter; 4) Lucy McIlroy, Pearl; 5) Janie Cairns, Ellie; =6) Jenny Nixon, Harley; Katie McKee, Stevie; Ryan Truesdale, Lowhill Tick Tock.
90cm: 1) Margery Warnock, Butterfly Charm; 2) Phoebe Beaumont, Roundthorn Claddagh; 3) Rachael Broome, Cookies N Crème; 4) Holly McGahan, Mr Grey; 5) Jessica McClements, Mr Murphy; 6) Chloe Thompson, Beechburn Lass.
75/80cm: 1) Corey McGahan, Hugo; 2) Hollie Donnan, Romeo; 3) Victoria Greenaway, Warrior Bob; 4) Lara McRobb, April; 5) Katie Robinson, Als Rough Diamond; 6) Laura Dunlop, Icelantico.