Hot competition on a cool autumn day.

A hurried run by Marina to collect some of our club safety cups for the course at Twin Towns Equestrian Centre resulted in a slightly delayed start to the second leg of the North West Riding Clubs but once things got underway they ran smoothly. Our club members did us proud in the catering department and anyone who went home hungry can only have themselves to blame. With Enda on the mike, and Cormac judging, the classes flew through, helped by riders being prompt in their arrival at the ringside in time for their rounds.

The primary division is tied up by Grace Rodgers of the Inishowen club. Inishowen are very strongly represented at the lower divisions, having two competitors at the crosspole height too. Advanced primary competition is hot at the moment and again Inishowen are currently in pole position with Lynne Thompson on 13 points. The title is by no means in the bag though as its always possible for a rider to have an off-day and our own Regina Toland is not without hope in the division. Continuing their control of the league at the moment Inishowen are also in the lead in the Intermediate division, despite Cliff Haley bringing honor to Letterkenny at Twin Towns. This division is very open at the moment and will be down to a nail biting final in Templemore on the 25th. The advanced intermediate saw Stracomer’s Derek O’Kane put in a foot perfect performance to reverse the previous legs placings as Rachel had a pole down to take second, ahead of Courtney Greene of TirConail. With very few open riders in the region it was good to see our own Shauna Boyle back in the arena and nipping second place behind Cassandra McGee of the Donegal Gaeltacht club. Cassandra has inched ahead of Bruce Vial in this height division, but with Shauna back in the game it will all come down to the wire at the final.

Many thanks to everyone who helped out on the day in any capacity. The show went off very well despite being in a different venue to usual. A special mention must be made about the catering. A basket was left for people to make a donation to cover the food and drink and it has to be said that the North West Riding Clubs members are a very honorable bunch as the basket was certainly used during the day and people obviously considered the canteen worth supporting. Thanks everyone.

The league final is back in Templemore Equestrian Centre on November 25th (the day after the Donegal Harriers meet at Peter Smyths!). We hope to see a big turnout of both riders and supporters. Remember that riders are expected to wear correct competition clothing at the final and to show due respect for their clubs by turning out their horses to a high standard.

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Club roots strong as ever

Our AGM in Tir Na nOg was as enjoyable and sociable as always, with enough pizza to feed a small army and a desert of Cadburys Roses to round off the feast. Unfortunately Hazel was on sick leave but Louise was more than capable of filling in for her, taking copious notes and minutes. Marina ran through a report of the year past, pointing out just how much we had done over the last twelve months. A couple of events were missed in her report, but only because she relied on this website for her information…a hit and miss source of details at the best of times!!

It is testament to how easy going and pleasant our club members are when all of the committee members were quite happy to agree to continue in their present positions for a second year, making the proposing and seconding of elected positions very painless. The only change on the committee (I think) is that Rachel is now assistant chairperson, while Cormac took on the position of equipment-manager in addition to his role as regional delegate for the club. Maura steps into the role of child welfare officer, a role she’ll hopefully find less troublesome than the one of treasurer (not that she has shirked her responsibility in that department either).

Some discussion was given to the running of the next leg of the autumn league. It is being held at Twin Towns Equestrian Centre and our club is responsible for the running of it. One subject which was broached was the lack of a canteen at the venue and it was agreed that, as Stracomer and Tir Conall riding clubs had put on an impressive spread at the opening leg at Templemore, our club was honour bound to show due hospitality and we are asking all members to produce some tasty donations for the banquet table on Sunday. Whether you are a dab hand at the baking, or prefer to whip up a few rounds of good wholesome sandwiches, be assured your efforts will be truly appreciated. As usual the competitions kick off at 11am, and entries are accepted from 10.30, but obviously we need some hands on deck beforehand to ensure the place is ship shape and everything is in place for a smooth and, of course, safe show. Please contact Marina if you have a time or task which you are or are not available for.

Louise reassured us all that the plans for the annual dinner dance are well in hand, with the Villa Rose confirmed as the venue and a mulled wine reception to welcome us on the night. Remember that the dinner dance doubles up as the awards night for North West Riding Clubs leagues and is the night on which the Club of the Year is announced, so be sure to practice your ‘surprised but delighted’ face as well as the ‘I’m truly delighted for him/her’ face.

The evening was rounded off by the reading of the various nominations for both club horse of the year and club member of the year. The combination of Merlin and Rachel pulled off a double by being awarded both trophies after having what can only be described as a dream year at riding club events. Merlin was unable to be present to accept his award but Rachel agreed to pass it on to him at a suitable time in the future…when his medication has been increased and his psycho-therapist is on standby!

AGM @ 8pm, in Tir Na nOg, Fri 2nd Nov.

Preparing for 2019

With Marina’s epic Corinthian Challenge behind us we can tick what looked like an equally memorable day at Leopardstown Races off the club bucket list and settle down for a winter of total content!

Our club AGM is at 8pm on Friday 2nd of November, in a venue as yet to be confirmed. As well as looking back over the year past it will be an opportunity to start planning for the coming season. One item which will pop up on the agenda is the fact that a large percentage of us will need to supply new passport photos for our 2019 membership cards.

AIRC members and club secretaries are advised that any passport image supplied for a membership that is over 5 years old will no longer be retained on file. This means that any member who has provided an image that is now over five years will not be available for 2019 and the member will have to provide a new image.

This is due to new data protection guidelines since the introduction of General Data Protection Regulations which came into force earlier this year and this is expected to affect many members in 2019 when they go to renew their membership.

Members and club secretaries are encouraged to supply new passport images in the coming weeks to ensure there are no additional delays in 2019 due to no image being on file. Please ensure that your image is in colour and that you follow these guidelines from the Department of Foreign Affairs:

Hopefully our AGM venue will have a suitable bit of a wall against which we can stand while Hazel merrily snaps our images.

As always we will have our own club awards for both member of the year and horse of the year. Your nominations for these positions should be given to Damian, ideally before friday, and if you can include the reasons for your choices all the better Give him a bell or drop him a text on 087 7631911.

And we’re off…pardon the pun

The opening leg of the North West Riding Clubs autumn league kicked off under idyllic conditions. The weather was superb, the courses were fair and, apart from battery issues with the timer, everything ran like clock work. Our club had slightly depleted numbers at the league as some regular competitors had been out on the charity ride out yesterday and chose not to jump two days in a row. The riders that turned up did us proud and got the club off to a good start. The full results are given below

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Whilst I’m not generally fond of blowing my own trumpet I reckon that my little hoss deserves top marks for carrying me to a win in my first ever Advanced Intermediate class, despite carting me most unceremoniously at the ride out yesterday. And I can even provide video evidence of the successful jump off round

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Fast women and slow horses

The final race in the Corinthian Challenge series takes place in Leopardstown on Saturday 27th October. Marina is currently in pole position for winning the series title but regardless of how fast she is on the day (or how slow her gallant steed may be) it promises to be a most enjoyable day at what is one of the nicest racetracks in Ireland. Needless to say a club outing has been arranged to support our resident jockey and anyone planning on travelling will be up to date on accommodation arrangements. Even if you aren’t able to do the overnight trip it would be great if you could make it up on the day to cheer Marina on.

Remember there is a charity ride-out from Porthall this Saturday in aid of Marina’s fund raising. The weather forecast for Saturday is promising mild and overcast, but dry, so why not enjoy a sociable outing in a good cause?

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Anyone feel a shopping spree coming on??

It’s official

Our annual North West Riding Clubs autumn league is officially launched. With just eleven days to fine tune your showjumping skills (or at the very least to dust off your memory of what showjumping is) I’m sure the excitement will be building. Details are available on the promotional poster below.

The day before the first leg of the league is the Donegal Harriers pre-season charity rideout at Herby Lusby’s lovely Porthall. Proceeds are in aid of the Irish Injured Jockeys fund, which Marina Hamilton has been working tirelessly for. In her own words, Marina says “I want to make a difference. I’m inspired by the work of the Irish Injured Jockeys and wanted to support them by raising money as part of my participation in The Corinthian Challenge”.

Adults €25. U18s €15.

Food will be served afterwards in “Maggies”. All jumps are optional and everyone is welcome to come along. Take part in a leisurely ride, meet a few of the hounds & help raise funds for a worthwhile cause. The rideout starts at 12.00 midday.

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2-Phase league results and life moving forward…

Many thanks to Liz et al for the top class score keeping over the past league. The final results are as follows

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Moving on into the autumn we have a few good events to look forward to. On the 20th of October the Donegal Harriers are running a ride out from Maggie’s Bar, Porthall/St. Johnston area, in aid of Marina’s Corinthian challenge. All proceeds from the race season go to the Irish Injured Jockeys Fund and, as a mother of two jockeys, I can assure you it is a very worthy cause. There will be optional jumps on the day and it should be very sociable.

Sunday 21st October sees the start of the North West Riding Clubs autumn showjumping league at Templemore Equestrian Centre. This league is our last chance to turn out in force and whip the other club’s asses so let’s see some concerted effort….which will be amply rewarded at the annual dinner dance at the Villa Rose hotel, Ballybofey, on Dec 1st.