Two weeks can seem like a lifetime for anybody looking forward to a leg of the North West League. On Sunday the wait proved worth it, as always, and Show 2 of the series was a wonderful success. The number of trailers and lorries already squarely parked by 11 o’clock sharp was a fair indication of the level of interest this league generates.
From Letterkenny’s point of view the highlight was the number of new members out enjoying the competition. Early in the day Denis Kelly’s excellent effort in his very first competitive round was a huge achievement, both for Denis and his lovely but inexperienced mare. There’ll be many more such days to come but the first will stick in the memory.
Joanne McBride got her competitive riding club career off to a very eye-catching start with a lovely training round followed by a very accomplished competition round. Likewise, newcomer Laura McGowan rode a really super round on her lovely big cob. And our newest of new members, Tommy McGettigan — hardly a week in the club — rode the incomparable Armstrong to a nonchalant victory in the Intermediate class. At least it was nonchalant for Armstrong — Tommy was practically in need of oxygen after his first competitive experience on one of the club’s heroes.
There was a short delay in proceedings following Julie O’Neill’s fall in the Advanced Primary competition. It’s always reassuring to see that our safety procedures, which so often seem so theoretical, actually work in practice. The incident was expertly and calmly handled, Julie was taken to hospital in an ambulance to be checked out, but to everybody’s (particularly Bruce’s) immense relief, she returned later in the afternoon with a clean bill of health and was able to enjoy part of the advanced level action from the canteen area.
It was lovely to see some cameras back out after their winter hibernation. It’s still difficult to get clear action shots in the indoor, even with the sunshine, but at least we can finally see some faces. The Letterkenny batteries called it a day after the Primary training but hopefully Packie and Carmel have captured some of the ativity later in the programme. See our Gallery for some of the day’s action and atmosphere. Orla and Martina (or Des!) may be able to add to the collection.
Full results to follow but, in the meantime, congratulations to everybody who participated, particularly to those who placed. And a big thank you as always to everybody who helped out in any way on the day.
Pictured below: Denis Kelly, alive and well after his first competitive round of jumping; Enda and Liz working out the strategy with Francis ahead of the Primary class (it worked – they placed first and second respectively!); Laura McGowan warming up; and Orla, in disguise under her hat, chats to Ronnie Wilson of the Gaeltachts about the lovely young horses he rode on the day.