Travellers endure mixed weather but love the Festival experience

Marina and Martina had reasonable luck with the weather in Stradbally on Saturday but the heavens opened on Sunday morning and conditions were less than enjoyable. Both our competitors, together with hundreds of others, defected from their final classes, quitting while they were ahead and getting on the road home early.

Teldel did Marina proud in the showing ring, taking fifth place in the Ex-Racehorse class after discreetly testing the strength of judge Kevin McGuinness’s biceps. He excelled himself then when placing a wonderful 3rd out of 23 entries in the Veteran Horse class.

Martina was thrilled with Smuggler in all three of his classes and no doubt she can be equally proud of her own performance.

Libby appeared on foot on Sunday in time to volunteer as the judges’ steward in the Irish Draught class. One of the entries threw the riding judge in a really unpleasant incident so Libby learned at first hand what judges think of “dangerous behaviour” in a show horse. Volunteering is a brilliant way to learn about competing from the judge’s point of view.

Lawrence Smyth of the Gaeltachts was the toast of the Festival, competing like a sprightly youngster on his 70th birthday. He jumped a really lovely round in the Advanced Primary show jumping class only to have the last fence down with an unlucky knock.

Full results will be posted on the AIRC site in due course. Congratulations to everybody who competed — going to the Festival is a huge achievement.

Pictured below: Marina on Teldel after finishing 3rd in the Veteran Horse class (Teldel is 21); Martina and Smuggler looking their Festival best in front of Stradbally Hall on Saturday; Lawrence in full flight at 70; Tirconaill’s Mona and Charlie Vial who placed 5th and 6th in the Veteran Rider Dressage — nobody said in what order though!