Pristine conditions for final Flowerhill fine-tuning

Few cross country courses can be in better condition than Gabriel McCole’s farm on the outskirts of Letterkenny where the Flowerhill-bound club members turned out for a final bit of schooling on Thursday evening. In a week of real April weather, the rain stayed away and cold clear evening sunshine lit up this idyllic spot on the urban fringe.

Ten club members and our two associates, Ruth and Rachael, plan to travel to Flowerhill next weekend. Marina and Enda, away on holidays, missed the session but all of the other Flowerhill-bound members turned out to do their homework, joined by Paddy on an enthusiastic Lizzie. Christopher, whose Flowerhill plans have unravelled at the last minute, was a real loss at the schooling session and will be missed even more at Flowerhill itself. Hopefully he’ll travel to Portumna anyway and do a reccy for 2013.

Nadine and Emily took on camera duty as they watched the mares, Molly and Millie, take to the course like a pair of old hands. Francis’s beaming smile was sure proof that he and his new partner shared a mutual love of natural jumps. Molly and Damien overcame their mutual dislike and concentrated on the joys of cross country.

Fenway found that he had lost neither his enthusiasm nor ability after a 2-year absence from cross country and attacked every obstacle with exuberance. Dante, who’ll be showing him around Flowerhill in the pairs, took a good responsible look at a few finer details in the fences and popped over everything happily.

The hunting quartet of Keary, Anne, Leo and Pauric flew around the course and won’t be caught short on the speed end of the game if they repeat this performance in a week’s time. Ruth and Rachael schooled Sioux and Roger together and further strengthened their understanding as a pair. Sioux has spent the winter practicing some cross country stunts and gave a colourful demonstration of her Zebedee-Pogo-Stick trick as she approached the coffin behind Roger.

Paddy was left wistfully regretting the passing of the entries deadline as he dismounted from Lizzie at the end of an exhilarating session. Come on foot this year, Paddy, and you’ll be hooked on Flowerhill for 2013.

Pictured below: Name the horse: Francis and Damien enjoy the session on mother and daughter, Molly and Millie. More pictures in the Gallery.