Dismal lack of support fails to dampen Derby fun for those who turned up on the day

One has to pose the question “Is it really worth it?” after our third annual Derby & Dressage Show attracted fewer participants than ever this weekend. The answer, for those who turned out to compete, is a resounding “Yes!”. It’s well worth the effort to enjoy jumping and dressage in beautiful conditions over a great course with ample space. Whether we can continue to justify the financial outlay is another question which will be reserved for our AGM later in the year.

Entries were pitifully low and the gloss was taken off victories for Hazel in the Primary Derby and Louise in the Primary Dressage by the absence of competition. Their wins were all the more impressive for the fact that they turned out, made the effort, and performed with great credit in both classes.

Advanced Primary enjoyed slightly higher numbers and boasted one of the three stalwart Benbulbens who made the trip north to support us. Well done Melinda on a great win in the AP Derby. Lawrence reluctantly relinquished his cup but has his eyes set firmly on regaining it in 2014. Special credit has to go to Christopher who rode a magnificent round on Connacht to finish third, just weeks after starting to work with this game, honest and handsome horse.

As always, the Intermediates had the keenest competition of the day and 10 participants from three clubs took part in an entertaining and challenging class. Again, it was Benbulben who took top honours but there were cracking performances from many members, most notably Paddy and Tanya who were both desperately unlucky to rack up 4 faults a-piece.

Four Advanced Intermediate riders fought out the honours over 1 metre with Jody Carr of Inishowen rewarded for her support of the show with a narrow win.

The Intermediate & Above Speed Pairs provided the most fun and entertainment of the whole day, topped only by the cavalry charge of the final lap of honour. All the competitors in the class took part, enjoying one last blast around a fabulous arena to end a great day.

In the more sedate ambience of the dressage arena entries were as bad, if not worse than for the Derby. That didn’t prevent several of our own members from chalking up good victories after riding convincing tests under the eagle eye of Petra Kucklick. Louise, Vera, Libby and Nadine came out on top in their respective grades.

A very big thank you is due to everybody who turned out to participate in the event. Thanks also to our officials — Seamus, Petra, Cormac and Cormac’s assistants in the judging box. Thanks to Emma and Lauren of East Donegal Pony Club for putting in a long day getting slowly frozen on call-up duty. Thanks to all our members who helped on the day taking entries, scribing for both judges, and organising rosettes and prizes. Thanks to Lawrence for doing such a remarkable impression of a PA system when that piece of equipment was finally retired for the day.

The biggest thank you of all goes to our hosts, the Edwards family of Hillsborough Farm, who again so generously gave us their magnificent fields and supported us 100% at all times with smiles on their faces. Thank you.

Thanks to Rosaleen Harkin and Shaun Brennan for sending on their collection of photos from the day, and to Hillary Moore for driving Libby’s camera while Libby enjoyed competing. If anybody else has photos send them on and we’ll add them to the Gallery. David Carr also captured some of the action and his shots can be viewed on the Equi-Snap website.

Pictured below: Clare and Francis concentrate on their dressage tests; the next generation of members enjoy the day; Christopher and Connacht pop easily over the roller jump; and a squad of beautifully turned out Letterkenny riders exchange views on the showground.

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