There are eight classes at the Hunter Trial Championships and Donegal clubs won three of them. That’s no mean feat. We were represented in the top six placings in every single class, with every Donegal club taking home honors. As a county we really should be exceptionally proud of this achievement. The time, effort and diesel that we all put into our sport is truly remarkable sometimes and days like the eighth of April 2018 definitely make it all worthwhile.
The full results can be viewed here Results 2018 NHTC
The heavy going resulted in a lot of people getting time faults on the day and this fact combined with a tricky little chicane near the finish line meant there were relatively fewer clears than in some years. The course rode remarkably well, considering the constraints Oliver Walsh of Flowerhill Equestrian Centre had to work around, and the weather held up remarkably well. We had no competitors in the Advanced Primary Pairs class, meaning we were able to relax and enjoy watching the neighbouring clubs members fly around. Things hotted up for us in the individual division, with Enda partnering Tel Del (aka Kawasir) to an excellent result with zero jumping faults and just a few time penalties. This is an amazing performance from a 28yr old ex racehorse and his far from 28yr old companion.
The Intermediate division is always hotly contested at the championships and this year was no different. Dawn and Jade led the charge for Letterkenny, followed by Anne and Keary, Libby and Rachel, and Cliff (doing his first Intermediate xc) and Francis (on baby Bonzo) bringing up the rear. Libby and Rachel scraped into the placings with a 5th place rosette to bring home after a sticky round resulted in zero jumping but a few time faults. Moving into the individual class the riders had a chance to right some wrongs. With quite a few riders coming in on zero jumping faults the time was always going to be critical. Rachel managed to channel Merlins enthusiasm for taking on hedges in a more positive direction when she finished dead on the optimum time of 6’30, winning the class for the clubs second time, Kerri Chambers having won it a number of years ago. The podium was a strictly Donegal affair as Courtney Greene finished just one second off the time to claim second for Tirconail and Shaun Brennan took third for the Donegal Gaelteachts in a time of 6’33.Donegals day of glory continued in the higher classes, with all three Schneiders covering themselves in glory (and a few splatters of mud), Tirconails Jason Deward and Stephen Greene, and Stracomers Derek Kane, Karl Dolan and Tara Fergus Sheridan all bringing home prizes.No doubt many photos and videos will start to pop up on Facebook over the coming days so keep an eye out here as I try to share what I find. In the meantime sleep easy in the knowledge that you belong to the best riding club in the country (who else has a Marina for looking after their accommodation every year?!) and you share the best county in the country with some amazing riding club friends.