Sunday’s final at Templemore was every bit as exciting for all the competitors as was anticipated. A trait of this years league has been the almost non-existent participation at primary level, and this trend continued at the final with just Ellen Rogers on Rocco tackling the 70cm course and claiming the red rosette.
The AP class was well supported and saw some very hot competition result in Brenda Burke claiming the winners position on the podium with her homebred Bonnie Mismatch. This enabled Brenda to bag enough points to overtake long time league leader Lauren McLaughlin and claim the overall first prize in the league. This is especially fulfilling for someone who has brought on a homebred horse from scratch. Despite not placing at the final Lauren was still able to hold onto fourth place in the league, behind Samantha O’Neill and Lynne Thompson.
The intermediate division has traditionally been one of the largest and most competitive classes. Veronica Lafferty took no prisoners as she set a blistering pace on the gallant Glendine Thunder in the jump-off. Cliff Haley gave chase on both Irish Shadow and Sally Clover Supreme but had to settle for second and third positions. Charlie Vial, Marie Molloy and the ever-improving Francis and Ballylennon Duke, aka Bonzo, filled the remaining positions.
The advanced intermediate class provided a cracking jump-off when all four competitors were clear in the first round. Rachel went first on Merlin and got a lucky clear in a good time of 31.62. Mark Ward had an uncharacteristic stop at the first with Wild Child and Coutney Greene gave a textbook example of how to cut corners on Sonador but unfortunately took one pole down en route. Stephen Greene had it all to play for when he rode into the ring on the enthusiastic Indian Puzzle and he gave it lallty, setting the mare alight from the start. The clocks stopped for him on 31.67, a mere 0.05 seconds behind Rachel. This left Rachel with a secure margin in first place overall.
Cassandra McGee rode a beautiful clear on Bail Me Out in the open class. The clear was enough to beat Bruce Vial whose mounts each knocked a pole, leaving Cassandra to claim the league red rosette.
The league was very well run and I think the addition of new venues was certainly a help in shaking things up, though perhaps the weather gods weren’t always on our side for the outdoor venues. Brenda Burke did a great job as always in her prize shopping, ensuring an interesting and useful selection of prizes for the winners. Courtney Greene benefited from Brenda’s shopping prowess when she was awarded the smashing hamper as a prize for her immaculate turnout at the final. It’s no easy feat to present a white-grey as clean as Sonador was on Sunday. Thanks as always must go to the fleets of volunteers who ran each leg, as well as the course builders Seamus McCaffrey and Alex Deane, and judge Cormac McCormac.
For those of you who want to keep up (or start up) your competitive careers the Benbulben club is running a showjumping and dressage show in Tubberbride on Sunday 7th April. Details on the flyer below.
If you feel that some sociable training would fit you better than the competitive arena you’ll be glad to hear we have a series of Friday evening lessons coming up. Details are being finalised at the moment but if you have a preference for either flatwork or gridwork please let Hazel know asap.