Lots to look forward to

We have a series of three grid-work lessons lined up at Greenacres Equestrian Centre in Convoy. Alison Higgins is coaching and the lessons will suit every level of rider or horse. Grid-work is invaluable for developing rhythm, athleticism and mental agility in the horse. The repetitive nature of grid-work, combined with the gradual increase in the challenge presented to horse and rider, encourages confidence and helps to regulate the horses speed and stride. It allows the rider to concentrate on their own position as well as to develop a feel for how their horse moves under them.

This week’s lesson is at 7pm on Friday, but the following two lessons are at 8pm on Thursdays 11th and 18th April. Contact Hazel if you wish to join in. The cost of the lessons will be E20 per night. These lessons will feed in nicely to our annual Audrey Jacob Team Challenge in Eglinton on April 28th.

Entries for the AJTC will close on Sat April 20th, so anyone thinking of taking part on either a dressage or showjumping team should contact Hazel, who will pass on the expression of interest to Francis, Damian or Marina, who are sorting out the teams for us. The prizes for this show are always superb and this year is no different. It’s always one of the calender highlights and is great value for money as the jumping is run like a Nations Cup, meaning everyone jumps twice regardless of faults in the first round. There is ample free stabling available for everyone, making for a very chilled-out and relaxed day….no juggling horses and tack on cramped trailers or lorries.

Our AJTC will also be a nice opportunity to get in some competitive practice, in both the show-jumping ring and the dressage arena, before the Inishowen show on Sunday 12th May. The Inishowen show is also our area qualifier for the National Dressage Championships on Sunday 18th August. Teams and individuals (Advanced Primary, Intermediate, and Advanced Intermediate) are required to qualify for the championships finals.  Teams may only qualify at their respective regional qualifier while individuals may qualify at any qualifier around the country.

Inishowen’s show is the week before the all-important Horseware Team Show Jumping qualifier in Tubberbride Equestrian Centre on Sunday 19th May. The Horseware Team Show Jumping Championship is open to teams of three or four riders of an affiliated riding club. Eight qualifiers take place throughout the country with the winning team qualifying for the final which takes place at the prestigious Dublin Horse Show in August.

PLEASE NOTE that riders wishing to take part in either the regional dressage qualifiers or the team show-jumping qualifiers must be paid up AIRC members on April 30th so if you’ve been dilly-dallying about getting your membership sorted for the year now is a good time to get your finger out and send it off.

Following the team show-jumping qualifier we have our annual camping trip to Carrickfinn. Those of you who have attended this in the past need no reminding about what a good outing it is, while those of you who haven’t yet enjoyed the spectacular scenery, miles of quiet hacking and bag fulls of after-hours shenanigans, couldn’t begin to appreciate just how much good the trip can do for the souls of both man and beast. As usual Damian is organising paddocks and campsite and if you let him (or the all-encompassing Hazel/Louise combo) know that you’d like to join the outing you will be more than welcome.