Well begun is half done

We had our first club meeting last night in our regular stomping ground of Tir Na nOg in Letterkenny. With a good strong turnout of enthusiastic members there was plenty of discussion and a lot of positivity about the year ahead.

The approaching talk from equestrian sports psychologist Jim Hickey is attracting a lot of interest already, with 54 tickets sold to date and a large number expressing a desire for seats. It is not often we have the chance to benefit from the expertise of a sports psychologist who mentors international and Olympic riders. We all suffer from self doubt at times, which is the single greatest stumbling block between where we are now and where we want to be with our riding. Self-confidence and self-belief are key to performing well and unlocking true potential. This session aims to give the attendees the tools and techniques to build the right mindset to master any arena and own that winning round. Now I’m not sure what’s going to happen in the spring league when we all own the winning round, but it should certainly make for a competitive and invigorated atmosphere.

The dates and venues for the North West Riding Clubs spring league were confirmed, with the strong reminder that riders MUST be fully paid up members of the AIRC. Get your membership in to Erica as soon as you can if you plan to take part in the first leg of the league on the 9th February at Templemore. Membership forms will be available for filling out at the Jim Hickey night. Our club’s ItsPlainSailing account is almost alive and will make renewals easier. Watch this space.

The need to raise public awareness of our club’s existence and what we have to offer potential members was raised. There are a lot of riders in the area who don’t even know we exist! Even the people who are keen on doing registered jumping could benefit hugely from the low-stress atmosphere at our shows for getting mileage onto young horses. If any of you know of any potential members in your area it would be great if you took time to chat to them and encourage them to join the fun. This is especially true for riders who aren’t naturally competitive and just want a social outing with their horse….or without it!

Talking of social outings and leaving the four-legged members at home brings me on to one of our great annual events, the Wii night. Held in Damian and Nadine’s house near Ramelton, this night of good natured rivalry and hilarious gyrations, not to mention superb food and drink, is a great opportunity to relax and enjoy good company. This year it is taking place on Friday 17th January. Thankfully it predates the Jim Hickey event by a few days. The thought of an even more motivated and competitive Marina is daunting!!

We also plan to have a monthly lesson together. As it is very difficult to find time to get out to riding club more than once in a week we will hold these lesons on the Friday of weekends when there is no leg of the spring league on. Dates and rough lesson plan is on the Calendar page, though details will be texted through to members closer to each event.

One major event on our annual calender is the Audrey Jacob Team Challenge, which incorporates both dressage and showjumping. Date and venue are confirmed for Sun 19th April at Eglinton Equestrian Centre.

As the county’s annual exodus to the National Hunter Trial Championships takes place very early this year, being on April 5th, we are very tight for time to squeeze in cross-country schooling beforehand. The current plan is to travel to Cross-Equestrian, Knockloughrim, just over the Glenshane pass, on either the 28th or 29th of March. This premises has an excellent schooling ground, with a wide variety of jump options. Most importantly it is an all-weather facility.

If cross-country is your drug of favour there are no shortage of opportunities to indulge over the coming months as we are entering the rush of the hunter trial season. The excellent, if somewhat distant, course at Annaharvey farm near Tullamore is hosting a number of non-AIRC hunter trials which are open to all, while Carlanstown Equestrian Centre near Kells, Co. Meath, also have a number of upcoming Hunter Trials:-
Tara Harriers on Sun 8th March 2020
Oriel Farneys on Sun 19th April 2020
Ballymacads on Sun 3rd May 2020