Clubbing together

The first of the year’s inter-club meetings took place at the Glencar Inn on Monday 20th and was well attended by all the clubs in the North West sub-region. Erin Fergus read the minutes of the last meeting (in record time…great lungs!) and our regional chairman, Daire, welcomed all and proceeded to keep the meeting moving in a very efficient way.

There was a lively discussion of the AIRC grading system, especially with regard to down-grading of riders, and it was agreed that the primary objective of the AIRC should be to encourage inclusion and participation even if that means a rider needs to be down-graded due to a change of mount.

A vote of thanks was passed in acknowledgment of the many years of service that Trish Warren gave to the region by serving as a very active member of the executive as well as being such an inspiration at grass-roots level.

It was agreed that the points system for deciding the showjumping rider of the year and the dressage rider of the year will remain the same, as will the system of voting for club of the year. We can already confirm that the annual dinner dance will once again take place at the Villa Rose Hotel in Ballybofey on Saturday 28th November. Get the hair dressers booked!

The approaching spring league was the next subject up for discussion. With the increased costs for Templemore Equestrian Centre (the first increase since 2006!!), combined with cost of judges, course builders and prizes, Cormac stressed the importance of clubs supporting the leagues to ensure their viability. One suggestion that was proposed, and got plenty of support, was the use of entry vouchers as prizes. By giving vouchers for league entries we will reduce the actual spending on prizes and will also encourage participation in future events. After all there is a limit to how many saddle cloths or headcollars a body can need.

Spring league dates and venues are as per the Calendar page. Stracomer RC are running their leg in Greenacres on the 8th of March and have said that they will be running the higher classes first to facilitate riders at this level who need to get home to work in the evening. More details of how this day will run will be published closer to the time.

In an effort to raise the profile of the riding clubs in the area Erica has agreed to become a PRO for the sub region and will keep a short but regular feed of information to the local media such as Donegal Daily and local papers. If anybody has any suggestions for raising public awareness of how much fun and value for money the riding club is they should contact Erica.

Daire also flagged the need for the regional training day to be organised promptly as submissions for funding from head-office must be lodged by February 29th. Our north western sub-region can draw down E800 towards training. Whether this is used to run one main event or divided over a number of smaller events is up to the clubs to decide amongst themselves. It was agreed that the format used for the past number of years, whereby all the clubs came together to share one main day, was working well and encouraged the all-important social side of the riding club movement. Inishowen and Tirconail riding clubs are jointly organising the day, with Sunday 2nd of August in Gordon’s Bay proposed as date and venue. Mona is organising the coaches and promises they will be top class. If the date and venue work out you could do a lot worse than book a stable or paddock for the Saturday night and make a weekend of it.

Word of the western region RDS qualifier is uncertain, with the dates of the 10th and 17th of May being bandied about. As soon as the date and venue are confirmed I’ll let y’all know.

The next inter-club meeting has been scheduled for the 17th of February at 8pm in the Glencar Inn. This is a little sooner than would be usual but it was felt that with the pending deadline for the training day funding application it would be beneficial to have a chance to work through any potential issues sooner rather than later.