It’s a wrap

At long, long last we succeeded in running our Orla O’Reilly show. After two attempts being ‘covided’ last year we jumped at the first opportunity for a date this year, and our cards came up trumps on Sunday. The weather forecast was blessedly wrong, with the predicted ‘absolute pish of a day’ giving way to glorious sunshine and enough of a cool breeze to stop the dust rising or the sweat dropping. The Torrens family of Greenacres Equestrian Centre had the arenas in superb condition and an army of club members turned up at 9.30 to build jumping courses and set out dressage markers. The Torrens’s stayed on hand for the full day to direct traffic and organise the parking, for which we are very grateful. Competitors started rolling in at 10.00, as did our dressage judge Kyle Richards. Kyle brought his own scribe with him in the shape of fiancee Samantha and we’d like to take this opportunity to wish the pair the best of luck for their wedding next Saturday. May their life together be as good as the dressage arena at our show….not the straightest in the world but nothing we couldn’t work around and laugh about afterwards!

On that note I (Rachel) would like to apologise to everyone who did dressage. As I was the last person to do my test I didn’t realise that one half of the arena had been left a metre short, with the A end of the arena looking rather kinky. Obviously this was deliberately done to vandalise the attempts of accurate riders to perform a good test. In the dressage classes we had a healthy 30 entrants spread over all the grades. Results were as follows


1st Michaella McCrudden LK

2nd Grace Rodgers IN

3rd Alex Coyle ST

Terri Hall ST

Advanced Primary

1st Therese Anderson BB

2nd Victoria Hopkins ST

Beverly Slack ST

4th Laura Diver TC

5th Nicola Coxford IN

6th Suzanne Deeny Wylie LK


1st Lauren McLaughlin IN

2nd Meghan Coxford IN

3rd Lynne Thonpson IN

4th Magdalena Pliczco ST

5th Caroline Shiel TC

6th Lauren McLaughlin IN

Advanced Intermediate

1st Susie Carr BB

2nd Rachel Carton LK

3rd Andrea Gallagher TC

Our judge, Kyle, also had the unenviable task of choosing the person he felt worthy of receiving the Orla O’Reilly memorial shield. This gets awarded to the rider the judge feels exhibits the correct qualities for a riding club rider. Optimism, a willingness to give-it-a-go, sympathetic riding and a desire to try to improve themselves and their mount. Not an easy set of criteria to judge on one viewing but we think Kyle’s decision this year was very appropriate and would like to think that Orla would be delighted to see Beverly Slack go home with the plaque after a very nicely ridden test on her mount, Rainbow Dancer. Kyle commented that the horse worked correctly into both reins, a trait that can only be achieved by correct and sympathetic riding. Orla’s family were on hand, along with her partner Jimmy, to accompany Letterkenny club secretary Erica as she presented the plaque to a delighted Bev…though it is very hard to see the delight under all the masks we wear these days.

Showjumping kicked off at 12pm in the fabulous Jago arena. Patricia Warren had built a very kind, flowing course and avoided any nasty fillers. The result was a great reintroduction to the competitive arena for riders who were far from in-practice after a year on the side lines. We were lucky enough to have a professional photographer on hand in the shape of Longpaw Productions, and anyone who was jumping or doing dressage in the earlier classes can find great pictorial evidence on the Longpaw Productions Facebook page. Personally I’m quite glad the camera had been put to bed by the time I was in the ring! Showjumping results were as follows


1st Nicola Coxford IN

2nd Clodagh Barry IN

3rd Clodagh Brady ST

4th Erica Robb LK

5th Terri Hall ST

6th Grace Rodgers IN


1st Cyndi Graham TC

2nd Charlie Vial TC

3rd Marina Hamilton LK

4th Alicia Clyne ST

5th Lauren McLaughlin IN

6th Eppie Heaney Henderson IN

Advanced Primary

1st Mark Geoghegan LK

2nd Caroline Shiel TC

3rd Finola Murphy BB

4th Lynne Thompson IN

5th Laura Diver TC

6th Kate Geoghegan LK

Advanced Intermediate & Above

1st Meghan Coxford IN

2nd Anne Chambers LK

3rd Mark Ward TC

4th Rachel Carton LK

And so concludes the results of Letterkenny Riding Club’s Orla O’Reilly memorial show 2021. We hope you enjoyed it and went away with a hunger to get out and support more riding club events as they crop up over the year ahead. It truly was a great day, but with so many great people on our side in the heavens we were guaranteed divine help on the day. I’ll leave you with a few sample photos of the day and one last word of thanks to those who helped….Orla, Lawrence and of course Audrey, who will be getting started on the preparations for her own team championship in September.