Category Archives: 1

Festival beckoning

The program for the festival has been released by HQ and there really is something for almost everybody. Multiple categories of showing, dressage, show jumping, prix caprilli, derby…the list goes on. Stabling is available on site at a cost of E65 for the weekend but be warned that these stables will book up quickly so get on the ball if you’re interested. Stabling, and electric hook-ups for lorries and campers,  must be booked through Mullingar Equestrian Centre on the following link

The schedule is available on the following link  rcf_schedule_2018

Our own Audrey Jacob team challenge, in Eglinton on May 13th is a nice prep outing, as dressage is the basis of showing as well as improving your jumping. Leo, Cormac and Dave started their serious training on Friday evening under the watchful eye of Jacqui McPherson. Dave’s new mount decided that flatwork, as part of a group in an outdoor arena, wasn’t her idea of the ideal way to spend a Friday evening and despite Cormac giving her a thorough workout for a few minutes Dave opted for the safety of terra firma and retired early. Cormac and Leo had a great lesson and went home with plenty to work on over the week. Anyone who wants to avail of a spot in the lesson this coming Friday should text or call Rachel on 086-1617087 by Wednesday evening.



Things are getting busy

Thank you to everyone who attended our club meeting in Tir Na nOg last night. It was a very entertaining and humorous meeting which still managed to cover quite a few topics.

The first item, which you should all have received text notification about at this stage, is the opportunity to get some badly needed flatwork done under the highly expert eye of Jacqui McPherson.  These lessons are taking place in the outdoor arena in Templemore, so lots of space. There will be only four in a group which guarantees plenty of attention from Jacqui and this is perfect timing to improve flatwork before the regional dressage qualifiers at our show on the 13th of May. Contact Rachel on 086-1617087 if you want to book a slot in any or all of the next 3 Friday night’s.

This brings me on to the next item on the agenda…the Audrey Jacob Team challenge in Eglinton on Sunday 13th of May. Entries for this show need to be in by sunday 6th May. If you are available for a dressage team or wish to enter the regional dressage qualifiers as an individual, contact Hazel. If you are available to jump on a team contact Francis. For the first time we are also presenting a prize for the Best Turned Out rider (and horse) on the day.As always there is a bit of setting up involved in the show and help would be appreciated the evening before as well as on the day of the show. Hazel will be  coordinating everything in her usual military manner.

The next major event on the calendar is the team showjumping qualifier in Tubberbride Equestrian Centre, Collooney, Sligo, on Sunday 20th May . If you wish to put your name forward for this you need to contact Dawn. She will need to know what horse you are riding and what height you are willing to jump. Each team must have at least one intermediate rider but the other three team members can be graded higher, despite the fact that two team members will jump 90cm. All as clear as mud! Do be warned that any horse you intend to enter on a team must be registered with the AIRC by the end of APRIL. You need to get your skates on if you intend competing on a new mount.

That’s enough info for you for the time being I think. Next update soon.


A quick reminder

Sunday 15th – Interclub ride out and Treasure hunt, Milford mart. Contact Damian Gallagher and Francis McNicholl. The forecast is good at the moment so get out and enjoy it

Monday 16th – Club meeting in Tir Na nOg at 8pm

Flowerhill pictures

As expected the photos and coverage of the hunter trial championship at Flowerhill are starting to pop up on social media. Do please respect photographers who watermark and wish to sell their images. We all need to earn a crust. The first port of call is the following Facebook page (copy and paste the link)

There are some great shots on this and you quickly appreciate the degree to which our club colours stand out when you’re scrolling through thumbnails!

I’ll keep updating this post as I find stuff so keep an eye here.

The official photographers at the event were Sagittarian Photography and they have said they will have their photos uploaded around 5pm on Friday the 13th April. See the selection here


Therese Anderson has some great shots on her Facebook page, which are public so follow the link here

Thanks to Ursula Duggan for the following selection

Dawn’s photos…I think I’ll limit my trolling to photos of our own club members, otherwise I wont have time for knee physio I’ll be so busy uploading!!

National success as Donegal clubs shine at Hunter Trial Championships

There are eight classes at the Hunter Trial Championships and Donegal clubs won three of them. That’s no mean feat. We were represented in the top six placings in every single class, with every Donegal club taking home honors. As a county we really should be exceptionally proud of this achievement. The time, effort and diesel that we all put into our sport is truly remarkable sometimes and days like the eighth of April 2018 definitely make it all worthwhile.

The full results can be viewed here Results 2018 NHTC

The heavy going resulted in a lot of people getting time faults on the day and this fact combined with a tricky little chicane near the finish line meant there were relatively fewer clears than in some years. The course rode remarkably well, considering the constraints Oliver Walsh of Flowerhill Equestrian Centre had to work around, and the weather held up remarkably well. We had no competitors in the Advanced Primary Pairs class, meaning we were able to relax and enjoy watching the neighbouring clubs members fly around. Things hotted up for us in the individual division, with Enda partnering Tel Del (aka Kawasir) to an excellent result with zero jumping faults and just a few time penalties. This is an amazing performance from a 28yr old ex racehorse and his far from 28yr old companion.

The Intermediate division is always hotly contested at the championships and this year was no different. Dawn and Jade led the charge for Letterkenny, followed by Anne and Keary, Libby and Rachel, and Cliff (doing his first Intermediate xc) and Francis (on baby Bonzo) bringing up the rear. Libby and Rachel scraped into the placings with a 5th place rosette to bring home after a sticky round resulted in zero jumping but a few time faults.30264454_1895527260479167_3162867499740169913_n Moving into the individual class the riders had a chance to right some wrongs. With quite a few riders coming in on zero jumping faults the time was always going to be critical. Rachel managed to channel Merlins enthusiasm for taking on hedges in a more positive direction when she finished  dead on the optimum time of 6’30, winning the class for the clubs second time, Kerri Chambers having won it a number of years ago. The podium was a strictly Donegal affair as Courtney Greene finished just one second off the time to claim second for Tirconail and Shaun Brennan took third for the Donegal Gaelteachts in a time of 6’33.30441044_1895527650479128_577562610467166092_nDonegals day of glory continued in the higher classes, with all three Schneiders covering themselves in glory (and a few splatters of mud), Tirconails Jason Deward and Stephen Greene, and Stracomers Derek Kane, Karl Dolan and Tara Fergus Sheridan all bringing home prizes.30264668_1895528090479084_832862640662811323_nNo doubt many photos and videos will start to pop up on Facebook over the coming days so keep an eye out here as I try to share what I find. In the meantime sleep easy in the knowledge that you belong to the best riding club in the country (who else has a Marina for looking after their accommodation every year?!) and you share the best county in the country with some amazing riding club friends.



2-Phase is a great success

Whilst our club members didn’t take home much in the way of silverware from Drumanoo, they certainly gained very valuable cross country experience and laid a foundation for the rest of the league. The photos taken on the day show what a beautiful venue Charlie and Mona have developed and the weather Gods played ball on the day. Check out the photos in this album

Time to celebrate, and to plan the next victory

The final of the spring league (check out was held on a bitterly cold, but dry and bright, day on Sunday. Attendance was a bit lower than expected but the level of competition was very high as riders took on the challenging course of dog legs, doubles and bending lines. The combination of desiccated Christmas trees, cottages, wavy planks and imposing green castles, took a surprisingly small toll as horse and rider partnerships showed the advantage of some continuous league outings.

Having ironed out some misunderstandings regarding training classes, the day got underway with the primary grade where Niamh Sharkey pipped Ciara Boyle for poll position on the day, also winning the primary league outright. Ciara held onto second place in the league, ahead of Paula Doohan, who was unable to attend the final. The hero of this grade is without doubt He’s A Dandy, who ferried his enthusiastic riders so safely each week. Credit must also go to Patricia Warren who has been so instrumental in encouraging and enabling riders at this level to join the AIRC and avail of the fun and support to be enjoyed.

The advanced primary grade has been extremely competitive throughout the league and some riders have made huge strides over the course of the spring, not least our own Hazel and Louise. Whilst the final day did not quite go to plan for Louise she had done so well on previous legs that she still snagged second place overall in the league, beaten only by the highly consistent Liz Potter of the Donegal Gaeltacht. Inishowen’s Lauren McLaughlin and Lynn Thompson took home the third and fourth place rosettes but despite missing a crucial week Hazel still took home a rosette for fifth, leaving Tommy McGinley to mop up sixth place glory for the Gaeltachts.

The nineteen riders on the intermediate leader board had provided the spectators with some exceptionally exciting jump-offs over the space of the league but none more so than at the final, where Kellie McClafferty took full advantage of previous experience over the jumps to hurtle to a win on her new mount, beating Patrick Hunter of Tirconail into an unaccustomed second place. Rachel and Merlin gave the winning pair a run for their money, knocking two seconds off the winning time but unfortunately catching the second element of the double in the process. Kellie’s win at the final wasn’t quite enough to shift Patrick off the winners podium for the league, but it was enough to secure her second place ahead of Veronica Lafferty. Cliff Haley claimed fourth position on the ever enthusiastic Shyla, with Tirconails Tricia Ward and Charlie Vial in fifth and sixth respectively.

The advanced intermediates battled it out in style, with Dawn Hyndman swapping the previous day’s ski slopes for the winning ride on Colorado. Cormac put in one of his most stylish exhibitions to claim second place on the day but got pushed to third in the overall placings by the game and gutsy Roseleen McGinley aboard a somewhat difficult ride. Stephen Greene and Rudy Hermans were joined in the rosette lineup by Jade McClafferty, who had done enough in early legs to be able to miss the final and still claim a ribbon.

For the first time in the history of the league (I think) the open/advanced open class was truly competitive and very well supported, not least of all by Bruce Vial, who competed on two mounts at almost every leg. Definitely a class bolstered by the bravery of youth the winning Donegal Gaeltacht rider, Cassandra Magee, lead home Emily Schneider, with Bruce taking both third and fourth places. Letterkenny’s Shauna Boyle took the penultimate spot ahead of Laura Schneider.

The league was a resounding success and was very well supported and enjoyed. Huge thanks must go to all who helped out over the course of the spring, especially those who braved the bitter conditions in the outdoor arena to steward the warm-up. As always the results service provided by Liz was second to none and the photography and video coverage supplied by various supporters was much appreciated.

SO WHAT NOW?? Well we certainly have plenty to look forward to. This friday evening Charles Maudlin is giving a talk on crosscountry rules and regulations. This is taking place in Kinnegar Brewery in Letterkenny (beside/behind Arena7) and should prove to be an enjoyable and sociable way to come to grips with the intricacies of hunter trialling and eventing. From the permitted tack and turnout to the meanings of the various flags on jump options, rules regarding timing and how to mark a score sheet…it will all become clear on Friday. Contact Ryan McBride on 083 1662201 to book in for this event.

On sunday, if weather and ground conditions permit, we have the first event in the two-phase league taking place at Drumanoo Equestrian. This is an excellent chance to get in some cross country training before heading south on the 8th of April for the national hunter trial championships in Flowerhill, Co. Galway. Anyone who wishes to take part in the two phase this sunday should already have their entry in with Hazel as the event is strictly pre-entry.

Our next AIRC outing is a dressage and showjumping training day on Easter monday. This event is being held in Twin Towns Equestrian Centre and is being coached by Tony Ennis, a great riding club advocate and supporter. RC training day



Are you an Advanced Primary rider?

The optimum rule for advanced primary show jumping competitions is being changed for the season ahead.

In Advanced Primary competitions, riders will incur time penalties should they exceed the time allowed in the first round.

In the second round, however, the optimum time will be calculated by subtracting three seconds from the time allowed and this will create a three second window where riders will not incur penalties until they exceed the time allowed. The winner shall be the rider nearest to the optimum time with the lowest penalties.

In primary competitions, the optimum time will be calculated by subtracting 3 seconds from the time allowed and riders will not incur time penalties should they go over the optimum time.

Advanced Primary riders are now permitted to wear spurs in pure dressage and showing competitions.

This does not apply to any jumping class such as performance or working hunter, show jumping or cross-country.

Under existing rules, only blunt spurs of plain metal may be used and the tip must contain metal. Spurs that have a smooth rotating rubber or plastic ball on the shank may also be used.

The spur, however, may not exceed 2 cms when worn by Advanced Primary riders.

Advanced Primary riders may also wear spurs in showing classes but this not include performance or working hunter competitions.

The rule changes will be available in the 2018 rule book which will be published shortly.

Cross country and/or dressage anyone?

All entries and entry fees for the two phase league need to be with your Hazel, Louise or Maura before Sunday 18th March . All fees must be paid in full through club secretaries, as it is a club cheque that will be sent for the clubs entries. There will be NO REFUNDS and no entries will be accepted without payment.

€15 xc entry
€15 dressage entry
€25 for both disciplines


Chill out weekend before big final

As we all need a chance to de-stress and commune with nature every now and then, it’s great to have the opportunity this weekend to enjoy a spring rideout together. Dawn is organising a rideout which is leaving Twin Towns Equestrian Centre at 2pm on Sunday. This will be a welcome chance for ourselves and our horses to get together for a non-competitive outing on a day which is currently forecast to be dry and mild. If you are hoping to make the rideout give Anne a bell on 0876106796.

A quick reminder for anyone planning on competing at this years national hunter trials. The online entry system for the National Hunter Trials opens on Saturday 24th March and will close again on Thursday 29th March at 12:00 midday. You will only be permitted to select horses from the list that are registered with the AIRC, so unless your horse is registered you will not be able to complete your entry. If your horse is not already registered with the AIRC you will need to fill in the

Horse Registration Form | F06_11 Horse Registration Postal Form. 

It is crucial that your horse has a passport in which it is named and also you will need your Equine Premises Registration Number. If you have booked a stable through Marina the payment of E25.00 is now due.