Category Archives: 1

One week to go

Today’s third leg of the league was run by ourselves. Many thanks to everyone who helped out with the many duties which go into running a successful day. As the format of the league allows riders to miss one leg of the league, or drop their lowest score if they attended all legs, we saw slightly diminished numbers this week. The league table is now interesting, though Inishowen are in a very strong position.

Nicola Coxford is unassailable in the primary division, while in advanced primary Ellen Mackey has 14 points, just 2 points ahead of both Lynne Thompson and Lauren McLaughlin who are on 12 points apiece. Intermediate rider Veronica Lafferty, with 14 points, has Mark Ward snapping at her heels as he carries 13 points into the final. Enda McClafferty shoulders the main hopes of the Letterkennyites as he has 10 points, though Cliff who has 8 points is by no means out of the running. Dawn Hyndman made it two for two as she won the advanced intermediate again on the consistent Colourado. With 14 points on her flagpole she will be keeping a weather eye over her shoulder as Cormac’s 13 points and Courtney Greene’s 11 points will certainly make for an exciting final day.



Have your say

The North West sub-region AGM is being held tomorrow evening, the 20th Nov, at 8pm in the Tir Na nOg pub, Letterkenny. Apart from the obvious social element to any riding club meeting there will also be plenty of discussion on the successes and weaknesses of the region, and the inevitable shuffling of the deck of the committee. This sub-region committee is vital if we want to prevent all decisions affecting us as members being made by people who live an awful lot further south than any of us do. For any of you who are relatively new to riding club, and may be unaware of the structures in place, we are all members of the western region, that stretches right down to Ennis and beyond. We currently enjoy the luxury of having one Donegal member on the regional board and one on the national committee, which is certainly a help in keeping our voices heard way down south, but our own sub-regional committee gives us an opportunity to put forward a united front in our efforts to be heard. Do please try to turn out to the meeting.

Hazel will also have dinner dance tickets at the meeting for anyone who wants to secure their spots before the big night.

Tickets all ready to go

Get yours this Sunday at the league from Hazel Mahoney or Louise Edwards


Inishowen pulling ahead as autumn league progresses

The second leg of the autumn league took place in Templemore yesterday and as usual the points tables are released with impressive rapidity.



Inishowen have the primary grade tied up, with all three contestants at this grade hailing from the eastern-most club in the area. Nicola Coxford is rapidly opening up an unassailable lead here with consecutive wins resulting in 14points on the league table.

The advanced primary grade is more competitive, with all four clubs represented. Once again Inishowen hold the driving reins with Ellen Mackey and Lynne Thompson both in strong positions. Best of the Letterkenny competitors is Kerri Chambers, who had a great day yesterday on her new mount Sasha, bagging six points for second place. With Three legs still to play for Kerri is very much in contention.

Traditionally the most competitive grade the Intermediate is typically well supported. Mark Ward of Tir Conaill and Veronica Lafferty of Inishowen have shared the top two spaces for the first two legs of the league and are joint leaders on 13 points apiece. This puts them well ahead of the pack but with riders able to drop their lowest score from the five legs of the league everything can change as the weeks go by.

Not until we reach the Advanced Intermediate/Open grade do we see our own riders to the fore, with Cormac stealing the lead here as both Inishowen and Donegal Gaelteacht are not fielding riders at this level to date. Courtney Greene is leading the charge behind Cormac but no doubt all will change over the coming legs.

The next leg of the league is next sunday, the 19th, and is being run by our own club. All help is needed to cover the various chores on the day and it really is a case of ‘many hands make light work’ so do please contact Hazel or Marina to let them know when you’re available to lend a hand.

Get the glad rags on

The annual NW Riding Clubs dinner dance is being held on Saturday 2nd December in the Silver Tassie Hotel. The night will see us return to the site of our first dinner dance, memories of which are indelibly printed in some peoples memory banks. Tickets are available at any of the legs of the autumn league, which is taking place in Templemore on Sun Nov 12th, 19th and 26th, or by contacting Louise or Hazel. Oh, one final snippet of advice…if Ryan asks for a loan of your guitar say No!

Safe rugging advice as winter kicks in

Horses commonly get their legs trapped in the cross surcingles because they are too loose. They should fit snugly to the horse’s belly, with just enough room for the flat of a hand to slide easily between the strap and the belly.

The fillet string stops the rear of the rug blowing up over the horses back when it is standing with its back to the wind. It should not hang low or the tail will come outside it when the horse moves around. If you find the tail outside the string, you need to tighten it or attach it higher up. If the tail comes outside or if the fillet string is broken or missing, horses can be suddenly startled by the rug blowing over their backs, and they rush forward, even going through fences. Also, the fillet string stops the neck piece from sliding forward on to the horse’s head. We have seen two cases where horses have been blinded by the neck piece coming over their eyes, in one case with fatal results.

Horses with high withers and little muscle around them are at risk of developing severe damage to the skin over the withers (see photo) unless the rug fits perfectly. Wither injuries are common where the rug is too big and it slides backwards, causing the upper edge to press on the withers at the top. Always check for any sensitivity to finger pressure on the withers. This is a warning sign and must be addressed immediately. Sensitivity can be checked without removing the rug, simply by pressing down on the withers with the fingertips. The horse should show no reaction to this.

Rain scald is very common in out-wintered horses wearing ‘waterproof’ rugs. Although often attributed to condensation under the rug, this seems an unlikely cause as the underside of the rug is warm. It is far more likely to be caused by a leaking rug.

Hungry horses and ponies soon realise that the rug protects them from being shocked by the fence, and they lean over it to get to grass on the other side. They can be become entangled in the fence or impaled by the poles. A quick way to deter this is to sew a piece of electric fence tape to the inside seam of the neck and allow the free end of the tape to dangle in front where it will contact the fence.

It should be possible easily to slide a hand inside at the front and down over the shoulders. We have seen the buckles injure the skin where the rug was too small and too tight at the shoulders. Conversely, if the rug is too wide at the shoulders it slips backwards and can cause shoulder rubs.

Leg strap rubs are common. It should be possible easily to pass a hand between the leg straps and the inside of the horse’s thigh, but they should not be too loose. The straps should always loop through each other.

Don’t assume everything is okay under there. Remove the rug frequently to check for rubs, rain scald and other problems.


Thanks to old and new

There are few clubs or organisations in the country whose members consider the AGM to be one of the more entertaining social nights of the season. I think its a real indication of just how much we all enjoy the club and the people in it when you see a good turnout at the meetings…not that I was at the AGM or anything, but I did truly regret the change in dates which saw me sunning myself by a Spanish pool rather than attending the meeting.

Fortunately Hazel and/or Louise had rapid updates on the Facebook page and I was able to catch up pretty quickly, discovering in the process that I am now responsible for the website. Anne has stood down as secretary and has handed the reins over to Hazel, who has been availing of plenty of lessons and will be able to handle the responsibility with ease. Marina has stepped into Pauric’s shoes as chairperson and no doubt will keep the ship on an even keel and the crew happy. Huge thanks are due to both Pauric and Anne, who have both done Trojan work over their terms of office.

Sunday 12th November will see the second leg of the North West Autumn League take place at Templemore Equestrian Centre. The league format is designed to be friendly and encouraging and its well worth giving the jumping a shot even if you feel out of practice or want to potter around a low level course to get you or your furry friend back into the swing of things. Of course the best thing about riding club is the fun and support on the sidelines so come along for a few hours of socialising even if you cant manage to bring a mount. Entries are taken from 10.30, with the competitions kicking off at 11.00 sharp.


Before sharing the news from the last two months please note that new dates have been added to the calendar so get them in your diaries and get training for the Autumn league,  Dressage day and the Spring league. Also polish up your dancing shoes ready for the Annual Inter Club Christmas dinner dance in December at the Silver Tassie

October is a busy month with the final of the league the start of the Autumn league and our first dressage day! in between that there’s an opportunity to take a break from jumping and dressage and spend the weekend at Gordons Bay hacking and having the craic. Please let Marina know as soon as you can if you would like to go. She can be contacted on 00353 86 8216335


The second and third leg of the league took place at Mona and Charles and then at Gordons Bay. There were two very well laid out courses with enough challenge to keep every one on their hooves. Both days went very smoothly which is down to good planning and club members helping. Special thanks all those non riders from our own club and other clubs who helped out this weekend, Enda Cormac Kerrie Anne, Lawrence, Marina, Maura, Paddy, Rachel Shauna and friend Shauna Daly, Chloe and Brandon.Thanks also to Patricia for judging the dressage. Finally thanks to all the riders who took part even though we had to make a change of date at short notice.  Marina and Francis continue to battle it out. Full information on scores can be found on our Face Book page but Marina has 6 points and Francis is on 18 which actually has him leading but its all to play for at the final as your best three results count.

And now we meet our first horse of the month


JIGALO…… who was seen in August competing at the Dublin Horse Show in the race horse to riding horse. Here’s his story told by owner Shauna Boyle

“I first met Jigalo when he arrived at the yard in the summer of 2015. At that time I was retraining another ex racer to riding horse who went by the name Jawad, who unfortunately at that time was injured. The ‘yard lit’ up when Jigs was unloaded off the truck. I was totally unaware that Jigalo and Jawad were not only owned perviously by the same syndicate they were also trained by the same trainer and had been together from yearlings but had been apart for 6 years. it was super to see them reunite! Although they did have to be moved to separate paddock as they were too attached to one another they are best buds yet again.

Since arriving Jigalo has tried his hand at every thing but his preferred discipline is mot definitely hunter trials. these seem to being him back to his racing and chasing days where he has many 1st placings knocking up nearly One Hundred Thousand Euros in prize money. in 2016 he won the AIRC Advanced Intermediate hunter trial championships! We failed to regain this years title as unfortunately we were way too fast!

Currently he is Champion Race Horse to Riding Horse in Donegal. He is now to make his debut in show jumping circuit very soon. He took a few days off after his appearance at the Dublin Horse Show having thoroughly enjoyed his very enthusiastic gallop around the main ring”.

So look out for Jigalo at the next autumn league.



The club wish Tanya and Mark a very long and happy marriage

Enda and Tanya enjoy a wee catch up, hopefully it wont be long before we see them both back in the saddle.




The club would like to wish Damien a speedy recovery and hope that we will see him back in the saddle too. Mean while in order to avoid becoming a Judge Judy fan and a regular member of Jeremy Kyle show audiences he is hoping to start horse shoe crafting for Christmas. So any suggestions or ideas on what he can create please pass onto him. He is also looking to start a stall at Oakfield Park so clever or witty name suggestions for the stall would also be well received.

On that note the club would also like to wish Pauric’s daughter Beth a speedy recovery and hope that she is soon well and back on the horses.



2 PHASE Saturday 23rd Start Times

Start List XC Gordons Bay (dragged)Start List Dressage Gordons Bay (dragged)


Click on the link for times for dressage and x country good luck everyone and thanks for those helping out on the day! Updates to follow.

Dublin Horse Show visitors

The Dublin Horse Show saw a few visitors from Letterkenny RC and as usual we all paid a visit to the stand of our famous and very talented member Marina Hamilton (Artist and sculpturer). Oh and in case you don’t recognise some of these faces there were a few photobombers from other clubs. Plus future club member Anna.IMG_1747

We would also like to share some photos of Club member Shauna who competed in the showing class, race horse to riding horse at Dublin with her horse Jigalo. They looked immaculately  turned out and both seemed to enjoy the experience. Kerrie Ann was also on hand as groomswoman to keep them looking well polished. Sorry Shauna missed the best shot of all where Jigalo showed the judges that he can also walk on two legs!!

We would also like to say congratulations to the two Western Region Teams in the AIRC Horseware Team Jumping. It was a tight competition with the last two riders deciding the overall winners. Sadly Corrib, who were in with a great chance of winning had two poles down in their last round which put them into 4th place with Springmount finishing 6th. Corrib also came away with best turned out and looked great in their new matching gear. Roll on next year when the battle will once again commence for places at Dublin 2018.