Huge congratulations to all the North West Riding Clubs members who made the journey to Flowerhill Equestrian Centre to take part in the Association of Irish Riding Clubs hunter trial championship. Oliver Walsh had built great courses that required genuine riding ability rather than just basic stickability, though the latter never goes amiss across country! The ground was in superb condition and the weather was perfect.
In the advanced primary pairs Inishowens Dawn McAllister and Samantha O’Neill managed an excellent second place over the challenging course, not far ahead of club mates Lauren McLaughlin and Lynne Thompson in 5th place. Inishowen Riding Club continued their dominance of the grade by winning the Individual Championship, courtesy of a perfect round by Claire Kirkwood. Brenda Burke bounced back from an involuntary dismount in the pairs class to come an excellent third in the championship class, with Stracomer Riding Club unlucky to miss out on a placing when Vici Viki Hopkins came seventh.
The young horse class had just one representative from the North West, with John McDaid giving a text book educational outing to his four year old mare, jumping clear all the way but slightly slower than the optimum time (well actually a lot slower😉).
The intermediate pairs class had smaller entries than usual but the Tirconaill Riding Club pair of Mark Ward and Eamon O’Donnell rode well to capture second place, finishing with just two time faults. Rachel Carton and Anne Chambers streaked around between fences to finish on 17 time faults and earn the 4th place rosettes for Letterkenny Riding Club , closely followed by the inter-club pairing of Ryan Mc Bride and Megan Coxford in 5th. As usual the time was critical in the championship class and a relatively slow optimum time caused numerous time faults. Mark Ward managed to sneak into 5th place ahead of Megan Coxford in 6th. Anne Chambers finished with just 2 time faults, while Rachel clocked the fastest time in the class to end the day with LOTS of time faults.
In the mixed pairs class the Schneider sisters ran in to second place, while in the advanced intermediate class Emily Schneider was the sole representative from the North West and managed to finish with 35 time faults, having travelled at a slightly more sedentary pace than the course required.
As with all riding club events, the hunter trial championship can only go ahead with the help of numerous volunteers and both Letterkenny and Inishowen clubs had the job of stewarding fence 8 in Flowerhill. It was a lovely simple fence to keep an eye on and was positioned at a point on the course where horses and riders tended to have settled into their rhythm. With just one non-rider available between the two clubs the manning of the post fell largely to Rachel’s loyal sidekick Ed, who received a rapid induction to the ranks of club official. With our club camera man busy pen-pushing we are very grateful to Therese Anderson for capturing some great shots at fence 5.
With the last of the national championships behind us it’s time to turn attention to the hot competition that is the Audrey Jacob Team Challenge. Ask not what your club can do for you but rather what can you do for your club….get out and fly your clubs flag with pride at Greenacres Stud & Equestrian Centre on the 26th September. Bring your A-game!