Start crossing all fingers and toes

Third time lucky

The weather forecast for this Sunday, whilst not what you would call clement, is at least not worthy of a name. With some anonymous rain, and the odd gust of bracing wind to contend with, it looks like the third leg of the North West Riding Clubs spring league should run as scheduled. You must be all chomping at the bit by now to get out and make a start so do be sure to turn out and support the day (says Rachel, who will be in Kilkenny!)

The following Sunday, the 8th of March, as well as being the next leg of the show-jumping league, brings a relatively local cross-country opportunity as Ballycastle & Rural Riding Community are hosting a go-as-you-please on Dirraw Farm. First horses out at 12, last horses at 1pm. The ride is suitable for all abilities, fences range from 60cms up to 1.10m. For those not wishing to jump, hack round at your own pace taking in the scenery, the hacking trail is approx 3 miles from start to finish and suitable to canter or gallop on.

The fee for the ride is £15 for BRRC members and under 16s, and £20 for non members. Non riders wishing to eat will be charged at £2. Refreshments will be served afterwards. Photographer Gareth Obrien will be present on the day. The address is Dirraw road, finvoy Ballymoney. Please contact paddy Traynor directly on 07719 677361 if more information is needed.

Talking of cross-country I can tell you that entries for next months Connolly’s RED MILLS National Hunter Trials Championships will open on Saturday 21st March and close at 12 noon on Thursday 26th March. The championships take place on Sunday 5th April at Flowerhill House, Killimor, Co. Galway H53 X6C6. We’ll keep you updated here as details are released but one thing to remember is that members are reminded to register their horse or pony before the 1st April  for free. A fee of €25 will apply for all applications received from 1st April until Monday 8th June 2020.

Further information on how to register your horse is available at this link.

Talking of national championships reminds me that there have been a number of changes made to the way the Dressage championships are being run. With Inishowen hosting our regional qualifier in the forseeable future it would be good for interested members to have a read through the criteria.

Teams riders, who qualify for the final, will now also qualify as individuals while the number of competitors that qualify in the individual classes for advanced primary, intermediate and advanced intermediate will decrease to 3.  This is down from 6. These changes mean that any rider who qualifies as an individual, while also a member of a team, will only have to ride two tests at the final.

The rules regarding reserves are also going to be simplified as clubs will no longer have to name reserves in advance but will only be permitted to make one change per team by a deadline prior to the qualifier and finals.

The rule changes will be available in the 2020 rule book which will be published shortly.

The AIRC National Dressage Championship are due to take place at Mullingar Equestrian on Sunday 16th August 2020.

A chance to train

For those who recognise the benefits of good quality coaching, not to mention the benefit of meeting up with like minded people for a good natter, there are a number of training days and clinics in the coming weeks. The next one in our general area is on March 22nd and is being run by Benbulben riding club at Tubberbride Equestrian Centre. It is open to all AIRC members and will cater for all levels of rider. Interestingly it includes the chance to receive coaching in the art of Working Hunter showing.


The training clinic being run by Tirconaill Riding Club at Greenacres on the 19th of April is almost fully booked. The format for the clinic is a 1 hour lesson in flatwork with Mark Robinson and a 1 hr showjumping lesson with Mandi King. We already have six riders booked in so it should prove to be a good sociable outing as well as being beneficial. If anyone else feels they would like to take part then please contact Erica immediately to see if there are any additional places available.

International opportunity

Did you ever hanker for the opportunity to represent your country at an international competition? Well now might be your chance!

Clubs, affiliated to the Association of Irish Riding Clubs, can now apply to represent Ireland in a World Club Team Show Jumping Tournament at the Generali Open de France, one of the biggest equestrian events in the world, in July. This meeting takes place every summer at the Parc Equestre Federal, 41600 Lamotte Beuvron, France from 22nd to 24th July 2020. Lamotte Beuvron is in the Loire Valley, about 140kms south of Paris.

The main purpose of this tournament is to create a friendly event in which all members will meet riders from around the world and share their equestrian culture. Each team of 3 or 4 riders compete in two show jumping rounds and a final. The competition will be run over two days: 2 rounds and a final. The final is reserved for the five best teams after the first two rounds. Each rider has to participate with the same horse throughout the competition.

Team members may hire horses for this event due to the distance and cost of transportation, but it is possible to bring your own.

The Association of Irish Riding Clubs is seeking expressions of interest from interested clubs in representing the Association and Ireland at this tournament. Teams members must be of intermediate and/or advanced intermediate level in show jumping. Interested clubs must return their expression of interest to National Office by Friday 13th March 2020.

League unchanged

Despite the small matter of earning a crust keeping me away from last nights inter-club meeting I was brought up to speed with a rapid report from Marina. The league will continue as originally planned, with the two lost legs being just that…lost. Finding alternative dates to reschedule was proving impossible and the decision was made to run the remaining three legs and leave it at that.

Inishowen confirmed the date of their show to be Sunday May 3rd and the venue to be Eglinton. This show will also host the qualifiers for the National Dressage Championships, which are to be held in Mullingar on Sunday 16th of August.

A nice addition to the local calendar is the promise of a cross-jump competition at Gordon’s Bay on Sunday 14th of June. This is not an AIRC affiliated event and is therefore open to all riders. Details on the flyer.

Remember our own outing this Friday. Vera has organised the second of a series of lessons with Mary Devine at Twin Towns Equestrian Centre, Ballybofey. Contact Vera on 087-2325632 to book a place.


Don’t forget the inter-club meeting this evening. Its in the Glencar Inn at 8pm and all are very welcome. Obviously the decimation of the spring league by recent storms, will be high on the agenda, with the hope that additional dates can be found to compensate for the losses. Given the dearth of inter-club outings so far this season it is great to have a meeting as an excuse to meet up with everyone and have a natter if nothing else! See you there.

Another one bites the dust

Not to be outdone by a woman, Dennis has produced enough wind and rain to put paid to the second leg of the North West Riding Clubs spring league. The next leg of the league is scheduled for Sunday 1st of March but before that is the next inter-club meeting on Monday 17th February in the Glencar Inn, so maybe we will discover plans afoot for replacing a leg or two.

With spring progressing at a rapid rate (honestly…just look at all the little buds on the bushes!) we are looking at a rapidly approaching hunter trial championships at Flowerhill and the associated need for cross-country training. Obviously the opportunities for getting out cross-country are limited, given the rather challenging weather and ground conditions, but Erica and her trusty elves are industriously searching for suitable options and there are potential plans afoot. Watch this space.

In the meantime don’t lose touch with the good folks in your local riding clubs. Why not come along for the inter-club meeting on Monday evening at the Glencar Inn at 8pm.

Farewell Ciara. Hello Dennis

Apparently storms are like buses…..none for ages and then two come bumper to bumper. Having lost the first leg of our spring league to the ravages of Ciara we are now having to cross all fingers and toes in the hope that Dennis wont put paid to the second leg. Scheduled to be held this Sunday, 16th Feb, in Greenacres Equestrian Centre, and being run by Tirconail RC, this show will hopefully kick off the 2020 season in style.

Looking further down the calendar we now have a non-AIRC hunter trial to look forward to at Gordon’s Bay. Details on the flyer.


Gee, thanks Ciara!

Tomorrow’s first leg of the North West Riding Clubs spring show-jumping league has been cancelled for safety reasons. Details on how scoring for the league will be affected will be posted in due course.


Third time lucky

The third one’s the charm, so they say, and so it is with a date for our Audrey Jacob Team Challenge. It is now confirmed for Sunday May 24th in Eglinton. Even more time to perfect your moves.