Sowing the seeds of desire

6 Top Horse Adventure Destinations


Winding down as we all gear up for Christmas

Anyone who didn’t make the dinner dance in the Villa Rose is to be pitied. It was a great night, with top class entertainment laid on, a belly full of laughs provided, great food, excellent DJ and fabulous prizes for all the deserving winners. Top marks to the entertainment committee for a great night.

As always the riding club scene is a little quieter over the coming month as people concentrate on other festivities, but there are a couple of dates to put in your diaries. Firstly Trish Warren is running a charity fundraising show on Saturday 29th (so you get time to recover after your over-indulgence on the 25th) in Twin Towns Equestrian Centre. The monies raised will be going directly to the ISPCA’s Donegal Animal Rehabilitation Centre in Ballyare and your support would be greatly appreciated.

The second opportunity for you is in January, when the Stracomer RC is holding a working hunter clinic in Greenacres Equestrian Centre in Convoy. The clinic will see Antonia Donnelly help riders become acquainted with or improve in the growing sport of working hunter. Details of both events are on the posters below.

At the recent inter-club AGM there was some talk of a possible rideout being organised over the Christmas period by John McDaid and Mickey McHugh. If this comes to fruition I’ll let you know.

A grand finale…in the most Irish sense

Twas a grand day in Templemore Equestrian Centre for the final of the autumn league, with sun shining from start to finish. There was a good turnout for the competition and spectators were rewarded with some exciting jump-offs.

It was great to see Suzanne Deeney Wylie out with a new horse being introduced to riding club life in the crosspoles, and I’m sure this pair will be a force to be reckoned with in the spring league. With no primary riders to challenge grace Rodgers the primary division was a quiet affair and Grace will be delighted to accept her just reward at the upcoming dinner dance. The advanced primary has been quite competitive throughout. Despite Inishowen’s Lynne Thompson having an uncharacteristic off-day at the final she still had enough of a lead to snaffle the league title. Our own Kerrie Chambers blossomed today to win the final class and come second overall. One of our other new recruits, Regina Toland kept a very cool head to place second to Kerrie on the final day and third in the overall league placings. The novelty pairs class, for A.P and below, was hotly contested and saw Louise Edwards and Bob take both second and third places, with partners Lynne Thompson and Kerrie Chambers respectively.

The ever-competitive intermediate division has been pretty well tied up by Tir Conail’s Patrick Hunter on the evergreen Eurolady. Cliff Haley managed a fourth placing for our club in the final but earlier strong performances have left him in second place overall in the league. The advanced intermediate has been a three way affair up till the final, when John McDaid gave the other competitors fair warning of his competitive intentions on his handsome new grey. The only rider to finish on zero faults  he pushed Rachel Carton into second place as herself and Merlin put in an impressive round of jumping but had an uncharacteristic time fault. Fortunately for Rachel, Derek O’Kane of Stracomer had a pole on the ground in addition to his time fault, leaving Rachel to win the league. Cassandra McGee and Bruce Vial have been fighting it out in the open class throughout the league, but Bruce pulled it out of the saddlebag at the final to capture both first and second places. This put Bruce into pole position in the overall league, with Cassandra managing second place. The final class of the day was an accumulator class and Patrick Hunter continued his winning ways, ahead of Mickey McHugh on his versatile chestnut.

Touts were selling tickets for the dinner dance next Saturday and as there is already an unusually large take-up, encouraged no doubt by the central venue of the Villa Rose hotel in Ballybofey, the night promises to be a goodun. Louise and Hazel are the go-to people for tickets and the night is always a great seasons end.

Before we start boogying and partying on Saturday we can get together at the North West Riding Clubs AGM in the Glencar Inn. The fun kicks off at 8pm and everyone truly is encouraged to attend and be part of the decisions affecting us all for the coming year.

Finally a big thanks to everyone who either participated in or helped run the Autumn League. It simply couldn’t happen without ye. The final results are available below






Hot competition on a cool autumn day.

A hurried run by Marina to collect some of our club safety cups for the course at Twin Towns Equestrian Centre resulted in a slightly delayed start to the second leg of the North West Riding Clubs but once things got underway they ran smoothly. Our club members did us proud in the catering department and anyone who went home hungry can only have themselves to blame. With Enda on the mike, and Cormac judging, the classes flew through, helped by riders being prompt in their arrival at the ringside in time for their rounds.

The primary division is tied up by Grace Rodgers of the Inishowen club. Inishowen are very strongly represented at the lower divisions, having two competitors at the crosspole height too. Advanced primary competition is hot at the moment and again Inishowen are currently in pole position with Lynne Thompson on 13 points. The title is by no means in the bag though as its always possible for a rider to have an off-day and our own Regina Toland is not without hope in the division. Continuing their control of the league at the moment Inishowen are also in the lead in the Intermediate division, despite Cliff Haley bringing honor to Letterkenny at Twin Towns. This division is very open at the moment and will be down to a nail biting final in Templemore on the 25th. The advanced intermediate saw Stracomer’s Derek O’Kane put in a foot perfect performance to reverse the previous legs placings as Rachel had a pole down to take second, ahead of Courtney Greene of TirConail. With very few open riders in the region it was good to see our own Shauna Boyle back in the arena and nipping second place behind Cassandra McGee of the Donegal Gaeltacht club. Cassandra has inched ahead of Bruce Vial in this height division, but with Shauna back in the game it will all come down to the wire at the final.

Many thanks to everyone who helped out on the day in any capacity. The show went off very well despite being in a different venue to usual. A special mention must be made about the catering. A basket was left for people to make a donation to cover the food and drink and it has to be said that the North West Riding Clubs members are a very honorable bunch as the basket was certainly used during the day and people obviously considered the canteen worth supporting. Thanks everyone.

The league final is back in Templemore Equestrian Centre on November 25th (the day after the Donegal Harriers meet at Peter Smyths!). We hope to see a big turnout of both riders and supporters. Remember that riders are expected to wear correct competition clothing at the final and to show due respect for their clubs by turning out their horses to a high standard.



Club roots strong as ever

Our AGM in Tir Na nOg was as enjoyable and sociable as always, with enough pizza to feed a small army and a desert of Cadburys Roses to round off the feast. Unfortunately Hazel was on sick leave but Louise was more than capable of filling in for her, taking copious notes and minutes. Marina ran through a report of the year past, pointing out just how much we had done over the last twelve months. A couple of events were missed in her report, but only because she relied on this website for her information…a hit and miss source of details at the best of times!!

It is testament to how easy going and pleasant our club members are when all of the committee members were quite happy to agree to continue in their present positions for a second year, making the proposing and seconding of elected positions very painless. The only change on the committee (I think) is that Rachel is now assistant chairperson, while Cormac took on the position of equipment-manager in addition to his role as regional delegate for the club. Maura steps into the role of child welfare officer, a role she’ll hopefully find less troublesome than the one of treasurer (not that she has shirked her responsibility in that department either).

Some discussion was given to the running of the next leg of the autumn league. It is being held at Twin Towns Equestrian Centre and our club is responsible for the running of it. One subject which was broached was the lack of a canteen at the venue and it was agreed that, as Stracomer and Tir Conall riding clubs had put on an impressive spread at the opening leg at Templemore, our club was honour bound to show due hospitality and we are asking all members to produce some tasty donations for the banquet table on Sunday. Whether you are a dab hand at the baking, or prefer to whip up a few rounds of good wholesome sandwiches, be assured your efforts will be truly appreciated. As usual the competitions kick off at 11am, and entries are accepted from 10.30, but obviously we need some hands on deck beforehand to ensure the place is ship shape and everything is in place for a smooth and, of course, safe show. Please contact Marina if you have a time or task which you are or are not available for.

Louise reassured us all that the plans for the annual dinner dance are well in hand, with the Villa Rose confirmed as the venue and a mulled wine reception to welcome us on the night. Remember that the dinner dance doubles up as the awards night for North West Riding Clubs leagues and is the night on which the Club of the Year is announced, so be sure to practice your ‘surprised but delighted’ face as well as the ‘I’m truly delighted for him/her’ face.

The evening was rounded off by the reading of the various nominations for both club horse of the year and club member of the year. The combination of Merlin and Rachel pulled off a double by being awarded both trophies after having what can only be described as a dream year at riding club events. Merlin was unable to be present to accept his award but Rachel agreed to pass it on to him at a suitable time in the future…when his medication has been increased and his psycho-therapist is on standby!

AGM @ 8pm, in Tir Na nOg, Fri 2nd Nov.

Preparing for 2019

With Marina’s epic Corinthian Challenge behind us we can tick what looked like an equally memorable day at Leopardstown Races off the club bucket list and settle down for a winter of total content!

Our club AGM is at 8pm on Friday 2nd of November, in a venue as yet to be confirmed. As well as looking back over the year past it will be an opportunity to start planning for the coming season. One item which will pop up on the agenda is the fact that a large percentage of us will need to supply new passport photos for our 2019 membership cards.

AIRC members and club secretaries are advised that any passport image supplied for a membership that is over 5 years old will no longer be retained on file. This means that any member who has provided an image that is now over five years will not be available for 2019 and the member will have to provide a new image.

This is due to new data protection guidelines since the introduction of General Data Protection Regulations which came into force earlier this year and this is expected to affect many members in 2019 when they go to renew their membership.

Members and club secretaries are encouraged to supply new passport images in the coming weeks to ensure there are no additional delays in 2019 due to no image being on file. Please ensure that your image is in colour and that you follow these guidelines from the Department of Foreign Affairs:

Hopefully our AGM venue will have a suitable bit of a wall against which we can stand while Hazel merrily snaps our images.

As always we will have our own club awards for both member of the year and horse of the year. Your nominations for these positions should be given to Damian, ideally before friday, and if you can include the reasons for your choices all the better Give him a bell or drop him a text on 087 7631911.

And we’re off…pardon the pun

The opening leg of the North West Riding Clubs autumn league kicked off under idyllic conditions. The weather was superb, the courses were fair and, apart from battery issues with the timer, everything ran like clock work. Our club had slightly depleted numbers at the league as some regular competitors had been out on the charity ride out yesterday and chose not to jump two days in a row. The riders that turned up did us proud and got the club off to a good start. The full results are given below


Whilst I’m not generally fond of blowing my own trumpet I reckon that my little hoss deserves top marks for carrying me to a win in my first ever Advanced Intermediate class, despite carting me most unceremoniously at the ride out yesterday. And I can even provide video evidence of the successful jump off round

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