Into the home straight

With all four legs of the league behind us we can look forward now to a highly competitive final on March 18th. The stormy week and treacherous road conditions took their toll on entries at the most recent leg, with a number of regular attendees deciding that discretion was the greater part of valor and opting to stay home. The format of the league allows competitors to drop their lowest score so most of these riders wont suffer at all in the league table.

I think it’s safe to say the Donegal Gaeltachts have the primary division tied up, with He’s A Dandy earning an extra scoop of oats as he carries his army of riders around both training classes and competitive rounds.

The AP class has turned highly competitive, with Louise Edwards inching ahead of closest rivals Liz Potter and late comer Lauren McLaughlin. With double points available at the final the placings are all to play for, with a further three riders sitting on 10 points apiece.

The Intermediate class is as usual the biggest group. Nineteen riders are on the leader board going into the final, though in this division we have a very clear leader in Patrick Hunter from Tirconail. Riding his old campaigner, Euro Lady, Patrick has been a model of consistency every week as he has taken some hair raising turns in jump offs to win every leg bar one in which his closest rival Veronica Lafferty pipped him to the post. Patrick will need some very bad luck to be beaten at this stage but it aint over till the horizontally challenged lady sings so the final will be nail biting.

The AI class is very well supported this year and shows a great spread of ability across the clubs of the region. Roseleen McGinley leads the charge for the Donegal Gaeltachts but is only two points ahead of our own Dawn Hyndman, who has to keep a tight eye on Tirconails Stephen Greene as he snaps at her heels.

Donegal Gaeltacht bookends the classes by leading the Open/Advanced Open class. This class is exceptionally tight at the moment as Emily Schneider is just one point ahead of club mate Cassandra McGee and Tirconails Bruce Vial. The jump off at the final should prove to be an edge of the seat affair.

The league table can be seen here


League getting interesting as third leg looms

The second leg of our spring league was very well supported despite rotten weather. Riders made do with minimal warm up in the wind and rain swept outdoor arena before tackling the challenges posed by the Seamus McCaffry designed course. Numbers in the primary class were small as always so it wasn’t long till we got up into the 80cm and higher.

Louise Edwards proved a very capable pilot aboard a turbo charged Bob and clinched second place in the AP grade. Her long standing side kick, Hazel, was missing in action but no doubt her long distance support helped boost Louises performance. Enda McClafferty proved the benefit of actually sitting on your horse between shows when he came best of our members in the Intermediate class. Whilst Veronica Lafferty of Inishowen won the class I have to say that the most impressive round of the class was Tir Conaills Charlie Vial, who grew wings and flew around on his big grey. The highly competitive AI class saw three of our members make the placing. Cormac and Dawn have to keep an eye on the young whippersnappers crowding in now as Jade McClafferty makes her presence felt. Bruce Vial had an excellent day with a win and fifth placing in the Open class. It is great to see increasing numbers at this level, which allows these more advanced and adventurous riders enjoy some real competition.

This Sunday sees us back in action at Templemore and, as always, it’s a case of the more the merrier. Come out and enjoy the banter even if you don’t feel like a canter. See you there.


Sculpting postponed but international stardom beckons

We have had to postpone this weeks scheduled sculpting evening at Marina Hamiltons studio but rest assured this event will be taking place as soon as we can wrangle it. In the mean time cast your eagle eyes over the following info which came through from head office and see if you’d be interested in taking part.

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 famous meeting takes place every summer at the Parc Equestre Federal, 41600 Lamotte Beuvron, France from 25th to 27th July 2018. 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.

The Federation Francaise d’Equitation (FFE) helps teams who want to participate in The Generali World Club Tournament to find their accommodation and the horse rental for teams who need it.  It is envisaged that team members will hire horses for this event due to the distance and cost of transportation but it is possible to bring your own (at your own expense obviously!).

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. Let Hazel know as soon as possible if you would be interested in being part of a Letterkenny Riding Club team for this event and she’ll get the ball rolling.

Interested clubs must return their expression of interest form to National Office by Friday 2nd March 2018.  Contact Hazel, or David Abbott at National Office, for further information.

Spring League update

Apologies for the tardy reporting on the first leg of the North West Spring League. A much needed holiday distracted me from equestrian activities on the home front. As the results sheet shows our members were lulling the other clubs into a false sense of security and easing into the competition gently.

1st Ciara Boyle Donegal Gaeltacht
2nd Niamh Sharkey Donegal Gaeltacht

Advanced Primary
1st Liz Potter Donegal Gaeltacht
2nd Geraldine Gough Inishowen
3rd Tommy McGinley Donegal Gaeltacht
4th Hazel Mahoney Letterkenny
5th Katie Doyle Stracomer
6th Lawrence Smyth Donegal Gaeltacht

1st Patrick Hunter Tirconail
2nd Cliff Haley Letterkenny
3rd Ryan McBride Donegal Gaeltacht
4th Patricia Ward Tirconail
5th Shaun Brennan Donegal Gaeltacht
6th Kelly McClafferty Letterkenny

Adv Intermediate
1st Roseleen McGinley Donegal Gaeltacht
2nd Dawn Hyndman Letterkenny
3rd Tara Fergus Stracomer
4th Cormac McCormack Letterkenny
5th Jade McClafferty Letterkenny
6th Anne Chambers Letterkenny

1st Emily Schneider Donegal Gaeltacht
2nd Cassandra McGee Donegal Gaeltacht
3rd Bruce Vial Tirconail
4th Bruce Vial Tirconail

It’s great to see such a strong entry now at the higher grades and all we need now are some new recruits at primary level to provide more competition for the Donegal Gaeltacht duo of Ciara Boyle and Niamh Sharkey. We look strong in the advanced intermediate, which is always a highly competitive class.

As I’m sure you’re all aware by now the second leg of the league has been postponed to Sunday 18th February due to snowy roads and dangerous travelling conditions. Our club is still responsible for running the second leg so lets see you all out in force next sunday. The more the merrier.


Remember that we have our sculpting evening with Marina this coming Friday. Give her a bell on 086-8216335 to book a spot in her studio for what promises to be a most enjoyable and entertaining evening.


Check your gear

Members are reminded, if purchasing a new body protector, to ensure it is of BETA Level 3 (purple) 2009 standard or any later revision to the standard.

Some other equestrian organisations are no longer permitting the use of BETA Level 3 body protectors with the 2000 label from 1st January 2018.

No garments with the BETA 2000 standard have been produced since 2011 making any body protector with this label, a minimum of five years old.

Busy times ahead

At a sociable and productive club meeting in the newly revamped Tir Na nOg bar the calendar for the coming few months was decided, as well as matters arising from the recent inter club regional meeting being discussed. The calendar dates can be seen on the relevant page of this website and a quick perusal of these dates will assure you of both entertainment and education over the spring and into the summer. Some events are still subject to venue availability so do keep an eye on the page for updates. One notable highlight on the spring calendar is our return to Marina’s studio for some therapeutic sculpting on the 16th of March.

Our new club logo is now up and running, with Jenny Coe taking orders for clothing for embroidery. A couple of different styles and weights of jacket were on display at the meeting, alongside warm beanie hats and baseball caps. Contact Jenny on 086-0844748 to order your gear.


2018 spring league

Inter club updates

I apologise in advance for giving you these updates second-hand rather than having actually attended the inter club meeting and being able to report directly. I was obeying HSE directives on treatment of influenza…sleep, and then sleep some more. Fortunately Hazel and Louise kept us in the loop, so I can relay their report.

We have a new club in our region. Stracomer Riding Club has joined the ranks and will be out in force at all the inter club events.

Our club is responsible for running the second leg of the spring league, which is on February 11th. We are also responsible for the first half of the day on March 18th, which is the final.

A hunter trial league, legs of which may or may not include dressage, will be run over the summer and autumn. The running of each leg will be shared between two clubs and provisional dates are as follows; 24th March, 15th July and 30th September.

A number of other diary dates were set and are on our Calender tab.

Being sociable

As we all know riding club is primarily a mounted social club. OK, so it gets competitive on occassion and there can be an educational aspect to the whole thibg, but lets call a spade a spade (or a grape a grape)….it’s the social aspect which keeps us turning out. So I’m delighted to tell you of a number of sociable gatherings coming up which will help to keep you sane through the rest of our delightful winter.

First up is an interclub meeting on the 8th of January. A chance to meet up with friends from all around the county and compare notes about just how out of practice we’ve all been getting over the season of short days and over indulgence on the catering front. The meeting is in the Glencar Inn and kicks off at 8pm.

The 12th of January brings us back to Damian and Nadine’s house for their, now famous, annual Wii night. As previous participants can assure you the craic and hospitality are second to none.

Not to forget that we are a riding club, and that the highly competitive spring league will be kicking off on the 4th of Feb, we have two training nights with Kelda. These are on the 19th and 26th of January.

As a final salute to inter club friendliness we have a bowling night on the 2nd of Feb at Arena 7 in Letterkenny. Arrive to dine at 8pm or, if you prefer to skip the meal and just throw your balls about, you can arrive for bowling at 9pm. Do be sure to let Marina know by Monday 29th of January if you plan on attending as she will need to confirm numbers with the venue. The cost, including the meal, is E22 per person.

For those who enjoy a top class meal, good music and great fun, whilst looking stunning in the process, tickets are now available for the annual Donegal Harriers Hunt Ball. This year the venue is the An Grianan hotel in Burt. Tickets are E45 each and the dress code is of course black-tie. The ball is on the 24th of February and is hugely sociable.

Happy Christmas

Wishing all our members, both two legged and four legged, human, equine and canine, a very happy and peaceful Christmas and a happy and successful 2018.