Let battle commence

Times are out for the Inishowen Show at Eglinton Equestrian Centre tomorrow. The weather forecast is mush better than it has been for the past week so shine up the buckles, polish the leather, plait the steed and ride into battle with us at the first of our National Championship qualifiers.

Remember to bring your entry fees to give to Maura. Dressage entry fees must be paid even if you are unable to compete as the club has already ponied up for them.


Busy weekend ahead

This weekend sees many of us head to Eglinton Equestrian Centre to face the challenges of the Inishowen Riding Club summer show, which incorporates the regional dressage qualifier. We have a great entry from the club, with two dressage teams and a number of individual dressage entries. In addition to the dressage there are the usual range of jumping classes AND a training class at each height category. If this show doesn’t cater for you then none ever will! Lets see a big turnout of supporters from Letterkenny as well as the actual competitors. Our dressage teams are as follows:

Vera, Rachel (Merlin), Cliff (Shadow) and Tanya

Francis, Rachel (Sally Clover Supreme), Kellie

Our individual dressage riders are Lorna, Jayne, Eimear, Suzanne, Leo and Marina. Who would have thought we’d be fielding two teams and six individual riders for dressage?!

The following weekend, the 19th of May, sees us field a team for the team show-jumping qualifier at Tubberbride Equestrian Centre in Collooney, Co. Sligo. The final of the team show-jumping is held at the RDS as part of the Dublin Horse Show, and is one of the most hotly contested competitions of the year. Our team this year is comprised of Rachel, Cliff, Francis and Shauna (Boyle, for those of you who don’t know her!!). The qualifier is always a really good days sport and the more supporters present on the day the better. We really need to get Letterkenny Riding Club flags made….

But let’s not jump the guns and let us enjoy this weekends fun and games, where all our club/team mates will be out supporting the neighbors at their summer show (and hopefully whipping their asses, though if we don’t it’s only cause we don’t want to peak too soon!)

See y’all on Sunday

A great AJTC over for another year

First and foremost I must apologise to everyone who arrived at Eglinton today and discovered that stables were not actually available. It was a genuine mistake on our part and we didn’t know that almost all the stables at Eglinton are now locked up and unavailable. That aside I think we can agree that the show ran pretty smoothly and was very enjoyable. Whilst our club didn’t win any red rosettes (though Rachel’s win in the best-turned-out netted her a very snazzy black and gold one) we certainly gave the other clubs a run for their money, especially in the dressage where we came agonizingly close to a win (apologies from Rachel and Tanya, who will honestly endeavor to remember their tests in future).

Huge thanks are due to the trusty core members who both competed and stewarded today and also a special thanks to non-members like Chloe McClafferty, Finbar Rafferty and Eoin Orr, who gave their time to help out on the day. One person who was absent, but who had done great work in the prize shopping department, was Suzanne Deeney-Wylie. Suzanne was at the NIF in Cavan and took the 4th place rosette on her new mount, Jimmy. Well done Suzanne.

Today was a day for firsts in other ways as ‘Bonzo’, aka Ballylennon Duke, produced his first double clear to keep his team in the running for the jumping prizes, while Regina Toland joined us for her first ever team challenge. I have a feeling that Regina may have bought her sat nav from the same shipment as Tanya and Rachel did….we’ll say no more! Today also saw Jayne Robinson join the Letterkenny ranks as a new member. You’re very welcome Jayne. Fortunately we know you of old and know your sense of humor will fit right in. A very special mention must be given to Cliff’s noble mare, Sally Clover Supreme, who rose above the indignity of being called Sally Clover Hill for the day, to jump four absolutely foot perfect rounds for two different teams, carrying both Cliff and Rachel without so much as a swish of the tail in complaint. I hope she got an extra scoop tonight.

Some photos of a great day.

Riding Club Festival around the corner

20180609_114843We’ve reached the time of year when events seem to be galloping hot on the heels of each other. The annual extravaganza that is the AIRC Riding Clubs Festival is taking place on June 8th and 9th in Mullingar Equestrian Centre. Whilst the 8th and 9th of June are still a strong month away you need to remember that entries close on 2nd May….that’s this coming Thursday! Have a gander at the schedule which you can find on the link below, there really is something for everyone.

Online entries open for 2019 Riding Clubs Festival

Crucial to your enjoyment of the festival is having on-site stabling, and a good camping spot if you are camping (which a huge number of people do). The social life is cracking and the atmosphere is very relaxed for such a massive event. My one piece of advice would be “don’t enter too many classes”. It’s one thing to get value for your journey but the pleasure goes out of the weekend if you’re run ragged trying to be in three different rings at once.

Audrey Jacob Team Challenge Time

Our annual outing to Eglinton, our show-with-a-lid, our celebration of a wonderful past member, is almost upon us. Hazel has been doing trojan work getting things organised and all that really remains is to man the various posts on the day. OK, so there’s the small matter of building the course and laying out the dressage arena, but the important stuff such as putting together teams to defend our honour has been done.

In dressage we’ve got two teams vying for first and second place. One team consists of Rachel, Tanya, Francis and Cliff, while the second team is made up of Vera, Erica, Cliff and Leo. Dressage times for the day are set out below and as you can see we have a pretty busy schedule.

The nations-cup style jumping starts at 12 midday and juggling competitors dressage times with keeping the jumping moving, will require a certain amount of patience and understanding from all involved. Our jumping teams are as follows. Cliff’s Chicks are Cliff, riding Sally Clover Supreme, Rachel on Merlin, Marina and Regina. Rachel’s Gofers are Rachel on Sally Clover Supreme, Cliff on Irish Shadow, Francis and Leo. If nothing else is guaranteed on the day at least we can look forward with confidence to plenty of fun and laughter.

As always the rosettes are to die for and the prizes are well worth the effort of taking part so come early, stable your steed and stake out your vantage point. The gauntlets have been well and truly thrown down by our friendly neighboring rival clubs.

Easter eggs bound to hatch as sun is forecast for weekend

We have the best forecast possible for the Easter weekend and I hope you all find time to get out and enjoy it with your equine partners. Tonight, Thursday, sees us at Greenacres Equestrian in Convoy to enjoy the last of our session of gridwork lessons under the tutelage of Alison Higgins. These lessons have been very enjoyable and beneficial for all the horses and riders attending.

On Monday 22nd Lenamore Stables in Muff is hosting a training show to celebrate their relaunch after the tragic fire during the winter. Their over-hauled arena and newly painted jumps would afford a valuable training opportunity for anyone thinking of jumping at the Audrey Jacob Team Challenge, and the show is very reasonably priced as can be seen from their publicity release:

Easter Monday 22nd April Training Show @ Lenamore Stables, : commencing at 12 midday.

Starter stakes up to 1.10m with all heights in between. Prizes and rosettes on the day,this is a show not to be missed

🌟 There is a special prize for the best turned out rider and pony combination in the starter stakes 🌟

Entry fee €/£7 per class special offer 3 classes with same Horse and rider for €/£15



Inishowen Show and regional dressage qualifiers

The show with a lid is back

Details are available on the flyer below for our annual Audrey Jacob Team Challenge. This very special show, held indoors and with free stabling available for all competitors, is held in memory of a very special lady, for whom the AIRC ethos of enjoying equestrian activities was most important. The camaraderie and craic, which are an inherent aspect of this show, are traits which Audrey held very dear. These, combined with a deep and genuine care for our equine team mates, were Audreys trade marks and we’ll be delighted to welcome as many as possible to keep the spirit of riding club alive and kicking on the 28th of April.

NW Team Challenge 2019



Lots to look forward to

We have a series of three grid-work lessons lined up at Greenacres Equestrian Centre in Convoy. Alison Higgins is coaching and the lessons will suit every level of rider or horse. Grid-work is invaluable for developing rhythm, athleticism and mental agility in the horse. The repetitive nature of grid-work, combined with the gradual increase in the challenge presented to horse and rider, encourages confidence and helps to regulate the horses speed and stride. It allows the rider to concentrate on their own position as well as to develop a feel for how their horse moves under them.

This week’s lesson is at 7pm on Friday, but the following two lessons are at 8pm on Thursdays 11th and 18th April. Contact Hazel if you wish to join in. The cost of the lessons will be E20 per night. These lessons will feed in nicely to our annual Audrey Jacob Team Challenge in Eglinton on April 28th.

Entries for the AJTC will close on Sat April 20th, so anyone thinking of taking part on either a dressage or showjumping team should contact Hazel, who will pass on the expression of interest to Francis, Damian or Marina, who are sorting out the teams for us. The prizes for this show are always superb and this year is no different. It’s always one of the calender highlights and is great value for money as the jumping is run like a Nations Cup, meaning everyone jumps twice regardless of faults in the first round. There is ample free stabling available for everyone, making for a very chilled-out and relaxed day….no juggling horses and tack on cramped trailers or lorries.

Our AJTC will also be a nice opportunity to get in some competitive practice, in both the show-jumping ring and the dressage arena, before the Inishowen show on Sunday 12th May. The Inishowen show is also our area qualifier for the National Dressage Championships on Sunday 18th August. Teams and individuals (Advanced Primary, Intermediate, and Advanced Intermediate) are required to qualify for the championships finals.  Teams may only qualify at their respective regional qualifier while individuals may qualify at any qualifier around the country.

Inishowen’s show is the week before the all-important Horseware Team Show Jumping qualifier in Tubberbride Equestrian Centre on Sunday 19th May. The Horseware Team Show Jumping Championship is open to teams of three or four riders of an affiliated riding club. Eight qualifiers take place throughout the country with the winning team qualifying for the final which takes place at the prestigious Dublin Horse Show in August.

PLEASE NOTE that riders wishing to take part in either the regional dressage qualifiers or the team show-jumping qualifiers must be paid up AIRC members on April 30th so if you’ve been dilly-dallying about getting your membership sorted for the year now is a good time to get your finger out and send it off.

Following the team show-jumping qualifier we have our annual camping trip to Carrickfinn. Those of you who have attended this in the past need no reminding about what a good outing it is, while those of you who haven’t yet enjoyed the spectacular scenery, miles of quiet hacking and bag fulls of after-hours shenanigans, couldn’t begin to appreciate just how much good the trip can do for the souls of both man and beast. As usual Damian is organising paddocks and campsite and if you let him (or the all-encompassing Hazel/Louise combo) know that you’d like to join the outing you will be more than welcome.


It’s a wrap for another spring league

Sunday’s final at Templemore was every bit as exciting for all the competitors as was anticipated. A trait of this years league has been the almost non-existent participation at primary level, and this trend continued at the final with just Ellen Rogers on Rocco tackling the 70cm course and claiming the red rosette.

The AP class was well supported and saw some very hot competition result in Brenda Burke claiming the winners position on the podium with her homebred Bonnie Mismatch. This enabled Brenda to bag enough points to overtake long time league leader Lauren McLaughlin and claim the overall first prize in the league. This is especially fulfilling for someone who has brought on a homebred horse from scratch. Despite not placing at the final Lauren was still able to hold onto fourth place in the league, behind Samantha O’Neill and Lynne Thompson.

The intermediate division has traditionally been one of the largest and most competitive classes. Veronica Lafferty took no prisoners as she set a blistering pace on the gallant Glendine Thunder in the jump-off. Cliff Haley gave chase on both Irish Shadow and Sally Clover Supreme but had to settle for second and third positions. Charlie Vial, Marie Molloy and the ever-improving Francis and Ballylennon Duke, aka Bonzo, filled the remaining positions.

The advanced intermediate class provided a cracking jump-off when all four competitors were clear in the first round. Rachel went first on Merlin and got a lucky clear in a good time of 31.62. Mark Ward had an uncharacteristic stop at the first with Wild Child and Coutney Greene gave a textbook example of how to cut corners on Sonador but unfortunately took one pole down en route. Stephen Greene had it all to play for when he rode into the ring on the enthusiastic Indian Puzzle and he gave it lallty, setting the mare alight from the start. The clocks stopped for him on 31.67, a mere 0.05 seconds behind Rachel. This left Rachel with a secure margin in first place overall.

Cassandra McGee rode a beautiful clear on Bail Me Out in the open class. The clear was enough to beat Bruce Vial whose mounts each knocked a pole, leaving Cassandra to claim the league red rosette.

The league was very well run and I think the addition of new venues was certainly a help in shaking things up, though perhaps the weather gods weren’t always on our side for the outdoor venues. Brenda Burke did a great job as always in her prize shopping, ensuring an interesting and useful selection of prizes for the winners. Courtney Greene benefited from Brenda’s shopping prowess when she was awarded the smashing hamper as a prize for her immaculate turnout at the final. It’s no easy feat to present a white-grey as clean as Sonador was on Sunday. Thanks as always must go to the fleets of volunteers who ran each leg, as well as the course builders Seamus McCaffrey and Alex Deane, and judge Cormac McCormac.

For those of you who want to keep up (or start up) your competitive careers the Benbulben club is running a showjumping and dressage show in Tubberbride on Sunday 7th April. Details on the flyer below.

If you feel that some sociable training would fit you better than the competitive arena you’ll be glad to hear we have a series of Friday evening lessons coming up. Details are being finalised at the moment but if you have a preference for either flatwork or gridwork please let Hazel know asap.