2-Phase is a great success

Whilst our club members didn’t take home much in the way of silverware from Drumanoo, they certainly gained very valuable cross country experience and laid a foundation for the rest of the league. The photos taken on the day show what a beautiful venue Charlie and Mona have developed and the weather Gods played ball on the day. Check out the photos in this album


Time to celebrate, and to plan the next victory

The final of the spring league (check out https://letterkennyridingclub.com/gallery-2/2018-spring-league/) was held on a bitterly cold, but dry and bright, day on Sunday. Attendance was a bit lower than expected but the level of competition was very high as riders took on the challenging course of dog legs, doubles and bending lines. The combination of desiccated Christmas trees, cottages, wavy planks and imposing green castles, took a surprisingly small toll as horse and rider partnerships showed the advantage of some continuous league outings.

Having ironed out some misunderstandings regarding training classes, the day got underway with the primary grade where Niamh Sharkey pipped Ciara Boyle for poll position on the day, also winning the primary league outright. Ciara held onto second place in the league, ahead of Paula Doohan, who was unable to attend the final. The hero of this grade is without doubt He’s A Dandy, who ferried his enthusiastic riders so safely each week. Credit must also go to Patricia Warren who has been so instrumental in encouraging and enabling riders at this level to join the AIRC and avail of the fun and support to be enjoyed.

The advanced primary grade has been extremely competitive throughout the league and some riders have made huge strides over the course of the spring, not least our own Hazel and Louise. Whilst the final day did not quite go to plan for Louise she had done so well on previous legs that she still snagged second place overall in the league, beaten only by the highly consistent Liz Potter of the Donegal Gaeltacht. Inishowen’s Lauren McLaughlin and Lynn Thompson took home the third and fourth place rosettes but despite missing a crucial week Hazel still took home a rosette for fifth, leaving Tommy McGinley to mop up sixth place glory for the Gaeltachts.

The nineteen riders on the intermediate leader board had provided the spectators with some exceptionally exciting jump-offs over the space of the league but none more so than at the final, where Kellie McClafferty took full advantage of previous experience over the jumps to hurtle to a win on her new mount, beating Patrick Hunter of Tirconail into an unaccustomed second place. Rachel and Merlin gave the winning pair a run for their money, knocking two seconds off the winning time but unfortunately catching the second element of the double in the process. Kellie’s win at the final wasn’t quite enough to shift Patrick off the winners podium for the league, but it was enough to secure her second place ahead of Veronica Lafferty. Cliff Haley claimed fourth position on the ever enthusiastic Shyla, with Tirconails Tricia Ward and Charlie Vial in fifth and sixth respectively.

The advanced intermediates battled it out in style, with Dawn Hyndman swapping the previous day’s ski slopes for the winning ride on Colorado. Cormac put in one of his most stylish exhibitions to claim second place on the day but got pushed to third in the overall placings by the game and gutsy Roseleen McGinley aboard a somewhat difficult ride. Stephen Greene and Rudy Hermans were joined in the rosette lineup by Jade McClafferty, who had done enough in early legs to be able to miss the final and still claim a ribbon.

For the first time in the history of the league (I think) the open/advanced open class was truly competitive and very well supported, not least of all by Bruce Vial, who competed on two mounts at almost every leg. Definitely a class bolstered by the bravery of youth the winning Donegal Gaeltacht rider, Cassandra Magee, lead home Emily Schneider, with Bruce taking both third and fourth places. Letterkenny’s Shauna Boyle took the penultimate spot ahead of Laura Schneider.

The league was a resounding success and was very well supported and enjoyed. Huge thanks must go to all who helped out over the course of the spring, especially those who braved the bitter conditions in the outdoor arena to steward the warm-up. As always the results service provided by Liz was second to none and the photography and video coverage supplied by various supporters was much appreciated.

SO WHAT NOW?? Well we certainly have plenty to look forward to. This friday evening Charles Maudlin is giving a talk on crosscountry rules and regulations. This is taking place in Kinnegar Brewery in Letterkenny (beside/behind Arena7) and should prove to be an enjoyable and sociable way to come to grips with the intricacies of hunter trialling and eventing. From the permitted tack and turnout to the meanings of the various flags on jump options, rules regarding timing and how to mark a score sheet…it will all become clear on Friday. Contact Ryan McBride on 083 1662201 to book in for this event.

On sunday, if weather and ground conditions permit, we have the first event in the two-phase league taking place at Drumanoo Equestrian. This is an excellent chance to get in some cross country training before heading south on the 8th of April for the national hunter trial championships in Flowerhill, Co. Galway. Anyone who wishes to take part in the two phase this sunday should already have their entry in with Hazel as the event is strictly pre-entry.

Our next AIRC outing is a dressage and showjumping training day on Easter monday. This event is being held in Twin Towns Equestrian Centre and is being coached by Tony Ennis, a great riding club advocate and supporter. RC training day



Are you an Advanced Primary rider?

The optimum rule for advanced primary show jumping competitions is being changed for the season ahead.

In Advanced Primary competitions, riders will incur time penalties should they exceed the time allowed in the first round.

In the second round, however, the optimum time will be calculated by subtracting three seconds from the time allowed and this will create a three second window where riders will not incur penalties until they exceed the time allowed. The winner shall be the rider nearest to the optimum time with the lowest penalties.

In primary competitions, the optimum time will be calculated by subtracting 3 seconds from the time allowed and riders will not incur time penalties should they go over the optimum time.

Advanced Primary riders are now permitted to wear spurs in pure dressage and showing competitions.

This does not apply to any jumping class such as performance or working hunter, show jumping or cross-country.

Under existing rules, only blunt spurs of plain metal may be used and the tip must contain metal. Spurs that have a smooth rotating rubber or plastic ball on the shank may also be used.

The spur, however, may not exceed 2 cms when worn by Advanced Primary riders.

Advanced Primary riders may also wear spurs in showing classes but this not include performance or working hunter competitions.

The rule changes will be available in the 2018 rule book which will be published shortly.

Cross country and/or dressage anyone?

All entries and entry fees for the two phase league need to be with your Hazel, Louise or Maura before Sunday 18th March . All fees must be paid in full through club secretaries, as it is a club cheque that will be sent for the clubs entries. There will be NO REFUNDS and no entries will be accepted without payment.

€15 xc entry
€15 dressage entry
€25 for both disciplines


Chill out weekend before big final

As we all need a chance to de-stress and commune with nature every now and then, it’s great to have the opportunity this weekend to enjoy a spring rideout together. Dawn is organising a rideout which is leaving Twin Towns Equestrian Centre at 2pm on Sunday. This will be a welcome chance for ourselves and our horses to get together for a non-competitive outing on a day which is currently forecast to be dry and mild. If you are hoping to make the rideout give Anne a bell on 0876106796.

A quick reminder for anyone planning on competing at this years national hunter trials. The online entry system for the National Hunter Trials opens on Saturday 24th March and will close again on Thursday 29th March at 12:00 midday. You will only be permitted to select horses from the list that are registered with the AIRC, so unless your horse is registered you will not be able to complete your entry. If your horse is not already registered with the AIRC you will need to fill in the

Horse Registration Form | F06_11 Horse Registration Postal Form. 

It is crucial that your horse has a passport in which it is named and also you will need your Equine Premises Registration Number. If you have booked a stable through Marina the payment of E25.00 is now due.

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.