Irish pony athletes had a very successful trip to the Scottish Home Pony International held at The Morris Equestrian Centre on the outskirts of Kilmarnock. Fortunately this venue boasts an extensive indoor arena which was very much appreciated as the weather resembled something from the middle of autumn.
With only one day of team qualification it was the top four Irish athletes in each height category selected class who got to make up the teams which took place on Saturday.
The 128 team was Victoria Thompson ‘Sparkling Mr Tigger’, Karla O’Donnell ‘Dawns Little Princess’, Sophie Doherty ‘Emerald Lucky and Alex Finney ‘Ballyknock Master Roan’. This quartet, half of which were making their team debut, jumped exceptionally well finishing their first round on a zero score as did the other nations.
With the fences raised for the second round the Irish remained on a clean sheet as did the English so a jump off was required. The arena was silent as the youngest of riders took their turn against the clock, Ireland was drawn first and Thompson went clear as did the first English rider, unfortunately O’Donnell dropped the last two rails, but England no 2 picked up four faults. Doherty went clear, her third of the competition and so did the third English rider, down to the wire Finney gave it everything but just tipped a pole in the last line leaving England to go clear for the Gold with the Irish taking Silver.
In the 138 division the team was made up of Elle Johnston ‘Lynncourt Montana’, Victoria Thompson ‘Triple Treat’, Sean Foley ‘K C Lady’ and Alex Finney ‘Coltstown Dun Cruiser’. Once again all four nations were on zero after the first round, but with a raise in fence height for the second round Ireland picked up four faults to take the bronze medal behind Scotland and England who had to jump off for their medals. This relatively inexperienced squad represented themselves very well and rode the rounds of their life.
Ireland took their third medal of the show in the 148 category when finishing in bronze position behind Scotland and England, this team was Carl Webb ‘Future Lady’, Olivia Thompson ‘Simply Dun’, Jodie Giles ‘Whos DJ’ and Beth Doherty ‘Springill Cosmo’. All nations except for Wales remained on zero after round one but a single pole kept the Irish out of the jump off between England and Scotland, none the less the team made up of four dun ponies jumped very well with Giles and Doherty both producing foot perfect rounds.
Earlier in the day the Under 11 team event saw Ireland represented by Yiayan Evans, Charles Heffron, Arthur Conlon and Jemima Heffron, this young team went very well and were unfortunate to be just outside the medal positions.
With the geographical location of this event it was mainly attended by Ulster region athletes with Foley and Giles making the somewhat longer trip from Munster and Leinster, all of whom were well represented in the line ups. Beth Doherty and Springhill Cosmo won the JA Open on day one whilst Leah McVeigh and Classiebawn Scardens Jack taking first in the Foxhunter with Elle Johnston and Knockagarron Fear Bui in runner up spot. Sean Foley and ‘Vintage Montana’ won the 1.05 class first thing on Friday morning as Sara Moore justified her first trip away when winning the Newcomers on ‘Seapatrick Make a Move’. Patrick Boyle completed the Irish success when taking the red rosette in the 1.15 class on Friday evening on board his father Paul’s ‘What a Legend’.
Credit must be given to all our pony athletes and their supporters who made the trip so successful. For a full list of prize winners and results click:
Editorial: Katy Saunders