THERE may well have been fewer competitors in the Eventing Ireland amateur classes this season, particularly at EI90 level, but it’s still difficult to find space to mention them all. Here we concentrate on those who won EI110 classes and those who scored more than once at EI100 level.

Reasons for the drop in numbers range from the price of diesel, etc through to the format of the competition. Many riders, particularly those with just the one horse, very much favour the Covid-influenced format of having a dressage time and then going straight through to the jumping phases without having to put your horse in a box or trailer for a couple of hours at a time.

Eight EI110 classes have been staged since the start of the season up to last Sunday inclusive with five being held in the Northern Region and, of these, the first three were won by Denis Currie riding his Irish Sport Horse gelding, Arodstown Aramis, bred by Co Meath’s Carole Douglas.

Currie and his 17-year-old Shannondale Sarco St Ghyvan bay commenced their campaign at Lightsource BP Tyrella (1) on Saturday, March 26th on the back of yet another victory in the Baileys Horse Feeds flexi eventing series at The Meadows.

At the Corbett family’s seaside estate, they comfortably saw off three rivals on that occasion and finished alone in a two-runner class at the same venue in mid April.

However, later that month, they were made to work a bit harder to secure victory at the last of the four Tyrella events, completing the five-runner class on a total of 30.5 penalties as Rachel Keys placed second with her 12-year-old Cassino gelding, Drumnaconnell Bellagio (39.5).

Since then, the combination have had to settle for the runner-up spot at Glenpatrick on Saturday, May 14th, and, seven days later, at Castle Irvine, Necarne (1) where the honours on both occasions went to Tori Dixon and Mawillan.

Denis, who is a partner with the Hillsborough-based building and civil engineering contractor, Lilburn Contracts, puts a lot back into the sport he enjoys so much. “As a committee member of Eventing Ireland’s Northern Region, I am responsible for arranging all our event venues while I am also the Region’s representative to EI’s Dates Committee which arranges the EI calendar.

“I have no major plans for ‘Troy’ and myself as I now just take things one day at a time. I really enjoyed my two runs at the Tattersalls International (in 2018 and 2019) but a large part of that was because it was relatively close to home and the grandkids could stay over. I’m now just happy to enjoy as many of our one-days as possible.

“I really enjoyed the four Tyrellas which had some new fences which Adam (Stevenson) set for us over the different courses. Show jumping is not our forte so I was delighted with a clear last Saturday at Necarne. It’s great to get a double clear there. It’s a truly fantastic venue, the terrain has many unique features and Vina (Buller) set some challenging courses.

“It would be good to have more amateurs in the EI110 class and it has been great to see Tori out these past few weeks. I think my dressage isn’t too bad but hers is at a different level and puts me in my place! While our class is usually small, I always check with the other 110 classes which have the same dressage judge, to see where I really am.”

If you think Denis is looking fitter than ever this season, there’s good reason for it

“Nine super grandchildren can keep you busy at times, especially with three very keen Pony Club members and all the associated activities. Of course Papa keeps all the ponies too as well as still working full time! As I said previously, I am just so thankful to God that I still have the health to enjoy our superb sport, with its fantastic camaraderie, from the saddle!

“Massive thanks to Dora (Beacom), head office, all our committee members and the numerous volunteers, as well as our super landowners and sponsors, who make our sport possible.”