AROUND 60 members of the Irish Pony Club, a mixture of Senior and Junior athletes, attended last Sunday’s national tetrathlon training day which commenced with swimming in Athy followed by running and shooting at Stradbally Hall.

“Over the past two years, Covid has played havoc with the graduation programme we used to have in place,” commented John Flood, chairman of the IPC’s tetrathlon committee. “Hopefully, things will soon be back to normal so we have to get started on selecting squads for the Under 12, Under 15 and Open and Senior teams. We will have more training in the weeks ahead (see the IPC’s website) so those who would like to be selected need to get their memberships paid and get booked in.”

The Co Clare Branch is holding a winter triathlon (no riding phase) on Sunday, February 27th. There will be swimming, running and shooting phases for Senior Boys (over 15 years of age using pistols), Senior Girls (over 15 using pistols) and Junior Boys and Girls (Under 15 using rifles). There will also competitions for Minimus and Fledgling members who will not have a shooting phase.

Two dates, Saturday, February 26th and Sunday, March 6th, have been confirmed for mounted games training which is restricted to members aged 13 or older at the turn of the year.

Last Sunday, the Meath Branch held a combined training show at the Broadmeadow Equestrian Centre where there was a large turn-out with members of the host club being challenged by members of other Branches in Area 7 and further afield.

Pony club veteran

One of the IPC’s best-know equine ‘members’, Capitol Coin, reappeared for another season and the 1996 Seclude gelding made a winning debut in the dressage phase of the 90cms class under his latest rider, Grace Hanna, who is 11 years younger than the chesnut. Meath member Hanna also won the 1m show jumping on the 15-year-old Mullentine Cavalier mare Mullentine Sure Diamond.

Other Meath members to win during the day were Ross McNicholas on Nigrasines Cruise (1m combined training), Olivia Killian on Fizz Bomb (80cms and 90cms show jumping), Isabel Westphal on Clonross Gisele (70cms combined training) plus Cayden O’Luanaigh Power and Tanya Finnegan who, respectively, won the 50cms combined training and dressage only on Poi and Star.

Two of the day’s combined training winners represented the Newcastle Lyons Branch, viz Eabha Lewis on Fairy Dust Sparkles (60cms) and Rachel McMonagle on Tonto (80cms). Cavan’s Arabella Hetherton won the 50cms show jumping only on Mr Murphy while the Ward Union’s Emily Brooks saw off all challengers to top the final scoreboard in the 90cms combined training with Ardagh Mayday.

Members of Branches in Area 17 of The Pony Club (Northern Ireland) have also returned to action following the Christmas break.

Training is taking place for the mounted games competitions at Balmoral Show (May 11th to 14th) and at the Royal Windsor Horse Show (May 12th to 15th) while qualifying continues for the Scotland and Northern Ireland Region Barrier Animal Health Spring Festival at the Morris Equestrian Centre in Ayrshire (April 2nd and 3rd). Members are reminded to have their horses and ponies vaccinated for equine influenza as per The Pony Club rules.

This year’s coaching conference ‘Empowering Coaches to Build Partnerships’ will take place online on Monday, February 7th. The conference will be hosted by international event rider Paul Tapner and the names of guest speakers will be announced shortly.