THE first leg of the Horse Sport Ireland affiliate combined training challenge 2022 takes place this day fortnight, Saturday, January 29th, at The Meadows Equestrian Centre near Lurgan and there will be six other chances to qualify for the final on Sunday, March 13th at CoilÓg EC in Co Kildare.

The challenge, which aims to encourage the use of correct training on the flat and in jumping, is being run by Eventing Ireland in four of the organisation’s five regions. It will be staged under EI rules and will cover the three eventing disciplines with the use of some cross-country fences where possible.

Qualifiers are open to members of at least one of HSI’s near two-dozen affiliate bodies at the time of entry while horses/ponies may compete on a day registration once passports and vaccinations are up to date as per EI rules. Unless there are enough ponies for a separate class, horses and ponies (138cms to 148cms) will compete together but prizes will be awarded at the final for the highest-placed Pony and Junior athletes who finish in the top 10 in each division.

The dressage tests for the four levels of competition can be downloaded from the EI website through which entries must be made. Prize money will be on offer for every class at each qualifier and at the final and details of the breakdown of same can be found on the website along with all rules regarding entry eligibility, dress and tack rules, etc.

The full list of qualifying dates and venues is as follows: Saturday, January 29th The Meadows EC, Lurgan; Sunday, February 13th Milchem EC, Tynagh and Wexford EC, Tomhaggard; Saturday, February 19th Barnadown Showjumping, Gorey; Saturday, February 26th The Meadows EC, Lurgan; Sunday, February 27th Roscrea EC; Sunday, March 6th Claremorris EC.

The qualifiers at The Meadows will be run in conjunction with the Northern Region’s Baileys Horse Feeds Flexi Eventing series but will be scored separately and entries must be made through the EI website.

The qualifier at Milchem takes place on the same day as the final of the centre’s own combined training league while that at Wexford EC is scheduled for the Sunday after their combined training, dressage and jumping eague finals.