IPC Festival Barnadown \ Margie McLoone

THE Irish Pony Club Festival was held at Barnadown on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of last week when, for the first time, there was live scoring of the combined training and pure dressage classes and, in another first, the prizes for these disciplines were provided by Plusvital.

“I had a super-efficient team of scorers, led by Jane Power,” said Kate Harvey, the IPC’s chair of dressage and combined training. “We used live scoring for the dressage and combined training, and it was very successful as people anywhere could access the results in real time as they were entered by the scorers.

“We had full classes apart from the Open combined training for older members so it was a busy couple of days for the scorers, especially with two dressage judges per arena, and officials. However, there was a lovely relaxed atmosphere and the weather was kind to us, so everyone have spoken with has said that they had a really enjoyable time.

“Members attended from all over Ireland, and the ribbons were well distributed among the Branches. The dressage judges commented on the improved standard of dressage among the IPC members, which is very encouraging, especially as the Intermediate and Open combined training riders, who have qualified, will be competing at the Dublin Horse Show in a couple of weeks.”

The Kildares won two of the four trophies on offer in the pure dressage section, namely the Bill Fisk memorial shield for the winning team and the Ronan Cup for the best individual.

The Branch fielded two pure dressage teams and it was their ‘Amigos’ quartet who came out on top on a combined score of 73.53%. The team comprised Lucy Maughan (Valley View Sammy), Rachael Doyle (Lyra Oberon), Sarah Bradford (Candy West) and Eva O’Neill (Woody Sammy).

The strength of the Branch in this phase was underlined by the fact that their ‘Hot Shots’ squad of Ella Butler, Jessica Reid, Ruby Hughes and Tom Nestor finished second on 70.37. Here, Nestor partnered his new ride for this season, the Connemara mare Tullaree Ruby Tuesday, as this weekend he represents Ireland at the European pony eventing championships in Poland on Freddie. The three-rider Carbery team of Eimear Hayes, Laoise O’Driscoll and Niamh Verkade was third on 69.74.

Bradford claims Ronan Cup

When it came to individual honours, Kildare members filled four of the top five placings with their winning representative being Sarah Bradford who claimed the Ronan Cup having won the ride-off on a score of 72.67 with the Irish Sport Horse mare Candy West, a nine-year-old bay by Sligo Candy Boy.

In finishing fourth on 71.55, Wexford’s Molly Hennessy Murphy prevented a Kildare whitewash of the top placings while she also won the Cossack cup for riding the highest-placed pony, the 14-year-old grey gelding My Late Find.

Waterford’s Clodagh Shanahan Rice, who was seventh on 69.4, was the recipient of the Rincoola trophy for the best Junior riding a horse, in this case the six-year-old Ars Vivendi mare Coolfinn Vivendi.

Rachael Doyle was the Kildares’ sole winner in the combined training section where, in spite of two time penalties show jumping, she won the Cahill trophy in the Intermediate division riding Lyra Oberon (71.12%), a nine-year-old ISH gelding by Mermus R.

Here, the Newcastle Lyons Branch scored twice through Darragh Whyte, who landed the Novice on board the 16-year-old gelding Two Tone Tommy (78), and Hazel Gleeson who, with one time penalty, won the Junior class, and with it the Red Mills Engraving trophy, on board Remondi Bobtail (71.25), the 17-year-old skewbald gelding on whom she is lying second in the Connolly’s Red Mills Junior eventing league.

The Ward Union struck at Open level where the IPC Members cup was presented to Ciara O’Sullivan who, despite a fence down show jumping for a total of 68.12, held on to win with another 17-year-old skewbald gelding, Garveys Joy (by Cavalier Two For Joy).

Most of the combined training classes took place on the Thursday but the Festival opened the previous day with two competitions for the IPC’s younger members.

The Under 10s’ competition was won by Tipperary’s Cara Halley on Brandon Zimbabwe (78.85), an 11-year-old gelding by Gigman Orinoco, while the honours at Under 12 level went to Killinick Branch member Pippa Howitt riding Lucky (74.75).

Big influence

The jumping phase proved more influential than usual, with poles down and/or time faults. “The course, which was designed by Tom Holden, was also used at all of the Area Qualifiers where it rode well, though with some knocks,” commented Kate Harvey. “For the Festival, the course builder was John Doyle who is the resident course builder at Barnadown.

“There were quite a few knocks and the combined training scoring is such that the jumping faults are subtracted from the dressage score expressed as a percentage, so this can have quite a big influence, especially if the dressage scores are close.

“This has caused weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth at the Area qualifiers in the context of qualifying for the Intermediate and Open championships at the Dublin Horse Show.”