CCI2*-S (P)

STAND up (in your stirrups) and take a bow Georgina Pettit who, in a class of 14 starters, recorded the only double clear, with the only clear show jumping round, to win the CCI2*-S for ponies at Ballindenisk last weekend on her mother Marguerite’s Connemara gelding, Ballyerk Black Beauty (31.2 penalties).

On Saturday, with show jumping penalties ranging from four to 16 in the sand arena, Pettit’s sole faultless round moved the Co Wexford rider up from fifth to first, a position she cemented when clear again the following afternoon. All others in the class also came home without further jumping penalties on the final leg – although two failed to beat the clock.

Ireland’s Marie Hennessy (C) and Paula Geiger (B) comprised the ground jury for this class and following their judging of the dressage phase Co Wexford’s Ava Dowley topped the leaderboard on the Irish Sport Horse mare Cullion Kemira (29.4), a traditionally-bred 13-year-old grey by Gantry Blazer who was to drop to second with four show jumping penalties.

It was a similar story for the remainder of the final top six whose completion scores all contained four show jumping penalties – Co Kildare’s Tom Nestor with Freddie (33.8), Co Meath’s Matthew Love on Lucky For Some (35), Co Westmeath’s Josh Williamson on Ardeo Fireman (37.3) and Co Kildare’s Claire O’Ryan with Carhu Melody (37.6).

Co Wicklow’s Oleana Cowan, who had been lying third after dressage on 30, disappointingly dropped right out of the reckoning when amassing 12 show jumping penalties with Ballylee Roller.

Ballyerk Black Beauty, who was one of seven Connemaras in the class, is an 11-year-old grey gelding by Joyces Cuckoo. He was bred in Co Tipperary by Pat Blake out of the Windy’s Boy mare, Ballamore Castle Ellen Blue Jean. Marguerite and her husband James, who are involved in dairy farming and potato growing in Our Lady’s Island, purchased the gelding from Blake as an eight-year-old.

“He very, very green at that stage so Georgina has done all the work with him,” said a proud and delighted Marguerite. “Even though she was quite young, she fulfilled a dream by competing with him in the 153cms working hunter class at Dublin in 2019. She has competed him with Dressage Ireland and was on the young riders’ development squad with Jillie Rogers and Anne Marie Dunphy.

“However, he is an out-and-out event pony and once he has had a bit of a break, he will do another couple of internationals, possibly at Millstreet but definitely at Kilquilkey. We have since bought another Connemara from Pat, Ballyerk Lover, who Georgina will bring on for her sister Sarah (10) to ride. He has done four EI90 (P) classes in this his first season, winning three times.

“While I taught Georgina when she first started riding through the Irish Pony Society and the Killinick Pony Club, her main coach since we got Ballyerk Black Beauty is my brother, Kieran Furlong. She is also supported by the pony HP team, South East Region YDS and Mark Ruddock,” concluded Marguerite. Georgina (15) is in third year at Loreto Wexford.