IT has been an extremely busy period for all those involved with the Irish Pony Club as the Festival which took place this Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at Barnadown followed three Connolly’s Red Mills eventing qualifiers within the space of five days.

This weekend, the Route Branch in Area 17 (Northern Ireland) of The Pony Club is running the Area Tetrathlon 2022 at which over 40 IPC members will be competing. In total, there will be around 150 competitors of all ages. The riding and running phases take place today at Dirraw Farm, Finvoy with the swimming and shooting phases scheduled for the Joey Dunlop Leisure Centre in Ballymoney tomorrow. Watch out for all the motorbikes on the road today heading to the Armoy races further north in Co Antrim!

Thirty IPC members are travelling over to Devon in south-west England next week for the home international senior competition which runs from Friday to Sunday, August 5th to 7th. The action will be centred on Taunton School and the nearby Pontispool Equestrian Centre where, historically, there has been a very low number of clears in the riding phase.

On Bank Holiday Monday, August 1st, the Scarteen Branch is staging the penultimate leg of the Connolly’s Red Mills series at Hillcrest Equestrian, Galbally, Co Limerick with the final qualifier taking place under the auspices of Area 5 on Saturday next, August 6th, at Kilguilkey House, Mallow which is the venue this weekend of international horse trials.

Jockey skills course

Looking forward, it’s great to see that, in association with the Racing Academy & Centre of Education and The Curragh racecourse, the IPC is once again able to offer a Jockey Skills Training Course to members who are aged 14 to 16, are under nine stone and have passed the IPC ‘C’ Test.

The course will take place at RACE on Friday, September 30th and Saturday, October 1st at RACE and the fee of €220 will cover full-board at RACE. Course participants who pass an assessment will have the opportunity to take part in an exhibition race at the Curragh on Saturday, October 8th, when the main card will feature the Group 3 Staffordstown Stud Stakes and two listed races.

For the exhibition race, members will partner the pony/horse they usually ride in Pony Club activities. Horses currently racing or ponies that are involved in pony racing are not allowed. Members must nominate their mounts one week before raceday detailing the history of their pony/horse. A very detailed application form needs to be filled in and returned to the IPC office in Urlingford, or by email, by Monday, August 15th.