A VERY well-supported and competitive Area 17 dressage was hosted by the East Antrim Branch of The Pony Club at Laurel View Equestrian last Saturday.

The winning teams and individuals at Open, Intermediate and Novice level have qualified for the JCB Pony Club Championships at Offchurch Bury, Warwickshire in mid-August while the Grassroots qualifiers will be heading to Kirriemuir in Scotland earlier next month.

In Saturday’s Open division, there was only one team forward, East Down We Rock, who were led by the individual winner Caoimhe Crozier riding her mother Christine’s Irish Sport Horse gelding Hill Monarch, a seven-year-old by Masurenfuerst out of a Connemara mare. Crozier had a second team ride with Kildromin Banjo, while the Watson siblings, Katie and Troy, shared the ride on Lissyegan Bay News.

The Iveaghs won the Intermediate team qualifier through Zoe Daniel (Anvil Lodge Pinnochio), Ellie McElroy (Loughdoo Maverick), Kitty Cullen (Coppenagh Spring Sparrow) and Hollie Donnan (Killoughter Nugget). The hosts claimed the individual ticket thanks to the efforts of Patrick Cunningham riding the ISH gelding Embarcadero, a 15-year-old son of Chacoa.

The East Antrim Branch recorded a notable success when their Swallows quartet of Erin McCrea (Rubane Candy), Mya McCullough (Halleys Hero), Erin McClernon (Sundance III) and Katie Flanagan (Million Dollar Bash) saw off eight other squads to win the Novice team qualifier. Having been on a mixed team which finished fifth, Hannah Thompson struck for the Mid Antrim Branch when taking the individual qualifying spot at this level on board the traditionally bred Jemella Charm, a 12-year-old mare by the Irish Draught stallion Loughry Lad.

Comfortable winners

Although 16 teams contested the Grassroots qualifier, the Iveagh Badgers were comfortable winners on an adjusted score of 12 ahead of two North Down teams, the Emeralds (21) and the Rubies (24). The winning quartet comprised Catherin Cowan (Lady Remarque), Beth Wishart (Nutmeg), Tilley Tumility (Millbarr Phynix) and Holly Rice (My Isabella).

There were two individual arenas in operation at this level. In Arena 2, the honours went to the Iveaghs’ Tilley Tumility with her second ride, the Connemara gelding Barnadown Lad, a 10-year-old roan by Illaunurra Lad. The final leaderboard in Arena 3 was topped by North Derry’s Charlotte Killen riding Super Ted.

There was a double victory for Ted Geary in the PC70 as, along with Lily Murphy, Ellie Murphy and Lily Murphy again, he won the team competition for the Iveaghs while, at the same time, winning Arena 1 on Shadow. Molly Clarke of Mid Antrim was the winner in Arena 2 on board Belle.

The North Down quartet of Katie Duff, Holly McCarroll, Amira Greeves and Eirin Wardle won the Wall/Trot team event with individual honours going to the Killultaghs’ Jessica Law on Aria.