THIS year’s Stepping Stones to Success league at Wexford Equestrian commences next Wednesday week, March 29th, with the first of four weekly qualifiers before the final on Tuesday, April 25th.

Once again, Pat Peare and Orla Roche welcome Childeric Saddles back to their Tomhaggard venue as sponsor of the four-year-old and five-year-old leagues which are open to all breeds of horses with recorded pedigrees. Both leagues have a prize-fund of €3,000 apiece and the Varna Studios trophy will be presented to the four-year-old winner.

There will be two sections to the Treo Eile thoroughbred to competition horse league this year. The novice section is open to horses who have not competed in affiliated dressage, eventing or show jumping competitions in previous years while the open section is for horses who have an affiliated record but have not jumped higher than 1.10m. As usual, this class is open to horses of all ages and the jumping phase is judged on clear rounds/faults.

Treo Eile is providing €1,500 sponsorship for the league while, thanks to a syndicate of riders and trainers, there is a €750 bonus on offer to the highest-placed novice horse whose connections will also be presented with the William Codd perpetual trophy. The Irish Horse Welfare Trust will present a bonus prize of €250 to the highest-placed ex-track/point-to-point performer at the final.

Hoofprint Innovations sponsor the event pony class which is restricted to four to six-year-old ponies with a valid measurement certificate. Ponies do not need to have a recorded pedigree and may be ridden by appropriate adults. Ponies who were placed in the first three in previous years are excluded from the competition.

Two special awards are on offer over the league – the J.P. Sheffield bursary for the leading rider under 23 while the leading rider under 18 will receive the Tiggy’s Trust perpetual trophy and the perpetual shield sponsored by Jessica Harrington. Entries for round one open on at 8pm on Wednesday next, March 22nd and close at 8pm on Friday, March 24th.

Also on Wednesday, Wexford Equestrian is running a Stepping Stones training day (booking required) and is hosting the third qualifier of the Balmoral ‘Star of the Future’ performance horse championships for five-year-old horses and six and seven-year-old horses. Entries for the latter can be made on the Wexford EC website.