DESPITE the very cold weather over the course of the weekend, it did nothing to deter pony riders and their parents who traveled in their droves to Cavan Equestrian Centre for the Cavan December three-day Christmas Show. This year the show was supported by Showjumping Ireland, who sponsored the main classes.

Along with a range of events from Newcomers up to Grand Prix level, Showjumping Ireland felt that it was fitting to host a medal reception to acknowledge the pony gold medal winners that did the country proud at the European Championships in Poland this summer.

On Saturday, a presentation was made to the five members of the team - Eoin Brennan, Paddy Reape, Coen Williams, James Brennan and James Derwin - by chairman of the SJI pony committee, Dessie McFadden. Team Manager Gary Marshall could not be there on the night, but Keith Griffin was on hand to represent the High Performance Squad. After the presentation, there was a small reception followed by a disco for the children onsite.

Speaking afterwards, Des McFadden said: “It’s an honour to present the athletes this evening for their great achievements. Ireland is so lucky to have such talented riders. At Showjumping Ireland, we start leagues from under eights and the foundations for teamwork are there from a very early age. It’s great to see that our national programmes are working in bringing these riders on.”

Retiring riders

Also taking place on Saturday evening was the 148cm Retiring riders class which always proves popular and attracted a large following of 53 combinations, all looking to record their final win in the pony division.

Claiming victory was Ulster rider Ben Walsh when he partnered Miraculous to a clear in 66.41. Leinster’s Cian Byrne and Carra Cave Boy played it safe and came home clear in 69.82 for second place. A clear from Matthew Devlin and Morepark Alamo in 70.74 saw him take third, ahead of Eoin Brennan and GCS Daisy Lux, clear in 71.70.

James Brennan and Coolcronan Liberty delivered a clear with the six-year-old Coolcronan Liberty in 71.88 for fifth. Completing the top six was Connaught rider Edward Feeney and Indie, clear in 72.14.

List of retiring

riders at Cavan

Ben Walsh (U), Cian Byrne (L), Matthew Devlin (U), Eoin Brennan (L), James Brennan (L), Edward Feeney, Camryn Clarke (U), Oliver Doherty (U)

Cathal Hughes, Coen Williams (M), Charlie Keane, Isobella Donohue (L), Bailey Parker (U), Daisy McNamara (M), Ryan Williamson (U), Conor Gilmartin, Lucy McCann (U) Alaoise Regan (C), Nathali Mulumba (M), Anna O’Connor (M), Brian Egan (C Amie Carey C, Cara McFadden (U), Lily O’Dea (M), Nicole Fox (U), Ella Stynes (L), Lily Maguire (M), Libby Moran (M), Stephen Gibbons (C), Natasha Foley (M), Ciara Quinn (M), Lucy Rhatigan (L)

Esme O’Hagan (L), Katie Tobin (M), Niamh Ambrose (M), Tia Smith (U), Anna Tarpey (C), Marta Hughes Bravo (L), Beth Thompson (U), Mia Murphy (L), Cáit Kenny (L), Sadhbh Slattery (M), Lauren Murphy (L), Molly Smyth (L), Ellie Pothmann (L), Chloe Roche (M), Faye Newman (L), Lisa McGrath (C), Charlotte Doyle (U), Katie Gibson (U), Jenny Dunlop (U)