THE pony show jumping set headed ‘Into the West’ as Ard Chuain Equestrian Centre played host to the second leg of the Hive & ESI Premier Series. Nestled in the trees just off The Wild Atlantic Way, jumping kicked off early with the COH class, which saw local boys Conrad Sweeney (Ardagh Cordubh) and Cian McMunn (Captain Marko) taking the top two steps on the podium, while Isobel Sheehan (Ahare Olympic Flemmencio) who had a little further to travel, took third.

The U10 Premier is always a fast class with lots of audience participation as onlookers cheer on the youngest speed merchants as they learn their craft. The winner here was Lucia Keane riding Dutch Lady, with another local boy, Edward Walsh Jnr, riding Carra Pepper, in second. Lucy Kent followed up her great win at Balmoral with third place on Grantstown Snoopy.

The Sheehan family from Kilkenny had more reason to celebrate when Isobel’s younger brother, Robbie, took first place with Hes A Touch Of Magic, while Lucy McCarthy cemented her new partnership with the legend that is The Silver Legend coming a close second in a very competitive class. Charlie Flynn rounded off the top three with Penchwintan Glynie. All three of these combinations have already booked their tickets for the RDS so we can look forward to some great duels at Ballsbridge in August.

The 138 Premier was dominated by the strong contingent from Leinster, with Lauren Adams and Riot del Pegulil putting in a blistering round to win.

Annie Boland was hot on her heels in second riding Mayfly Black Pennell. Ruben Foley has already made an impact in his first few months in 138 ponies and he took third place with Sparkling Boomastasia.

Dead heat

The 148 Premier saw an unusually crowded podium with a dead-heat on the top step between Eoin Brennan riding GCS Daisy Lux and Alexandra Kiernan on board Sweet Renees Girl. Annie Boland took the second step in her second class of the day, this time riding Elle Birken while cousin, Isabelle Boland, took third with Ardfry Skye.

The six/seven-year-old Starfinder class saw Aine Shortall continue her good run of form with Bungi, while Aoife Leahy, riding Sinoia Kariba, took second place and the very, very local Paddy Reape took third with Air Line CK Z.

Arena two started off with arguably the most important classes of the day, the Walter Reape 50cm Newcomers and the Equestrian World of Maynooth Discovery classes, the classes that kick start all our youngest riders in the sport. It was wonderful to see our smallest competitors riding laps of honour with the music playing as they went.

The development of our young riders and ponies continued with the Mullingar Horse Sales- sponsored Young Pony Series and the Bob Sweeney Future Champions classes.

Winner of the 128 Bob Sweeney was local girl, Ella Rush with Tower View Lady. Mia De Bromhead made the long trip from Waterford worthwhile, winning the 138 class with Jalisco T and there was another Connaught win for Katie Nallon in the 148 class with Walks Like Rihanna.

With HSI European Pony Trials also taking place, there was jumping on offer for all levels of riders and ponies in the sport.

The entire Reape family should be congratulated for their trojan work, harrowing arenas, building courses, cleaning fences, stewarding and presenting prizes to keep the whole show running smoothly.