BRITISH riders were outnumbered 23-8 by the Irish in the Jod-Z CCIP2-S at Ballindenisk last weekend but a trio of the visitors finished first, third and fifth in a class where 10 combinations failed to finish.

With a fence down show jumping, Florence Drewitt won on her mother Helen’s 10-year-old grey gelding Crossgales Into The Blu (31.4) who, sadly, has no recorded pedigree; Arabella Henderson finished third on the Irish Sport Pony mare Our Billy Eile (by Billy Mexico), whose total of 40.4 included 6.8 cross-country time penalties, and with 10.8 time penalties over the fixed fences, Clara Wilson was fifth on Atlantic Dreamer who was previously ridden here by Ruth Burke.

As she is just 13 years of age, it’s not surprising that this was a first international win for Drewitt who is a member of the Chiddingfold Farmers’ Branch of The Pony Club. However, this talented show pony rider does have a Burghley victory to her credit, that coming last year in the 133cms Gold Cup on the eye-catching skewbald gelding Captain Foley.

Smullen runner-up

Two Irish riders with racing connections completed on their dressage scores with a pair of traditionally bred Irish Sport Horses by Connemara sires. Thirteen-year-old Sarah Smullen finished second on the 15-year-old Westside Mirah gelding Cloughreagh Charlie (34.2), with whom she finished sixth of 29 in a CCI1*-Intro at Kilguilkey House in July, while her former Kildare Pony Club teammate, Isabelle Walsh (14), who was competing in her first international, placed sixth on the 12-year-old Dunlewey Seamus mare Lucky For Some (44.1).

Of those who failed to finish, one British combination withdrew, two Irish combinations retired across the country where seven combinations, including one British pairing, were eliminated, two for rider falls.

Jane Kinsella, Horse Sport Ireland’s pony eventing team manager, commented: “Huge thanks to the Fell family and all their support teams for facilitating the Jod-Z CCIP 2* - it was a fantastic competition from start to finish.

"The atmosphere was electric throughout as it was both the final International pony competition for some combinations and the very first International for many others.

"On this occasion it was the newcomers who stamped their authority.

“The Ireland gold quartet of David Kiely, Tadgh O’Haire, Holly Ross (fourth individually on Star Of Hollymount) and Isabelle Walsh, three of whom were competing in their first International, topped the leaderboard in the Youth Exchange Team Challenge.

“These young athletes coped incredibly well with the tough weather conditions, stayed focused and brave throughout and posted some really positive scores. It is so exciting to see how bright the future of our sport is with this level of talent coming through.”