THERE were 33 starters in the Horse Sport Ireland CCI1*- Intro class at last week’s Ballindenisk international horse trials but only three combinations completed on their dressage scores and they filled three of the top four placings, headed by Amelia McCarthy on Finsceal Endeavour.

One pairing was eliminated in the dressage while three got the big ‘E’ across the country on Sunday. However, the show jumping phase had a major effect on the results with one combination being eliminated while only three left the ring without picking up any additional penalties. To be fair to Meath Branch member Clodagh McGauran, who was competing outside the confines of the Irish Pony Club for just the sixth time, she left all the poles intact with Cruising Caricello but was a second over the time to finish eighth on 41.5.

John Lyttle (C) and Faith Ponsonby (B) comprised the ground jury for this class and their dressage winner, on 28.2, was Co Kildare’s Rolline O’Callaghan and Splendid B. Three poles on the floor put paid to their chances however and with penalties ranging from four to 32 on the Saturday, the lead kept changing.

In contrast, few had problems on the final leg after which McCarthy, who had one error in her dressage test, claimed the honours on her mother Zazel’s seven-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare Finsceal Endeavour (35.1). She scored narrowly from Gilby Monaghan aboard the Connemara mare Longwood Laura, who had a fence down show jumping for a total of 35.9, while Orla Treacy finished third with the traditionally bred Caislean Rí (38.1).

“The aim now for Finsceal, and for my other horse Tillystown Girl, is to get their qualifications so that I can be considered for the Junior team next season,” said McCarthy who is in Fourth Year at Maynooth Community College. She trains with the high performance coaches while Nicola Ennis has also been helping her since Amanda Goldsbury, who first produced the Ballindenisk winner for the McCarthys, moved to Cooley Farm.

“It was a great event and everyone was so nice,” said the 16-year-old. “The show jumping track was quite difficult as it was technical; it looked easy but wasn’t. In contrast, the cross-country course was nice and inviting and not too technical!

“I wouldn’t be able to do any of this without my Mum who helps me with the horses by either lungeing them or doing flatwork and working on their fitness. I have three horses, the two competition ones and a four-year-old Connemara/thoroughbred cross filly called Possextown Star who was bred by Sneezy Foster.”

We leave the last word to mother/owner, Zazel. “This was a really well-run, well-organised event and I’m delighted for Amelia as it was great for her to end the season with an international victory.”