SPRING was most definitely in the air as Cavan Equestrian Centre welcomed the return of National show jumping with the first leg of the Equijump Spring Tour. Everyone was delighted to be ‘back at it’, greeting friends from the far ends of the country and the mood was like the start of term, minus the drag of teachers and homework!

The Spring Tour is such considered an important fixture in the development of partnerships between riders and ponies, with the option of riding the one-star classes before moving on to the tougher two-star competitions and more challenging tracks, but all competitions serve as a stepping stones to Premiers and RDS Qualifiers as well as FEI classes for those with International goals on the horizon.

Reece St John from Equijump, who have sponsored the series for the last 11 years, described the Spring Tour as ‘the grassroots of show jumping,’ and said he valued the opportunity to get involved with the next generation, as many of Ireland’s top International riders cut their teeth in these classes. He said Equijump wanted to help bring pony jumping onto a par with the senior ranks, by providing “the best rugs, the best rosettes and sashes for the winners”.

Lucy McCarthy and Gorm, winners of the Equijump 148cm 1.10m class at the Spring Tour at Cavan Laurence Dunne jumpinaction.net

The first competition in the main arena saw the addition of a Junior section to the COH 110/1.20 class in an effort to help children beginning in Juniors and to make it easier for families who perhaps have siblings freshly out of ponies. This well supported class was won by Cathal McKeon-Devaney and Carrickadawson Womanizer, with Robbie Sheehan an Ahare Olympic Flemmencio in second and Gemma Buckley with Sagans Athena in third.

There was a mammoth entry of over 100 combinations for the 148cm 1.10m one-star. Lucy McCarthy and the speedy Gorm came out on top, with Alex Sheehan and Ballynoe Lurgan Diamond hot on her heels in second with Lily Tunney and OBS Good to Go in third.

The 148cm 1.20m two-star competition saw the first jump-off class of the day with another strong entry of almost sixty ponies where twenty combinations progressed to the second round. Ruben Foley with the wonderful Valma DE Fougnard loomed over the jump-off with an advantageous draw second from last and would have to have been the bookies’ favourite. Sure enough, they proved too good for the rest, taking the win by almost two seconds from Alanna Fagan with her exciting new pony, Ballyfore Rosie, while Charlie Flynn, who had a very busy day with multiple rides, rounded off the podium in third with HK Zena.

The final class of the day in Arena one saw eighteen combinations come forward for the 148cm 1.25/1.30m. S

  • enan Reape showed that anything big brother can do, he can do too, as he partnered Paddy’s gold medal-winning mount, the wonderful Fernando to a classy double clear.
Cian McMunn partnered his relatively new Esperando SK to second place with Lauren Adams and Slieve Bloom Bella Rose picking up third.

Ruben Foley and Valma DE Fougnard winners of the Equijump 148cm 1.20m class at the Spring Tour at Cavan \ Laurence Dunne jumpinaction.net

Arena two

Arena two started off with the class that started many a top rider; the 128cm under 10 two-star competition. Harvey Oscar Foley added to a long list of Foley family successes, with Back In A Flash and The Silver Legend taking first and second respectively wile Georgia Foley and Manordeilo Cardinal’s Dream took third place.

Over fifty combinations came forward for the 128cm 90cm one-star, where Lucy Kent and Hollycreek Oran Splendour took the win with Max Doran and BBS Silver Enigma in second and Georgia Foley and Manordeilo Cardinal’s Dream taking her second third place of the day.

The 128cm 1m two-star was the first jump-off class in arena two where Alice Steele and Sparkling Miss Leglands came out on top of the forty starters. Edward Walsh Jr was close behind with Knockash Lady Bird and Ellie Sheane and Chocolat II rounded off the podium.

Mark Mellett and Knockagaron Fear Bui Falcon took the win in the 138cm 1m one-star, with the remarkable The Hilly Billy still flying at 24 years old with Ronan Gilvarry, and Lucy McCarthy in third with 50 Shades.

The final competition of the day was the 138cm 1.10m two-star. Charlie Flynn rounded off a successful day, taking the win with Western Oreo. James Ryan and the seven-year-old Happy Harry picked up second, with Emily Halford and Dunlewey Redshank rounding off the top three.

A special mention of thanks was made to the Clarke family and the whole team at Cavan Equestrian Centre for hosting a great show as always.