CLONLARA Riding Club picked up two titles at the Equipeople-sponsored AIRC National Eventing Championships at Ballycahane Equestrian in Limerick last Sunday.

The first title came in the Equipeople RC 90 championships where Sarah Sherlock claimed the spoils on Blackfort View. The Ardnacrusha resident was level with Donna Murray (Kiko Temple) on 25.3 penalties from Dalysgrove but Sherlock’s time of 5.03 was nearer to the cross-country optimum time giving her the nod.

Sherlock said afterwards: “I’ve had Blackfort View since she was six-years- old. She’s a real character, almost like a human, and she can be a little sassy at times. We’ve been competing together for 10 years now and we’ve had lots of wins but this is our first national title so I am absolutely thrilled.”

Some 23 riders contested the Equipeople RC 80 Championship where Louise Kiernan came out on top with less than five penalties to spare on Lissroe Coleen. The Clonlara rider was in third place after dressage on 20.9 but went on to win after her 15-year-old grey mare picked up four penalties over the coloured poles but went clear across the country to finish on 24.9. Donna Sinnott had to settle for the runner-up spot after the Thomastown and District rider added 12 penalties in show jumping to finish on 29.3.

Kiernan was thrilled with her win, commenting: “I was so happy with my amazing little pony who tries her best always, she’s a family pony that we have had for 10 years and I have shared her with my three daughters.

“She competed at the recent Irish Pony Club Eventing Championships at Tattersalls where I was chief groom, so this win was my big reward.”

Pillar to post win

Kellie Adamson led from start to finish in the Equipeople RC 100 Championship after the Rathfarnham rider was one of just two riders in the competition to finish on their dressage score. Adamson, riding the 12-year-old brown ISH gelding, Ark Supreme, landed the spoils on 28.0, five penalties ahead of Joan Sinnott who took second place on Newtown Wilson for Ballycanew.

Adamson said: “It was a fantastic well run day where I achieved a personal best of 72% in dressage. Cross-country is Niro’s favourite discipline and from fence three out on course, he was in autopilot mode. The time allowed was generous for his long galloping stride and the commentator quipped that he looked like he wants to go around that course again!”

John Gavin enjoyed a special win in the Equipeople Young Horse competition after the Ashbrook rider won with his home-bred Holywell Contender.

Gavin was out in front after dressage and went on to win the competition after his five-year-old bay ISH gelding had nothing to add from the jumping phases. Lisa Doran was next best on Cassanovas Diamond for Moyglare on 29.3.

“It’s a long wait to get them this far, and the parents are delighted too as they look after them as youngsters at home,” Gavin said. “He’s by Contendro 1 x Crosstown Dancer. He was strong and had a huge stride as a youngster, so I’ve spent a lot of time working on his flatwork.

“He won the AIRC Young Horse Dressage Championships 2022, and the same class at the Festival this year.

“He is still green cross-country and hasn’t had many outings, this was only his second event, so it was a bit of a gamble but I’m delighted it paid off.”

Solon back again

Kate Solon landed the Equipeople RC 110 and RC 120 title for the second time after a narrow contest where the Greenhills rider had just 1.5 penalties to spare. Solon, who previously won the title in 2016, ended the day on 43 penalties after Oakport Ringo Star picked up 11-time penalties in show jumping.

Solon said afterwards: “I previously won this seven years ago on a friend’s horse but today’s win is extra special as I was riding my own horse. We’ve had a great season this year and Ringo can be very quirky and spooky to ride at home but always pulls it out of the bag on competition days. What he lacks in size he makes up for with bravery and he jumped two beautiful rounds at Ballycahane.”

Elsewhere Helena Ryan won the Equipeople RC 80 Open after the Arderin rider finished on 30.8 while Hayley O’Shea claimed the Equipeople RC 70 Combined Training on Zafeen Style.