MEMBERS of Branches of the Irish Pony Club and of those in Area 17 of The Pony Club (Northern Ireland) have a lot to look forward to in the months ahead, with Area 17 staging its own Barrier Health Spring Festival this year at Castle Irvine, Necarne.

The Festival takes place on the weekend of March 23rd and 24th, when there will be dressage over both days, show jumping on the Saturday and arena eventing on the Sunday. There will be a party on Saturday evening. Branches started holding qualifiers back in October and will continue to do so until Sunday, March 10th. Entries close on Thursday, March 14th.

IPC members are welcome to enter individually with no selection criteria - see the link on the Area 17 Facebook page.

Next week, Area 17 teams for the dressage, mounted games and Tetrathlon competitions at the Royal Windsor Horse Show (May 1st to 5th) will also be announced.

Mounted games

The IPC mounted games committee held its selection day recently for Royal Windsor, Bath and West and Scotland, while the dressage committee is currently running an online competition to select its team of five for Royal Windsor.

Members interested in being selected should record themselves riding the relevant test on the animal they would compete at Royal Windsor and submit their video by 11.59pm on Thursday next, February 29th. The videos will be assessed by a Dressage Ireland listed judge. Further details can be found on the IPC Facebook page.

There has been plenty going on at Branch and Area level, with many delighted members passing various Pony Club tests.

The Meaths held a very successful inter-club show jumping event at the National Sport Horse Arena, Blanchardstown, two weeks ago with classes running from cross-poles up to 1m. Most of the competitors represented the host branch, but there was good support also from the Ward Union and Rathfarnham, with a few individuals representing the Cavan, Louth and Newcastle Lyons Branches.

Other news

In further show jumping news, Anne-Marie Hynes (West Waterford) and Kym Moore (Tullylagan) spent a week recently at the Army Equitation School, which was the prize they won for winning the 1.20m Classic Show jumping Final in CoilÓg back in September.

They got the opportunity to train with Comdt Sharon Crean, 2/Lt Ruairi Clarke and even ‘the boss’, Lt Col Tom Freyne, as well as lectures and demonstrations.

“Overall it was an incredible experience and what we learned was invaluable,” said Anne-Marie Hynes.

“We would greatly encourage everyone in the pony club to aim for this training bursary, it is a once in a lifetime opportunity and definitely something money cannot buy!”

Those looking ahead to the start of the Tetrathlon season have been getting in some running, shooting and swimming practice, as there are a few biathlon and triathlon events being staged ahead of the Carr & Day & Martin winter Triathlon final in Athy on Monday, March 18th. The Co Clare Branch is holding a Triathlon tomorrow.

The IPC conference was held last Saturday in Horse and Jockey and a training day open to all instructors, where three CPD points will be awarded, has been scheduled for March 25th at the Tipperary Equestrian Centre, Thurles.

Members, and their parents/guardians, are reminded that body protectors meeting the 2009 standard will no longer be permitted for use within the IPC or Area 17 and that the Beta 2018 Level 3 label will be the only accepted standard.