THE sun gods were smiling on Barnadown on November 5th, where Ballycanew RC were hosting the final of the AIRC South East SJ league.

The tension was palpable as riders walked the course and readied themselves to take on the course of coloured poles designed by Will Kearney under the watchful eye of judge Aoife Fenlon.

The clocks were set and the day started with some lovely a clear round from Melody Williams who won on the day. Second in this RC70 class was Louise Ryan. An unfortunate deviation on course gave Wendy Murphy an additional four faults to put her in third for the day. Of course, finishing positions were all important as there were 1.5 times the points up for grabs.

Straight into the RC70 open course where clear rounds were getting placings, and Cathal Donovan, Isabelle Rouviere and Joan Rothwell were the riders that came out on top in this class.

After a quick course walk and height change – action moved swiftly onto the RC80 class where again a rolled pole was a high price to pay. Stephanie Byran had a lovely clear and was the clear winner. Casey Cushe from neighbouring club Ashwood had to settle for second and Máire Ní Dhiomsaigh was third.

Again, no time was wasted as action moved on to the open class where Ethan Cahill managed to come out on top after fighting off strong competition from Barrow Valley RC where their members Sally Roberts, Louise O’Neill and Shona Magure took up the subsequent placings.

The young horse riders were the last class to test their gauge of speed against the optimum time. Sadly, no clear rounds in this class, and host club member Joan Sinnott had to settle for third place behind Ciara Kinsella and David Ryan.

At this point the balcony at the club house was packed with spectators and other competitors where they could overlook all the action – as the day certainly wasn’t without its thrills and spills and Mark James Photography was capturing it all.

Things were certainly hotting up from here on in as now it was fastest past the line.

In the RC90 class, David Ryan returned on his young horse to answer all the questions and was rewarded with a first place. Joy French was second and Valerie Crean was third.

Thomastown members Róisín Power and Stephanie Hoyne book-ended home club member Hazel Burke in the RC90 open class and these riders were not afraid to cut corners and press the accelerator.

In the RC100 Maria Rockett lived up to her name and put down the fastest winning time of the day at 29.59, home club speed merchant Ray Murphy couldn’t catch her and settled for second and Abi Kent finished third.

Ballycanew member Jen French dominated the next two classes by taking the top placing in both the RC100 open and RC110 where Ciara Kinsella and Abigail Kent had to both settle for blue in those classes.

With the jumping completed, things moved indoors for the day’s prizes sponsored by Claire Atkinson Equine Musculosketal Therapy and Bramblebough Farm and the league prizes sponsored by Swish Equestrian and BLF Nutrition.