A WEEK after the disappointing abandonment of the Dressage Ireland national winter finals, the Eastern Region held a show at Marlton last Sunday in bright, if somewhat chilly, weather conditions.

Having lured Donie McNamara to Co Wicklow, the show organisers made the most of the List 1 judge’s presence, assigning him 14 classes from novice to Grand Prix level. He wasn’t overworked, however, with just one starter in six of those classes.

McNamara awarded his highest score of the day (68.65%) to Niamh Winter riding Josephine Delahoyde’s nine-year-old 138m piebald mare Marlton Rose in the four-runner Junior Novice BD39. Abbey Ferris, who did so well at the recent Irish Pony Club dressage day for Newcastle Lyons, finished second on her mother Mary’s Connemara gelding How Ya Sammy (68.08). Ferris and the eight-year-old Woodfield Sammy bay were the sole starters in the Junior Novice EI27A, where they were awarded 66.90 by David Lee (List 3).

The same two judges assessed those forward in the two, three-runner Junior Elementary classes. McNamara’s winner of the DI55 was Bray Pony Club member Alex Potter, with the Irish Sport Horse gelding Bluelake Richard (65), a 13-year-old Keamore Diamond Clover grey, while topping Lee’s leaderboard in the BD59 was Anna O’Connor, with her mother Susan’s Dutch-bred Welsh gelding Veenstras Grapjas (64.53), a 13-year-old palomino by Klein Roderijs Cocktail.

McNamara judged both unrestricted Novice classes. In the five-runner DI27A, his winner was Laura Deak with her tall Traditional Irish Sport Horse gelding Ballybolger Anchorman (61.03%), a Puissance bay out of a Craigsteel half-sister to the Puissance gelding, Horseware Bushman (CCI4*) among others. Three combinations started in the BD39 and two of these achieved the top score of 65, Category 2 rider Siofra Pratt with her Traditional ISH mare Ballarin My Grace, an 11-year-old daughter of Kings Master, and Category 1 rider Charlotte Campbell with her ISH gelding Cill Daras Golden Boy, a seven-year-old dun by Gwennic de Goariva.

Alex Potter and Bluelake Richard won the Junior Elementary DI55 class at the Eastern Region dressage show at Marlton \ Louise O’Brien Photography


There were just two starters in the McNamara-judged Elementary DI55, where the higher score (68.39%) was achieved by Daphne Lush on her Traditional ISH gelding Millpoint Carnival, a 14-year-old chesnut by Millpoint Odin. In other two-runner classes, McNamara’s winners were Emily Kate Robinson and Kekepania (62.30), her nine-year-old home-bred mare by Lingh (Advanced BD101), and Hannah Fielding with Florentina DWS (65), her 12-year-old Hanoverian mare by Fidertanz (Prix St George).

Winning unopposed in front of the Co Limerick judge were Barbara Delahoyde on Marlton Scout (65.90% in the Advanced Medium BD91), Emily Kate Robinson and Edvaard (62.50, Intermediate I), Josephine Delahoyde on Cashmere (66.09, in the Intermediate II) and Barroso (64.57, Grand Prix) and children on horses’ competitor Millie Cosgrave who, riding Let’s Dance, scored 63.86 in the team test and 62.30 in the individual test.

McNamara and Lee judged both FEI pony tests. Three combinations contested the individual test, where McNamara awarded his highest score (67.30%) to Kate Murphy riding her father Ronan’s Westphalian gelding Top Hero 2, a 14-year-old bay by Top Champ. There were only two starters in the Lee-judged team test, won by Mai Monahan on Carrickfad Cloud Break (66.29), an 11-year-old Connemara gelding by Castle Gigolo.

Event rider Sarah Glynn achieved the highest score (69.22%) awarded by Lee in the five-runner Elementary BD59 for her test on the ISH mare Granny Jean’s Unicorn (CCI3*-L), who is not registered with DI. In the Medium BD69, Glynn and the eight-year-old Jack Of Diamonds grey had to settle for third (65), behind local young rider Isla Coad and Josephine Delahoyde’s Dutch-bred Welsh gelding Klein Roderijs Gold Fee (67.88) and the Sonya McCormack-ridden Coosan Lucky Guy (65.15).

Lee judged that four-runner class and also the Medium BD75, where Niamh Nolan was the only starter with her Irish Draught gelding Toberpatrick Tom Boy (60%), a 12-year-old grey by Ballybrack Diamond. The only combination to appear before Lee in the FEI Eventing 2* test B was David Keatley, with the Connemara mare Crosskeys Bella (64.32), an eight-year-old dun daughter of Crosskeys Rebel.


Lee and Lisa O’Brien (List 6) judged the four Preliminary classes and were agreed on their winner at Junior level, which was easy enough, as the only starter was Madison Roche, who scored 67.69% in the O’Brien-assessed DI6 and 63.33 in the Lee-judged BD19, in both instances riding Josephine Delahoyde’s six-year-old piebald gelding Marlton Bandit.

Seventeen combinations appeared before O’Brien in the unrestricted DI6, where topping her overall leaderboard was Category 2 rider Lauren Painter with her ISH gelding JAG Lovestory (74.42%) who started competing with DI this season. Not too surprisingly bred by JAG Equestrian, this five-year-old Tyson bay is out of the Je T’Aime Flamenco mare, CSF Salut Flamenco, a half-sister to, among others, the Ramiro B gelding, Ramiro Cruise (CSI5*).

Lee’s winner of the BD19 was Category 3 rider Sonya McCormack on Annmarie Walsh’s ISH gelding Oakfield Jappeloup (71.88%), who is registered with DI as being 154cm in height. This five-year-old grey by Rebel Mountain, who competes under the prefix of his Co Wicklow breeder Margaret McMullin, is out of the Breeders Elite Studbook-registered mare Olivia Beech, a daughter of Why Me.