WHILE many of their fellow Branch members were competing in the Mackey Equestrian national hunter trials at Ballycahane Equestrian recently, two teams of Irish Pony Club members were in action in Wales at a friendly mounted games competition. This was hosted by the Berwyn and Dee Pony Club whose catchment area covers north Shropshire and the north-east of Wales.

The two teams comprised Tristan Furlong (Shillelagh), Chloe O’Shaughnessy (Laois), Lauren Callery (Meath), Lulu Fitzsimmons (Bray) and Lily Hatton (Carlow) whose father, Alan, trained this squad which ran under the Carlow banner, while Joan Fox trained the Laois squad made up of Paul Nolan (Wexford), Donnacha Malone (Kildare), Katie Fox (Tipperary), Cillian Tobin (Carlow) and Eva O’Shaughnessy (Laois).

On arrival at their destination on Thursday, July 20th, the IPC members and support crews were warmly welcomed by Val Edwards and her team after which they set up camp. They woke to rain the following morning but that didn’t affect the early part of their day which was spent go-karting and sightseeing. The teams had a good training session that afternoon followed by a delicious barbeque hosted by the organisers.

Full credit to the IPC members who were immaculately turned out for the tack inspection on Saturday at 8.15am. The competition between seven branches started at 9am sharp and after 10 games in the morning session, the Wexfords were lying fourth, just ahead of Carlow as the North Hertfordshire Branch set the pace.

The IPC teams had to adjust to some new games in the afternoon session where, again, the North Hertfordshires came out on top, chased by the Blackburn and Wynstay Branches. The final session on Sunday morning comprised some fast, technical games which made for great racing. Carlow came out better of the IPC teams, making a charge for third place, but ran out of games to get enough points as the North Hertfordshires dominated.

After the presentation of prizes, it was time to take down camp and tidy up then, once farewells were exchanged, it was back to the ferry all feeling very tired but full of fond memories of a great weekend.