THE arena eventing section of last weekend’s Barrier Spring Festival at Castle Irvine, Necarne, was staged on Sunday in the Walled Garden, over courses designed and built by Alan Lynch and Lithgow Currie.

Thirty-two teams, mainly comprising four riders (three scores counted), started with the numerically strongest Branches being the Iveagh (six teams), East Antrim (five), East Down (five) and North Down (four). Keeping a close eye on all was chief steward, Christopher Bogle.

North Down 2 – Anna Reid, Eve Lawther, Erin Doherty and Alice Salters – picked up a winning 12 converted points, but had to share the honours as also finishing on 12 points were Sofia Newell, Abbie Chambers, Ella Watters and Kym Moore, who made up one of two teams representing Tullylagan. Georgia Shannon, Martha McMurray, Jessica Rogers and Rosey Herron, one of two Killultagh teams, finished third on 17 points.

The Iveagh Branch won two of the four individual competitions and here the standout performance was in the Festival-closing AE100 as the winner, Ted Geary, was the sole boy to record an individual victory over the weekend.

Sofia Newell was on the joint-first placed Tullylagan 2 arena eventing team at the Barrier Animal Health Pony Club Area 17 Spring Festival at Necarne \ Jonathan Sterritt, JRS Photography

The only one of the eight starters to complete on a zero score, Geary rode the now 22-year-old former Grade A jumping pony Twilight Dancer with whom he also competes in Tetrathlon. The Mid Antrims’ Hannah Thompson picked up 0.8 of a time penalty to finish second on her Traditional Irish Sport Horse gelding Jemeela Charm, on whom she competes at EI100 (Amateur) level with Eventing Ireland, while Tullylagan’s Kym Moore placed third with another former Grade A pony, Drumcashel Little Legend (1.2 penalties).

The Iveaghs’ Amy Clarke also recorded a notable success in the 30-runner AE90, as she and Fire Heart Flash claimed the honours, ahead of North Down’s Zara Reid and Greylands Diamond Girl, who had performed so well during the Baileys Horse Feeds flexi eventing series at The Meadows. Both completed on a zero score but Clarke’s time over the cross-country fences was closer to the optimum.

Arena eventing joint winning team North Down 2 member Anna Reid on Dubhaileans Bobcart at the Barrier Animal Health Pony Club Area 17 Spring Festival at Necarne \ Jonathan Sterritt, JRS Photography

The other individual winners were Holly Logan (Mid Antrim), who topped the final leaderboard in the AE80 on the six-year-old grey mare Owens Shadow, and Paige Erwin (East Antrim), who did likewise in the AE70 on Made In Japan, a now 20-year-old dun Highland mix gelding, who has campaigned in the Pony Club movement since he was five.

Sixth in that individual competition on Cloonbonniffe Irish Cream, and a member of the joint-winning North Down team, Eve Lawther’s weekend was made even more special when she was announced as the winner of the IGS tidy stable award.