Border Counties Riding Club won the Connolly’s Red Mills Team Championship for the second time in four years at the Association of Irish Riding Clubs National Dressage Championships at Mullingar Equestrian Centre, Co. Westmeath last Sunday.
The winning team of Caroline McQuillan (Foxtail Orchid), Emma McKenna (Mill Races Diamond), Gay Keenan (Cloncaw Smartie) and Rosemary Bellew (Mr Browne IRE) finished the day on 425.41% to secure the title for the Monaghan-based club.
Gay Keenan provided the teams highest score of 74.60% in her morning test while Caroline McQuillan performed the teams best test in the afternoon as Foxtail Orchid registered 72.59%.
Emma McKenna also provided a team score in the seventies as Mill Races Diamond impressed in her morning test on 72.40%.
Club chairperson Geraldine Bellew said,
our club is over the moon to claim this prestigious team championship for the second time. We are a small club so it’s like winning the Sam Maguire again.
The AIRC bursary dressage clinics with Carolyn Mellor earlier this year have been invaluable to our members as the emphasis on basic schooling or dressage is vital for all disciplines. We are now aiming towards the National Eventing Championships at Kilguilkey next month.
18 of the 19 teams which qualified for the final last Sunday, took part where Border Counties extended their lead after the morning session to finish with a healthy winning margin of just under 5%.
Ashbrook, who won the team dressage challenge at the Riding Clubs Festival earlier this year and who also kept Border Counties at bay in their regional qualifier last month, had to settle for the runners-up position on this occasion.
Helen Clarke (Out of the Blue), Jane Averill (Moneybog Black Jack), John Gavin (Smart Decision) and Michael Moore (Guaranteed Gold) finished on a total of 420.71%. The Dublin-based club moved up three places to finish in second place after a strong performance in the afternoon session.
Two solid performances from Mosstown Riding Club lifted them into third place on 420.60% which gave the Longford based club its highest place in recent years.
Interest in the championship remained high with 63 teams seeking qualification at 9 qualifiers held earlier this year.