The inaugural Association of Irish Riding Clubs Grassroots Jump Training Series was a popular late addition to their programme of events.
It provided club members with an opportunity to compete and train with an accredited coach who provided advice and feedback on their show jumping skills in real-time in a competition environment.
Participants jumped a round over a designated course and received feedback at the end of their opening round before jumping a second round which was judged with additional points awarded for their way of going, position and style, and turnout and impression.
The series drew to a close recently at Emerald Equestrian, Co. Kildare where Lt Col Tom Freyne from the Army Equitation School was on hand to assess the finalists who made it through to the decider where there were three classes on offer – RC 70/80; RC 90; and RC 100/110.
The opening contest was a tight affair with only two points separating the top three riders where Emma Bell took the RC 70/80 honours with 144 points. The Ard Lu rider impressed Tom Freyne the most on her 13-year-old skewbald mare, Woodside Kiss Me Quick.
Westport’s Patricia O’Malley, who was the only RC 70 graded rider in the competition, took the runners-up spot on Blackie Lad, just one point adrift on 143. Winterdown’s Aisling Delaney completed the podium on Pinnacle Diamond in third place on a score of 142.
Megan Delaney edged a narrow victory in the RC 90 division after the Abbeylands rider had just half a point to spare to claim the bursary on offer. A clear round from Mallow Warrior, a 9-year-old grey mare ensured the Kildare rider claimed the spoils.
Benbulben’s Leah Farrell (General Amiro) narrowly missed out in second spot on 140 points ahead of her club mate, Anne Lawrence (Pot O Honey) in third.
The Sligo club went on to win the RC 100/110 class where Breda Perrin landed the honours on Erronoagh Sky, a 20-year-old grey gelding. The Benbulben rider finished on a score of 141.5, just ahead of Lisa Baker on Dunsoughly Nelson and Aoife Maguire on Pharos Hazy Cove, both from Killossery.
The AIRC would like to acknowledge funding from Sport Ireland and Horse Sport Ireland which made this series possible.