There was a significant increase in the numbers of Irish draughts competing at the Association of Irish Riding Clubs Festival which took place at Stradbally Hall Estate, Co. Laois on Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th June last.
26 Irish Draughts were entered in the Horse Sport Ireland and The Irish Sport Horse Studbook sponsored showing class where Barbervilla Lily ridden by Drynam’s Sophie Marks retained the championship title which they won last year.
Judges Tim Wilson (conformation) and Chloe Osbourne (ridden) favoured the eight-year-old Gortfree Hero mare, bred by Michael Jennings. Loughmelvin Cochrann ridden by Gillian Barry was given the nod for reserve champion.
For the second year running, Marks missed out on a double win when the Drynam rider had to settle for the blue ribbon in the performance class as the 13-year-old stallion, Killinick Bouncer impressed Clare Oakes and Glenn Farrell Walker to claim the honours for the Carne club.
Elsewhere, Ashbrook’s Carolina Gullberg was rewarded with a special Horse Sport Ireland award for her eight-year-old Irish Draught, Lurganbawn Charlie.
The John Joe Cooney bred bay gelding claimed the award after Lurganbawn Charlie, ridden by Gullberg, achieved an impressive 81% in their dressage competition, the highest percentage of any Irish Draught in the individual dressage competitions at the show.