The Irish team finished as runners-up in the Senior Open 110 Team Championship at the British Riding Clubs National Championships in Lincolnshire on Saturday.
The team of Lisa Kennedy (Dunsoughly Nelson), Brian Cassidy (Looks Easy), Jacqui Boland (Maverick Na Ri) and Aoife Maguire (Mane Attraction) from Killossery Riding Club finished on two round total of 8 faults.
The winners from the East Cheshire Combined Training Group, who also won the team challenge at the Riding Clubs Festival in June, completed the day with a clean sheet to claim the spoils for the second year running.
Brian Cassidy was the star performer for the Irish team jumping a double clear round with Looks Easy, a nine-year-old chestnut ISH mare.
Lisa Kennedy (Dunsoughly Nelson), Jacqui Boland (Maverick Na Ri) and Aoife Maguire (Mane Attraction) all provide counting scores as the team rebounded from their opening round total of 8 faults to add nothing after the second round. Their total brought them level with the East Midlands Dressage Group who also finished in 8 faults but their time of 258.26 was slower than the Irish quartets tally of 247.78 to leave them in third place.
12 teams from around the UK contested the championship where the weather conditions proved problematic as the heavy fog delayed the start of the competition by half an hour as the judges could not see the fences in the arena.
Team Chef Susan Cusack was delighted with the team’s performance as she said, “this was a fantastic opportunity given us by the Association of Irish Riding Clubs and we are very proud to bring home second place. The club competed against the best riding clubs in Britain and the competition was extremely tough. “
Cassidy’s double clear round meant the Ashbourne rider also qualified for the individual championship final along with eight other riders, including three from the winning team.
The Killossery rider was drawn fourth to jump and went into the lead with a time of 31.62 after a faultless performance but it was short lived as Ashley Daniel who was next in, over took Cassidy with a time of 30.78 on Abba.
Cassidy, however, managed to claim a podium finish after Louise Hawkins posted a time of 30.91 on Rinroe Supreme to take second place for Area 14.
We held on in the end for 3rd, but when I think of the rounds from the other riders I think we did well to get that, as there were some very quick rounds with some people taking risks that just didn’t pay off on the day.
Cassidy said after his performance,
It was clear Lucy was tired but a quick buzz up and she wasn’t long forgetting that as we began our jump-off round. She jumped out of her skin and even a gallop into the double didn’t scare her into dropping a leg. It was over in a flash and all I really remember is standing off at the last at a silly angle and just turning in time to nip inside the timers on landing
“It was a great result and obviously I’m delighted with how she did all weekend. We were unlucky in the team championship to miss out on winning it but the slippery grass caught out two of our horses but we’re obviously delighted to get the second place. It was a great weekend and a great experience,” he added.