In what was one of the closest competitions on the day, Rita Naughton claimed the top two places in the RC Novice Championship at the Connolly’s RED MILLS AIRC National Dressage Championships at Barnadown Show Jumping last Sunday where just two percent separated the top six riders.
The Tinahely rider gave two solid performances on Action’s Bond Girl W to claim the honours with 140.557% on the scoreboard while Naughton moved up into second place after Diamont Babalou produced the best of the second tests to end on 140.225%
Naughton was delighted with her performance and said, “I only joined this year and was over the moon to qualify two of my mares for the nationals. To have a double podium was even more than I had hoped for and what makes this achievement even sweeter was competing with my own homebred and home-produced horses. I’m looking forward to seeing what the future holds for us at at Whitewell Equestrian.”
Elsewhere, Tabitha Millar Hagerty claimed the Connolly’s RED MILLS RC Medium division for the third successive year, this time on Tullineaskey Hi Ho with a winning score of 136.324%. The Twinfort rider had been second this horse last year when she won with Westeria Lane.
Miller said afterwards that, “I’m very lucky to win the title again. He’s such a kind and willing horse and despite his rather big size, being over 17.2hh, and the small arena he really stayed with me and on my aids. We love coming to these championships every year as it’s a great highlight on the calendar and it’s a great way to meet up with our members and other clubs too.”
Another Twinfort rider picked up a title in the Connolly’s RED MILLS RC Elementary championship where Owen Smyth claimed the silver salver for the third time on Dark Site, having won it previously in 2018 and 2021, on 148.194%.
The Crecora resident had almost 5% to spare over second-placed Caroline Marwood (Investigator P) for Knocknamana Country on 143.718%.
Smyth said after, “I was so pleased to have won the title again and I’m delighted with my horse’s performance. He is now 18 years old and in fine form.”
Matilda Falkede notched up the highest percentage of the day over two tests to win the Connolly’s RED MILLS RC Preliminary 3 title on Darrara Shanbeg. Carne’s Isabelle Rouviere (Jasmine Van Ter Notelaere) was second on 145.093%.
The Hollybrook club picked up an individual title with Lisa Devine winning the Connolly’s RED MILLS RC Preliminary 2 title on a total of 143.478%. The Stepaside resident had just 2% to spare over Dunbyrne’s Lynn Cadogen on Shooting Star on 141.474%.
Devine who was delighted with her win said, “This is my first time entering these championships and it was only possible through the support of my club. The horse I rode is a school horse who is known for his kind temperament and his love of showing off in dressage.”
Ruth Abbott won the Connolly’s RED MILLS RC Preliminary 1 championship at her first attempt. The Greenvalley rider took the spoils on CCS Banksy Moon on 148.136% ahead of Sheena Holt on Wemyss Bay.
Abbott has been in partnership with her horse for over a year now and said, “With some great tuition, I have rediscovered the joy of horse riding after giving up in my late teens.”
Elsewhere in the young horse, Claire Maher won young horse on the 5-year-old grey gelding, Tinnakill Jackpot for Killcarrick.