Springmount Riding Club took home the Club of the Year Award at last Saturday’s Association of Irish Riding Clubs Lancelot Awards which took place at The Killeshin Hotel in Portlaoise, Co. Laois.
The Galway based club was described as very welcoming with an emphasize on taking part while encouraging others. Its membership is at its highest in 20 years. The club also qualified for the Horseware Team Show Jumping Championship at that RDS for the past two years and sent its first team to a dressage qualifier last year.
Joanna Hyland, the secretary of the club, was on hand to accept the award and said, “we are overwhelmed that a small club like ours could win Club of the Year. There are so many bigger clubs around the country that achieve great results throughout the year.”
“We are delighted that a smaller clubs like ours can hold their own and have just as much of a chance to prove themselves. This is a great achievement for us and a great boost of morale and confidence for our members,” she added.
Helen O’ Byrne won the Club Secretary Award as the Waterford Riding Club member was noted as someone who carries out her duties to an exceptionally high standard which enables the club to run effectively and smoothly.
Helen was described as a generous person with her time and a ‘point of contact’ for all club members as her knowledge from her many years of service is invaluable.
Mandy Hayden picked up the Club Member of the Year Award in what was a very close category.
Mandy is one of the longest-serving members of Tinahely Riding Club has made a huge commitment to the club over the years as you will always find her on the club grounds ensuring everything is ok.
Mandy, who couldn’t attend the awards, said after, “I would like to express my gratitude on winning this award. Huge thanks to the clubs that voted for me, I’m feeling really chuffed to get their endorsement. I’m looking forward to meeting riding club friends in competition over the coming year.”
Doreen Egan, was a popular recipient of the Person of the Year Award. The Three Counties chairperson works tirelessly throughout the year in her other role as secretary of the West Midlands region.
Doreen, who is also a member of the National Committee and Riding Clubs Festival Advisory Working Group, has for the past number of years acted as the hospitality coordinator at the Festival and looks after the official’s marquee each year where she always greets guests with a smile and looks after them.
The final award of the day, the Lancelot Award which is awarded to a person or a group who has made a significant contribution to the Irish Sport Horse industry was presented to James Tarrant, international course designer and former assistant chef d’equipe to the Irish Senior Show Jumping Team.
James played an important role in the Irish Sport Horse Industry from grassroots right up to the world stage.
The Kerry man was surprised when the announcement and said afterwards, “Thank you all for the wonderful award which you presented to me on Saturday afternoon. It was totally unexpected and, I suspect, undeserved but I was honoured, privileged and humbled to accept it.”
The Lancelot Awards are presented annually by the Association of Irish Riding Clubs to recognise the efforts of its members who regularly go beyond the call of duty in organising or helping at club, regional or national level.