Lauren Kerin’s won the RC 80 Championship at the third time of asking at the Connolly’s RED MILLS AIRC National Hunter Trials Championships last Sunday.
The Westport rider had one of just 5 clear rounds out of a large field of 67 starters, over the 3-kilometre track around Flowerhill Equestrian Centre in Co. Galway.
The Mayo rider on her 11-year-old Connemara gelding, Lankill Lad, was just 5 seconds off the target of 9’05 to claim the spoils for the club which formed in 2020.
Enda McCarry was next best on Drumacanoo Elsi to that the blue ribbon for Tir Conaill.
Kerins also teamed up with her fellow clubmate Patricia O’Malley (Blackie Lad) to win the RC 80 Open Pairs where 4 pairs returned with nothing to add.
Lauren said afterwards that, “I’m thrilled to have won both competitions on my pony who was bred by Cathy and Charlie Hughes in 2012. I started riding him as a stallion in the Connemara flat classes where we won Clifden Ridden Champion in his first year of competing in 2018.”
I ‘accidentally’ purchased him in 2019 and since then he has demonstrated the versatility of the Connemara Pony competing successfully in a variety of disciplines. He’s full of character.
At these championships, an optimum time is used rather than against the clock when competitors were given a 20-second window to complete the course but if they finished outside of this, they incurred time penalties at a rate of one per second or part thereof.
The top three finishers in the RC 100 Championship all completed the test across the country on a clean sheet leaving the clock to podium placings. Christina Kavanagh crossed the line closest to the optimum time on her 21-year-old bay mare, Russelstown Bay Princess, in a time of 7’59, just five seconds slower that the target of 7’54.
Stephen Green brought the blue ribbon home to Donegal after his 18-year-old Indian Puzzle was six seconds faster than the target for the Tir Conaill club.
Kavanagh was delighted with the win saying, “it was an emotional win for me as Princess is my loyal, trustworthy companion since the beginning of her career.
“The win made the long journey and the preparation for the competition all the more worthwhile”, she added.
Patricia Woods had to settle for second place in last years RC 110 Championship but went on to claim the spoils this year on her 13-year-old grey ISH gelding, Crissaun Just Joey.
The Schneider sisters, Emily and Laura, won the RC 100 Open Pairs after they were the only pair to finish on a zero score, just 10 seconds off the optimum time of the target of 8’34.
11 of the 36 starters in the RC 90 Championship completed the course with a clean sheet where Siobhan Garret Cooney claimed the spoils on Fortane Aran. The 6-year-old grey Connemara gelding stopped the clock on the optimum time of 8’13 giving the Bodyke resident a narrow victory for Burren Riding Club ahead of Mosstown’s Dermot Hebron who was just one second adrift Fortane Aran in second place.
Siobhan said afterwards, ”After competing in the young horse class for the past two years, this was our first time in RC 90 competition so my aim was get around safely and not to frighten him as he’s still quite young but he settled well and gave me a great spin around the course.”
Edward Burke (Gladiator-S) and Jennifer Burke (Manna-Manna Van Het Harteveld) won the RC 90 Open Pairs competition after they were the only pair to complete the 19-fence course with a clean sheet in a time of 8’50, just eight seconds off the optimum time.
Geraldine McMahon claimed the Young Horse competition on GGS Lux Quality where the Burren member completed the course with nothing to add after her 4-year-old bay gelding crossed the line in 8’49.
Jennifer Burke took the runners-up spot on Tymphanys Last Song after the Benbulben rider was six seconds faster than the target.
Congratulations to all of our winners at the @REDMILLSHorse @AIRC_ie National Hunter Trials Championships on Sunday at Flowerhill 👏
Our Individual Champions are below 🏆#aircie #huntertrials #FeedYourDesireToWin pic.twitter.com/rNy56HRUot
— AIRC Riding Clubs 🐴 (@airc_ie) April 25, 2023