Ashbrook Riding Club bridged a 12-year gap when they won the Connolly’s Red Mills Team Championship title at the Association of Irish Riding Clubs National Dressage Championships at Mullingar Equestrian Centre, Co. Westmeath last Sunday.
The North Dublin club dominated the championship as they also claimed the runners up spot among a record field of 24 teams.
The winning team of Michael Moore (Smart Decision), Eimear O’ Rourke (Spoton Not Abother), Carolina Gullberg (Lurganbawn Charlie) and Niamh Campbell (Boots) finished the day on an average score of 71.91% to secure the title, one they last won in 2005 in Stradbally Hall Estate.
Niamh Campbell was the team’s top performer as the Hartstown resident provided the teams highest score of 79.05% in her afternoon test. Campbell also scored highest for the team in her morning test where her 11-year-old piebald Irish Cob, Boots, impressed to score 73.75%
Michael Moore was next best with Smart Decision who recorded two scores in excess of 70% while Caroline Gullberg also scored in the seventies in her morning test on Lurganbawn Charlie. Eimear O’Rourke completed the Ashbrook quartet on Spoton Not Abother.
Club secretary Dearbhaile Fitzsimons said, “after years of knocking on the door, we are delighted to finally take first place in the team championship and equally thrilled to have another team just behind in second place. We’re a small club who are renowned for our love of dressage as we were the proud winners of the very first AIRC championships at the RDS back in the nineties.”
We owe our love of the sport to two of our founding members, Michael Moore and Clare Fitzsimons and I’d like to thank them for their dedication. All in all, we are one very happy and very proud club
A record number of teams sought qualification for this years final as 83 teams took part in nine qualifiers during the summer, an increase of over 40% since the new qualification format was introduced in 2013.
Ashbrook extended their lead in the championship after the morning session to finish with a winning margin of just over 3% over their clubmates Jane Averill (Moneybog Black Jack), Margaret Brannigan (Out Of The Blue), Laura Fitzsimons (Kilronan Duff) and Michael Moore (Killossery Buddy), who also featured on the winning team.
The runners up finished on a score of 68.51% which kept them ever so slightly ahead of Carne Riding Club from Wexford in third place on 68.34% who moved up the leader board after a strong afternoon performance.
(Images: Sagittarian Photography)