East Cheshire Combined Training Group won the TRI Equestrian Team Show Jumping Challenge at the Riding Clubs Festival at Stradbally Hall Estate, Co. Laois last Sunday after they finished well out in front of their rivals.
The UK team, who won the British Riding Clubs National Championships last September, rounded off their visit in style with a commanding display in the feature team show jumping event to win with a 13-penalty margin over their competitors in what can only be described as unpleasant weather conditions.
Eight teams contested the class where four team members jumped one after the other and in the second round, the teams jumped in reverse order of merit.
Competitors found the course challenging with just five double clear rounds recorded over international course designer James Tarrant’s track. After the opening round, only two teams – Carne Riding Club and East Cheshire Combined Training Group – were level on a clean sheet.
Benbulben, Border Counties and Corrib followed on 12 faults while Thomastown and District was next best on 13. Castle Leslie and Greenhills were further back and left it too late in the second round to move up the rankings.
The Border Counties trio racked up another 18 faults to finish on a total of 30 in sixth place while Corrib and Benbulben replicated their opening rounds to finish on 24 each leaving the clock to decide. The Galway based club was faster in a time of 245.55 to take fourth place ahead of the 2014 winners who clocked up a time of 257.80 in fifth.
The Wexford based club dropped down into third after their second round when they racked up 20 faults to finish in third as Thomastown and District moved up after a much improved second round performance which saw the Kilkenny club add just 4 penalties to their opening tally to finish on 17.
It all came down to the last four riders from East Cheshire CTG as they had 4 fences in hand but Abigail Unwin (Lunar Vision) and Amy Lennon (Gortmore Rose Bud) both picked returned with a pole on the floor but Ashley Daniel (Abba) and Joakima Ashmore (Amanadas) both produced clear rounds to secure the second win for a visiting UK team at the Riding Clubs Festival.
Team member Abigail Unwin commented afterwards,
We were absolutely thrilled to come to Ireland and win, we had an absolute ball whilst we were here. Everyone was so hospitable, kind and loads of fun.
I’ve grown up with the girls on the team from our pony club days. We loved Ireland so much, that we’re sending the same team to our regional qualifier next month to try and win the UK championships again so we can come back next year as we’ve got serious Festival blues!