As we have nearly come to the end of the year in Pony Club, we would like to give you a run down of what was going on in our club this year and of the great achievements of many of our members. We will be sending out the date of the Annual Parents Meeting shortly and we hope to see you all there.
We started this year early with an Eventing Clinic with Luke Drea and Jillie Rogers in Ballyellen which all attendees felt was very beneficial. Then on January 13th we started Flat-work lessons with Jillie Rogers in Tombrack which continued for 4 weeks.
Six of our members trialed to compete on Pony Games teams going to Britain, all of which were successful. 2 members went to Bath and West, 3 members went to Shrewsbury and Matt Sinnott represented Ireland with his team that went to Windsor.
February was a busy month starting on the 4th with a Charity Ride Out in aid of North Wexford Hospice Homecare with thanks to Brian McGuire and also to Ray and Hazel Murphy for allowing the members use their facilities. Paddy O’Donnell gave showjumping lessons in Edward Kellys’ indoor arena and Fiona Cloke gave showjumping lessons in Terry White’s arena. Thanks to both our hosts!
Cross- country lessons were organised with Edwina O’Connor but only two went ahead as the weather proved very difficult this spring.
Musical Ride training started on March 19th with Alma Byrne and Fiona Cloke in Barnadown. Some of our members also enjoyed a fun ride out with the Island Hunt on March 25th in Barnadown. Games training started in Boley on the sand for all our age groups. We then moved to Dixon’s field and later to Pooles, thanks to both.
An early C test took place in Barnadown during the Easter holidays which gave some of our members an opportunity to compete at junior level if they wanted to.
Commandant Terence White gave dressage lessons in Boolavogue for three weeks in April. Some of our members went on to compete at the Irish Pony Club National Dressage Day in Spruce Lodge on May 5th and were successful.
From February some of our under 12 members started training for the National Minimus Championships which took place in Punchestown on the 16th and 17th June. This competition is run over two days and comprises of riding over an 80cm cross-country course, swimming for two minutes and running 1000 metres. It is a very competitive team event and one of our teams, Eoin Cloke, Kate O’Brien, Hannah Willis and Ava Dowley, was placed 19th overall which was a great achievement.
Show jumping lessons took place in Butterfly Farm with Michael Byrne during May.
Riding and Road Safety test took place and all passed. Thanks to Jenny and Malcolm Pim for the use of their premises.
In June, rallies took place in Barnadown every week until Pony Camp with approximately fifty members attending each week. As part of this, show jumping teams were trained and picked to go to our area qualifier which was held this year in Kilkenny. We had two Alice Mernagh (u12) teams, two Robbie Bailey (u14) teams and two John Leddingham teams as well as one Senior individual competing. All our teams and our individual qualified to go to The Irish Pony Club Festival.
The highlight of the year for a lot of our members, Pony Camp, took place in Barnadown on the first week of July. Seventy of our members were catered for this year with some of our younger members preparing for and passing their D and D+ tests. We are very lucky to have access to such a fantastic facility which we appreciated more than ever this year as the extreme weather conditions this summer had made land very dry and hard. Thanks to Maurice and Felicity Cousins for making it available to our club.
Summer C test took place in Barnadown after Camp and all candidates were successful.
The area qualifier for Combined Training took place in Sleedagh Farm in July where some of our members qualified and went on to compete at The IPC Festival Championships. Well done to all who were placed including Ava Dowley, Hannah Willis, Isabel Byrne, Grace Scully and Brooke Carey!
Also at the Festival our showjumping teams competed and acquitted themselves well but unfortunately weren’t placed but our Senior competitor, Ciara Kelly helped the Area 4 show jumping team to 2nd place!
Our Musical Ride which comprised of twenty members who had been training together since March put on a fantastic display and were placed third on the day. Their tremendous display of horsemanship and artistic endeavor was a credit to the work that the trainers, Fiona and Alma, the children and their parents put in. Thanks to the sponsors that helped make it happen and in particular thanks to the artistic contribution, time and level of detail brought to our costumes by Lisa McBride and Angela Haxby.
This year our under 10’s Pony Games team has excelled, winning every competition and the u10’s league. They were placed 2nd at the IPC Festival Championships, just pipped at the post, but accepted it with good grace. Well done to the team and their trainer, William Poole.
We had two junior Pony Games teams out competing this year. At the Festival Championships both our teams got to the A final. The Island Bibs were placed 6th and The Island Stars team of Cormac Byrne, Kerri McDonald, Angelica McGee, Cora Quigley and Emma Warren were crowned 2018 champions!! This is the first of many for the Islands hopefully! Well done and thanks to their trainer, Claire Byrne.
On the August bank holiday weekend we hosted our Eventing qualifier in Rosanna, Ashford, thanks to John Wilding. It was a great venue and thanks to the volunteers who gave their time to prepare, run and tidy up, it was a great success for our club. This year the Irish Pony Club have included the under 12’s in the championships so we had four levels of competition to organise. Many of our members had been competing at qualifiers throughout the summer in order to go to the Eventing Championships in Ballindenisk, Cork. In particular, Ava Dowley stands out as she came first in her arena in all the events she competed in including the championships. Well done!
Luke Drea was organised to give a cross country lesson to our members before the championships.
Our Senior Games team qualified to compete at the RDS by winning two competitions. At the RDS the team that competed over the two days showed great spirit and did the club proud!
At the Eventing Championships in Ballindenisk we had twenty two members competing. The Islands came away with lots of ribbons and prizes both individually and in their teams. Our Intermediate team were placed third as well as best turned out, one of our Junior teams was placed sixth and our under 12 team were placed second. A fantastic achievement by all!
The Show Jumping Classic took place in Coilóg in September where both Ciara and Matthew Kelly competed and were placed. Well done.
The Hunter Trial Championships which had been postponed from the spring took place in The Kennels, Wexford on 22nd September. Seven of our members participated, with our senior pair of Emma Carton and Sarah Whelan coming second!
Unfortunately our u10/u12 event scheduled to take place in Butterfly Farm was cancelled due to lack of entries. We will try to rearrange. As the under 12’s are now competing at more championships it is especially important that an under 10’s members’ parent join the committee to help come up with ideas and organise activities.
Thanks to all the members, parents, land and arena owners, instructors and committee members and anyone else that helped along the way, we have had a very successful year in our club. Our members have excelled themselves improving their horsemanship skills and bringing home more rosettes than ever before! Some of our committee will be stepping down this year and we would like to take this opportunity to thank them very much for all their hard work over the years. We look forward to passing on this competitive club to the next DC’s and welcoming new committee members.
Joint District Commissioners,
Lisa Dunne & Marie McDonald.