ARD Chuain Equestrian Centre extended a warm welcome to Connaught pony riders last weekend as they hosted the Connaught Region Pony Championships.
Last Saturday, all eyes were on the finals of the Silver Jumper Roxboro Stud League, kindly sponsored by Dara and Sinead Larkin of Roxboro Stud. The first to be victorious was The Hilly Billy and Ronan Gilvarry, this was the sixth time this evergreen pony has claimed this prestigious title.
Next up was the U10 League, with Priya Mai Cosgrave taking the spoils with her very consistent pony Paulank Redbreast. In the 128 90s league, the impressive laurel wreath was presented to Luke Sweeney on Marjorie Hardimans’ Creganna Amber, much to the delight of the Headford contingent. The winner of the 148 1.10m league was decided prior to Saturday’s competition, with Tadhg Dillion and Ballagh Shannon securing their win in advance with impressive results throughout the summer.
On Sunday, the judges were on their calculators as the Championships were decided, based on the accumulated performance over four events.
Ronan Gilvarry and his pony Melview More Clover were chased all the way to the line in the 138cm Open Championship but came out on the right side of victory, giving Ronan an opportunity to fist pump his way around the arena for a second time.
The Newcomer Championship provided a perfect opportunity for the younger Connaught riders to hone their skills over the two days, with Caitlin McMullon and her pony Sparkling Little Princess taking the title and certainly showing great potential for the future. In the U10s, Edward Walsh Jnr and Zulus Dream not only took the Championship but were also victorious in Sunday’s class with a blistering round against the clock.
The hotly contested 128 Novice Championship saw a determined Katie McMunn and her lovely pony Moonflower come out on top, with Alayna Hawkins and Cararaghy Appollo winning the 128 Open Championship, rounding out an incredibly successful year for Alayna.
Holly Maher kept the Galway flag flying by winning the 148 Novice Championship with Bracken Dromartin, but Paddy Reape made sure that Sligo was well represented also, taking the 148 Open Championship on Invisible E Van He Juxschot, who placed in every one of the four classes over the two days.
The 138 Novice Championship was the final one up for grabs and, after all the points were added up, Luke Sweeney led out on the lap of honor for a second time, this time on Kerry’s Magic Girl. During the weekend, all riders and their families remembered the late Jack de Bromhead, a boy that jumped many rounds in the west and will always be remembered by his Connaught rider friends.