THERE was an international element to last weekend’s Irish Pony Club/Auto Boland Waterford Minimus Championships with two home teams taking on one from Great Britain and one from Northern Ireland.
The international competition included a shooting phase and here members of The Pony Club, who begin shooting at a far younger age than those in the IPC, had a decided advantage. However, when the scores from all phases were taken into account, it was Ireland 1 who came out on top on a total of 17,490 points.
The successful squad comprised two members of the winning national team, Emmet Walsh and Julie McDonald of Waterford, Isla Coad (Wicklow), Paddy O’Callaghan (Tipperary) and the winning national boy, Jonty Purcell (Scarteen). The last-named recorded one of just three clear cross-country rounds in this international section and won the run phase (1,174) ahead of O’Callaghan (1,144) and Walsh (1,138).
The British team who finished second on 16,670 dominated the shooting phase where the overall individual winner, Izzy Tweddle (Bedale & West of Yore), and Samantha Johnson (South Durham) shared the top spot on 980 points apiece while Isobel Cook Woods (BWY) finished third on 940. Also on the team were Elin Wilson (South Durham), who was joint-fourth in the shoot, and Lucy McGrath (BWY) who was joint-sixth.
The Ireland 2 team of Robyn Dempsey, Lucy McCarthy, Jack Landy, Isabelle O’Conaola and Ellen Medlycott finished third on 16,498 with the Northern Ireland squad of Olivia Stewart, Freddie Clarke, Zoe Caskey, Una McClelland and Tori Lilly placing fourth on 12,000.
North Yorkshire-based Izzy Tweddle, who topped the international individual leaderboard and thus won the girls’ section, travelled over to Ireland with her mother Heather (one of the heads of Tetrathlon with the BWY), father Richard and brother Henry who, aged 13, is too old for Minimus and has moved on to Tetrathlon. “We had a great time and everyone was so welcoming,” said Heather, a former Pony Club member herself.
Izzy was a comprehensive winner of the international individual competition. She shared the top spot in the shoot on 980 points, won the swimming phase with 1,232 and, on board Spring Blossom, was one of just three riders to retain all 1,400 points in the ride. She didn’t fare so well in the run, where she finished 16th, but, on a total of 4,510 finished well clear of Ireland’s Emmet Walsh (4,462) and her teammate, Isobel Cook Woods (4,446).
“Izzy has loved her time in Minimus but, having turned 12 at the end of April, this was her last year,” revealed Heather. “She has already competed at Junior level in Tetrathlon and, through Area 3, has qualified for the Pony Club Championships in August. During the season, she hunts each week with the Bedale and her hunting experience definitely helped her in the ride phase at Nuenna Farm.”