CONDITIONS were ideal for eventing last Sunday when the Carlow Branch hosted the fourth leg of the Irish Pony Club/Connolly’s Red Mills one-day event series in the beautiful setting of the Norton family’s Newtownbarry House outside Bunclody.

“Considering it’s exam time, we were delighted with the entry of over 200,” commented Carlow’s joint-District Commissioner and event secretary, Louise O’Neill. “We had two show jumping arenas, where the courses were built by Wexford’s Michael Doyle, while our own head of training and eventing, Kirsty Dobie, designed and built the challenging cross-country tracks with help from Ivan Hatton who is chairman of the IPC’s eventing committee.” The course included a fence in memory of former IPC member, the late, much-missed Tiggy Hancock.

The host Branch recorded just one win on the day but that was in the highly-competitive Intermediate section where 31 combinations appeared before Rachel Dowley.

That List 6 judge and international dressage rider and coach awarded her top score of 25.5 penalties to Carlow’s Sarah Kehoe ahead of Wexford’s Rebekah Rochowiak, the Ballinamona winner, riding Greannstown Vivendi Girl (26.3). Four show jumping penalties didn’t affect Kehoe’s position at the top of the leaderboard but Rochowiak dropped to fourth behind Meath’s Clodagh McGauran and Waterford’s Orla Treacy who both recorded double clears to finish second and third respectively on Cruising Caricello (29.5) and Caisleann Ri (30).

Kehoe’s successful partner was Bethann Doherty’s Connemara gelding How Ya Sammy, the six-year-old Woodfield Sammy bay on whom she has won twice this season from three starts at EI100 (P) level, placing third on the other.

The Killinick Branch struck twice on the day with Lilymai Berry completing on her dressage score to win the 21-runner Intro Intermediate on the former point-to-point horse Skylanna Scatman (27). Here, Shillelagh’s Jane Fitzgerald finished second, on her flatwork mark, with her mother Laura’s ISH mare Broomfield Banner (27.8).

Sixteen-year-old Berry competed in the thoroughbred class at the Stepping Stones to Success league at Wexford Equestrian during the spring on Skylanna Scatman who twice filled the runner-up slot in 11 outings in point-to-points. The now eight-year-old Tajraasi gelding last ran in May 2021 when he pulled up in the older geldings’ maiden at Punchestown.

The Killinicks’ Keira Crowther made it two wins in two weeks when following up her Ballinamona victory in Section C of the Junior class here on her dressage score with the 12-year-old appaloosa gelding Tomoka Spots (18.3). Bray’s Saoirse Handley finished second on DG Arkall (18.5) as the two leaders after dressage, Killinick’s Kate Jordan and Hobbinstown Hero (16.8) and Wexford’s Emily Deacon on The Sixmiler (17.8) both failed to complete the cross-country phase.

Handley’s Bray teammate, Sadie Sandys, recorded an all-the-way victory in Section A with the 11-year-old skewbald gelding Kilcoole Patch while Newcastle Lyons’s Hazel Gleeson completed on her dressage score in Section B to bring up a hat-trick of victories on the 17-year-old skewbald gelding Remondi Bobtail.

At Under 12s level, Shillelagh’s Lucy Darby won Section A on board the eight-year-old dun mare Darkly Julie, while Section B fell to North Kilkenny’s Mia Perry riding the Ballinamona runner-up, Mulvey’s Marble, a 21-year-old skewbald mare.

As the IPC/Auto Boland Jaguar Land Rover national minimus championships are taking place this weekend, the next round of the Red Mills series is scheduled for Sunday next, June 26th when it will be hosted by the Island Branch at Frankfort Stud.