Green Hunter Final
For 4 year old ponies at the performance Final of the initial Green Working Hunter competition for Connemara ponies, both ground and weather conditions were ideal in Clifden. Only two qualifiers had been scheduled – both in June – an Eastern area one in Co.Wicklow and a Western one in Co.Galway – and five ponies were qualified in each location. All ten finalists turned up to compete before Judges Tony Donnelly and Denise Norton, and all got round the course.
The Performance committee of the Breeders Association, with the help of Anne Reade and advice from Denise Norton, were the instigators of this new venture, plus a wide group of helpers including course-builders Phyllis Jones and Trish Young. They were ably abetted on the day by Ray Dowling and his three sons, Conor, Miley and Jack.
The format was a winner: After ponies and riders (aged 14 years and over) had walked the course, they returned individually to jump an inviting track of eight Working Hunter type fences, maximum height being 80 cms. They were marked on each fence jumped after which all called were called back in order of merit to ride collectively on both reins in walk, trot and canter, for which marks were allotted.
While the Ride Judge, Denise Norton then rode every pony in the ring, giving them a full workout, each pony was shown in-hand before jump and conformation Judge Tony Donnelly for conformation assessment. This simultaneous judging worked really well and made good use of time, ensuring an almost immediate final result. Mary Mitchell’s Western Easter (Creemully Western Melody) bred by her father Michael Mitchell in Galway, was the eventual highest placed pony.
The stallion Shanna Larry (El Larry (Skousbou Shamrock) stood (quietly !) in 2nd place between the 2 mares, as Kilpatrick Cailín (Monaghanstown Boy-Kilpatrick Maple),- although highest placed after the jumping -was called in 3rd. Cailin’s Kildare owner/ breeder is Joan J. Dolan, and Bridget Neil competently rode the mare. Shanna Larry despite his slightly exotic sounding breeding, was home-bred and is owned by Seamus Keady of Spiddal. and was ridden by Padraig Flanagan from East Galway. These three ponies were expertly schooled and ridden by very capable riders. Indeed, the ride Judge commented on how well behaved and mannerly all of these young Connemaras were.
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