Peformance Day Friday
For Aaron Quinn from Ballyhaunis Co Mayo, Clifden’s Performance Day was one fantastic day out this year. Although last to go in the Under 16 Working Hunter, with his mother’s 11yr old gelding, Derrygimlagh Atlantic Storm (Coral Dun X Ballymoe Tazmania), Aaron produced the prize-winning performance.
Later in the hotly-contested Stallion Class, he also rode Deirdre Scott’s Ben Bán Playboy to victory. This 6yr old stallion is a son of Glencarrig Lexus X Festy Lady (by Ashfield Festy). He was bought by the Scotts as a yearling and
is now starting to event. Aaron, who sat his Junior Cert this year, went on with Derrygimlagh Atlantic Storm to receive the W.H Championship awards from Judges Mairead Ryan and Pam Prickett, plus the Reserve W.H Championship with Ben Bán Playboy. His younger brother Mark, rode Derrygimlagh Atlantic Storm in the Championship.
These Clifden successes were just over a week after a successful campaign with the same two good Connemaras at RDS Dublin, and at the Midlands Show prior to Dublin.
The course, as is now usual at Clifden, snaked its way up through the two Rings; it was winding and tricky with sharp turns, and many seasoned performers came to grief, with clear rounds few and far between on this demanding track. The river-run obstacle is now a known factor as this is its third appearance in as many years and most competitors had obviously done the preparatory work. However, Fence 1 this year, which was on a bend facing a crowd of spectators at close quarters was definitely a bogey for many.
Westmir Queen (Westside Mirah X Cantaharba Lady) was 2nd in U.16 Working Hunter, and later capped it all again by jumping a great round with Pataire Crawford with just one pole down, winning the High Performance Class for the second year in a row. There were no clear rounds in this class with about 15 competitors.
The multi award -winning Blackwood Fernando (Ferdia, X Dancing Queen) with rider Alicia Devlin Byrne, had won the Over 16 Class and followed that with a High Performance 2nd place.
Bobby Sparrow Blue (Ashfield Bobby Sparrow X Misty Maiden), with rider Justine O’Hara was placed 3rd with one fence down also.
Gleann Rua Hoodwink (Abbeyleix Owen X Gleann Rua Morning Mist) with Ciara Connolly took 2nd place in the Over 16 Class with 20 competitors. Ciara’s brother David had earlier jumped the 18 year old gelding into 3rd place in the Under 16 Class.
Padraig Geoghegan stood 2nd in the Stallion Class with Danish bred Fredericksminde Fine Edition (Coosheen Finbarr X Fredericksminde Christel).
The young rider Mickaela Weld rode Newtown Molls Pride (Fredericksminde Hazy Match X Newtown Moll) into 3rd place in the Stallion WH Class. ( Riders must be 14 to ride in a stallion Class)
Mickaela had jumped Dunlewy Roller (Ashfield Plover X Dunlewey Rafaella) into 6th place in the High Performance and gone up to a shared 2nd placing in the Puissance.
The high number of 25 ponies entered in the Potential Working Hunter Class for 4 – 5 yr. olds, represented a very positive prospect for the future of the Connemara as a Performance pony. Not all of those entered competed in this first W.H class on the day of course, and it was an English-owned pony, Lockinge Peace (Bunowen Bobby X Glencarrig Princess), ably ridden by Kildare man Andrew Coonan, who earned the Red rosette. Second in Line for the Blue was Derry based gelding Silver Earl (Kilmore Diamond X Castleside Killiney) with rider Lisa Hockley. It was a good parting gift for owner Jackie Hockley as Silver Earl was also placed 2nd in the 1st Hunter Class of the Show, the Green W.H on Wednesday.
And finally to the last competition of Clifden Show 2013 The Puissance. 8 ponies and riders took part. A novel Event this year was the attempt of Side-saddle rider Susan Oakes to set a World Record for the highest height jumped by a Connemara pony with a side-saddle rider. By the 1.35 metre stage, riding Bobby Sparrow Blue, the pair had already achieved Susan’s aim and created a new Side-saddle record. She had only first sat up on this
former Puissance champion the previous day. The ringside crowd had been increasing all day in the balmy sunshine, and for them the Puissance Wall was the highlight of the afternoon and a frisson of excitement was palpable. Commentator John Condren kept everyone informed as the competition unfolded.
After the 1.45 stage there were only three competitors left in contention in the fifth and final round. The wall size then underwent a substantial increase in height to 1.63 metres.
There were 3 finalists in contention. Dunlewey Roller (Ashfield Plover) with a performance record which included Grade A with 218 SJAI points, and a past European representative on the Irish squad in Spring this year at Fontainbleu; Rider was Mikaela Weld. No luck for Mickaela this time despite a great effort, they had one block down.
Next to go was the 9yr old stallion Doire Mhanaigh Earl (Robe Earl) a Grade D with 36 SJAI points. With rider Christine Molloy, they cleared the Puissance wall. at 1.45 Pic
The pressure was now on Beaugh Drifter a 7 yr. old gelding with 37 points, by Rathcoona Cove, ridden by Sophie Mullane. It was not to be this time round for Beaugh Drifter and the winner was Doire Mhanaigh Earl. who sailed over the final height of 1.63 metres. Nothing was left after that high excitement but the prizewinners parade through Clifden and later the 90th Birthday celebrations of the CPBS with live music and a barbeque in the town.