Working Hunter, Musical Ride, Carriage Driving, Puissance For Gallery photos go to bottom of this page
Friday morning activities started with the Working Hunter Class for young Connemara ponies 4 – 6 years old. This was the first of five graded W.H. Classes, the last of which downsized to suit a Family W.H.pony. The more advanced track ingeniously extended the course into the lower Ring One via a bank, two fences, then a return up to Ring Two via steps with a tricky fence included.
Fortunately the early morning showers cleared and a breezy day with periods of warm sunshine followed, enough to get the afternoon crowds rolling into the Grounds as never before since this Performance Day was introduced a couple of years ago. Since then performance class entries have more than doubled.
Golden Island Sparky ((Kilmore Diamond -Golden Beauty) was judged the best Potential W.H. Pony – from a substantial field – and rider Lisa Hockley was very pleased to take the 1st prize back to her native Derry. Lucinda Kelly’s Buaile Bobby (Bobby Sparrow Blue – April Cove) was 2nd in line.
Wicklow pony Westmir Queen (Westside Mirah – Cantaharba Lady), jumped a fluent round and impressed the Judges enough to be called into 1st place with young rider Chloe Walsh.
Delmrose Applejack with rider Emily Wilkinson filled the second slot in this competition, which had more than thirteen competitors.
In the Seniors competition (i.e.rider over 16) the prolific winning duo of Blackwood Fernando (Ferdia – Dancing Queen) and Alicia Devlin Byrne was awarded the Red Rosette. Westmir Queen again impressed the Judges when she took 2nd place- this time piloted by Anya Geoghegan – to take yet more ribbons back to the Co.Wicklow Geoghegan’s.
The Stallion Working Hunter winner was the top-class and ever-consistent perfirmer Cashelbay Prince (I Love You Melody – Coosheen Pheasant), (his wins are too legion to mention here !) the most recent being the Senior Connemara Hunter Performance competition at Dublin’s RDS . To the delight of his breeders and extended family Prince was called in as Champion Working Hunter pony and the multi-talented Blackwood Fernando stood Reserve.
Sue Clarke of the Australian Glenormiston Connemara Pony Stud in S.E. Queensland has been breeding ‘Connies’ since 1974 and has been coming to the Clifden Show for many of those years. She has a stallion Castle Baron, some colts and 20 brood mares to look after back home, but you sense she would never willingly miss the Clifden experience. The variety of the Performamce day made it a best-seller, and one man was heard to say he had never enjoyed a Clifden Show day so much.
And the Puissance was still to come, an event which had its trial run last year had now captured the imagination of many new riders and owners. Seventeen ponies started and of these, 6 were finally to clear the Red Wall, 5 stallions and a gelding, -ridden by four boys and two girls- at a formidable 1.55 metres and ready to tackle 1.65 metres.
It was then decided – on official show-jumping advice – that the Puissance limit of 5 rounds had been completed and no more jumping was permissible.
Clifden Fruit & Veg. had generously the prize and the 1,200 Euros purse was divided between the six contestants.
The six finalists were Lisa Leonard’s 5yr old gelding with Grade C jumping points, Doon Laddie (Silver Shadow – Doon Kate); the oldest stallion, a black Grade A 17yr old Dungimmon Knight (Bloomfield Bobby – Robeen Lass) rider Shane Goggins; John Walsh with the 9 yr old Carnabay Mira (Westside Mirah – Grange Sandy); the 12yr old elite grade BSJA showjumper
Ashfield Village (Ashfield Bobby Sparrow – Sherwood Princess) rider James Brennan; Bobby Sparrrow Blue (Ashfield Bobby Sparrow-Misty Maiden), (joint winner of the ‘09 Puissance) with rider Darren Walsh: and Cashelbay Prince s(ee above)with Padraig Flanagan.
The high tension evaporated and many a bystander was secretly glad that these brave ponies were not to be asked for more, which they could have course have given. The Champions from both Show Days then paraded Clifden, right through the centre of town and back to the Showgrounds.
Clifden 2010 must surely have been one of the most successful Shows ever. One of the hard-working team on the ground, Bernard Finneran, put it succintly, “individuals may go home with rosettes and trophies but the real winner today has been the Connemara Pony and Clifden show itself “.
For more photos Click here for Clifden Gallery
All photos © Niamh’s Weblog WWW.MARNE.IE