11th International Connemara Performance Championships. 2013 Click on pics. to enlarge
The Parks, Moycullen, proved a fortuitous venue for the 11th Performance Championships, which were held on the last Saturday of August this year. Previously located at the Oughterard Show-grounds the Championships moved to The Parks Cross-country Course last year. The spacious farmlands lie just a mile from Moycullen Village in east Connemara where there are over 50 cross-country fences scattered throughout Martin McDonagh’s farm. On the day up to 24 of these, all within viewing distance for spectators, were specially selected for the Under and Over 16 riders taking part in a variety of Working Hunting competitions plus two Derbies and the track was sufficiently testing for all grades of ponies competing. It can be a bit confusing for
newcomers to see seven Championships on the menu, but these participants had all qualified in Ridden and Working Hunter Classes throughout Ireland for the various Championship trophies on offer at the Parks for Working Hunter and Ridden Classes. The two extra Championships introduced in recent years are for the Stallion Ridden Class and for the 4-5 Year Old Ridden Class. The winner of each Class goes forward to the Supreme.
On Finals day, while the competition is fairly intense the general atmosphere is relaxed . The Supreme Connemara Performance Championship for 2013 was judged by the full complement of Judges at the end of a long day of competitions. They simultaneously displayed number-marked cards after each Champion paraded before them. Finally the Michael Dillon Cup and colourful sash were presented to this year’s Supreme, the Champion in the Under 16 Ridden Connemara Class, Glenmore Kellys Commotion, ridden to perfection by Co. Louth’s young Stefan McNulty.
Supreme Champion Stefan, in his spare time, also show-jumps his own pony back home in Dundalk. The 6 year old mare is by True Commotion and Glenmore Kellys Owen, a dam who has superb winning credentials, having taken Championships back in ’09 in RDS Dublin, the Midlands Show and Roundstone Champion of Champions show. Dundalk owners Francis and Deirdre O’Reilly had cause for delight that they had made the long trip across Ireland to Moycullen to take part in the Finals. Now after starting at the end it’s time to go back to the beginning.
The first Class of the day was Side-saddle and the Red rosette went to the Abbeyleix Owen gelding, Gleann Rua Hoodwink (X Gleann rua Morning Mist) and Ciara Connolly. This local combination competed successfully – belying Hoodwink’s 18 years – in three more competitions before the day was out, taking home a good handfull of rosettes.
Blackwood Fernando (Ferdia X Dancing Queen) and Alicia Devlin Byrne kept busy all day also, starting by winning the Over16 Ridden Championship, ahead of Claremont Lad (Glanns Owen X Anner Honey) with owner Charlotte Glynn on board. I wonder did Charlotte look at Fernando beside her in the Ridden Class line-up, remembering how she herself had owned him and had won this same Championship on this perennial show-winner back at Oughterard in ’06 or was it ’07 ?
Fernando and Alicia later took the Over 16 Working Hunter Championship ahead of Gleann Rua Hoodwink.
Colliga Guillemot (Clonberne Boy X Meelicksland Grey Lady) with owner /rider Antonia de Burgh, were the winners of the Ridden Championship for 4-5 year old’s with Grace Murphy’s Gleann Rua Royale (Bunowen Bobby x Gleann Rua Beauty) in Reserve. Colliga Guillemot also took home the Championship in the 4-6 yr old Working Hunter Class, with Susan Denham’s Bertraghboy Heaven (Silver Heaven X Maoilíosa) ridden into Reserve place with Alicia D. Byrne.
The Working Hunter Championship for Riders Under 16 went to Newtown Molls Pride (Fredericksminde Hazy Match X Newtown Moll) with rider Mickaela Weld.
Mairtin Nee from Cashel bought the 7yr. old stallion as a foal, and he is now produced by Deborah McCann and ridden by Kildare’s Mikaela Weld (and yes she is related to top racehorse trainer Dermot Weld!) Molls Pride and Mikaela also won Champion’s Sash in the Stallion Working Hunter Class. This small compact class 1 stallion looks no more than 143 centimetres and Mickaela herself is a slight 16 year old and the pair are a perfect match, jumping together fluently and effortlessly. Gleann Rua Hoodwink, this time piloted by young David Connolly, jumped Hoodwink into to 2nd place once again in the Under 16 Working Hunter Championship class, having earlier taken a third sibling, Aoife Connolly, into 3rd place in the Under 16 Ridden. The stallion Agharanny Minstrel also had a good Rosettte Day for rider Edwina O’Connor, taking 2 seconds and a third in Working Hunter and Derby Classes.
Dunran Katie Sue, with Wicklow rider Lucinda Kelly, jumped a foot-perfect clear round over the 24 varied obstacles of the Over 16 Derby Track and won the Champions Sash for her good work. Dunran Katie Sue is by Monaghanstown Prince X Rathaldron Prudence and is owned by Lucinda’s mother, Avril Kelly.
The Under 16 Derby winner was John Hynes’ Wilma Ruby (Captain Millar X Wilma Jewel) ridden by Slaine Hynes. Well done to all who took part and competed on the day. And so ended the Performance Hunter Championships on a day of good ponies, good riding and equally good weather.
Junior Leading Rider was Mikaela Weld with Newtown Molls Pride.
Senior Leading Rider was Alicia Devlin Byrne with Blackwood Fernando
All photos © Niamh’s Weblog. For books info. visit www.marne.ie Click Here for Gallery or see sidebar on right under Connemara Performance Championships ’13