Now in its 10th year, on the last Saturday of August the International Connemara Performance Championships again took-over the Oughterard Showgrounds for the day. Once again Finalists came from qualifying Shows all over Ireland again but, alas, the recession took its toll and no English Connemaras swelled the ranks at Oughterard this year’
The Format After the early morning Working Hunter, Ridden and Dressage Classes, all Performance finalists compete in their respective classes for a Championship at Oughterard, before all six Champions, adorned with sashes and ribbons then enter the ring for the final Supreme accolade.
Competition A, newly introduced last year for ponies 4-5 yrs. was won by local Rosscahill girl Ciara Connolly riding the family’s homebred Rosswood Little Lady (Knockillaree Tomas- Misty Ross)
The Senior (over 16)Ridden Championship sash went to last years Oughterard Supreme, Ursula’s Byrne’s 8yr old Longstone Hero (Gleann Rua Maxwell-Cashel Cherry), who was ridden again this year by daughter Jenny Byrne.
The Junior (under 16) Ridden Champion was Sheila Condell’s Stonehall Freddie (Village Boy-Malmore Abbey) ridden by Niamh Condell.
The Senior Working Hunter classes were next to go and that experienced combination Blackwood Fernando(Ferdia-Dancing Queen) and Alicia Devlin Byrne, still savouring their Clifden successes, were the winners here.
In the Junior Working Hunter Section, number 18, last to go, was Joan Vaughan’s Kippure Sabrina (Fredericksminde Hazy Merlin-Cushlawn Rose) who topped the leader board to carry the Champions sash back to Cork.
The Stallion ridden Championship has been well supported here for the past four years, and this year’s winner was the dun Rosscon Sunrise by Templebready Fear Bui, out of Cooloo Lady. Owned by Athlone’s P.J. Watson, Sunrise was expertly ridden by Susan Cleary to take his Class.
Of the six worthy Connemara Champions who finally performed before the day’s judges to publicly receive their judges’ points, (marked cards raised) it was Kippure Sabrina who got the final nod and a thrilled and it was a delighted Kirsty Connell did a joyous lap of honour.
Two of the day’s earlier Champions went on to win their resective Derby Classes;
In the Junior section, Ciara Connolly on Gleann Rua Hoodwink (Abbeyleix Owen-Gleann Rua Morning Mist) was the winner, while Blackwood Fernando and Alicia D. Byrne took the Senior Derby class. These two riders, Ciara and Alicia, were deemed to be Leading Riders of the Show, based on points, and received the Spottiswood and
the Corribdale cups respectively, to add to their day’s successes.
I did not have the pleasure of seeing Oughterard’s Sunday’s Show but have learned that the Fernando– Byrne duo again for the third time, yes, took home the Powers Quarry Cannonball Cup. What a record.! and Well Done. A quick look at Sunday’s Show produced a picture of the Supreme In-Hand Champion, Cathy and Martin snow-Coyne’s stallion Moorland Snowy River, a prodigous Show winner in 2011.
P.S. (If you find errors in this report please contact the Blog by Comment and then Niamhs Weblog will hope to get it right).