RIDDEN CONNEMARA PONY CLASSES (More pics. can now be seen in Gallery in the Sidebar. Click on pictures to enlarge)
The large crowds avidly watching every Connemara Pony class at the Show are testimony to the current huge popularity of the ponies in Ireland. The recent Performance Shows running mainly in Leinster and Connacht have convinced people – who never had Connemaras before now – to buy the ponies to for both adults and children to enjoy and to compete. The Ridden Classes this year attracted between 60 and 70 ponies altogether in the four classes scheduled and spectators crowded the ringside even for the late evening classes.
The younger ponies, aged 4 -5 were first in at 8.30a.m. Riding was generally of a high standard in all classes and in the first class of 20 ponies and it was Rosemary Connors, Waterford horsewoman supreme, who stood top of the line. She guided the 4yr old Casa in Airde (Rory Rasputin-Silver Shadow) into 1st place ahead of Mary Mitchell’s home bred 4yr old mare Western Easter (Creemully Western Melody-Western Princess.) Mary was thrilled with her good placing plus the fact that she has also qualified Easter for the Green Working Hunter in Clifden later this month. Another Western entry Nicola Crosby’s 5yr old gelding Hillside Rover (Dooneen Just Joey-Glencroft Lass) was in third spot. Class 74.
The Judges choice of winner in the next class, for riders under 17; was Henry O’Toole’s Cashelbay Joe (Village King-Mountain Ash) ridden by Emma O’Toole and this pair had taken their Dublin Ridden class two years ago also.
Another former RDS winner of 2009 was pulled in 2nd. Tessa Collier’s Newtown Blossom (I Love You Melody-Break of Dawn) Blossom also won her class in ’09 in Clifden. In third place stood Jane Barry’s Glencree Síog (Glencarrig Prince-Glencree April). After these two classes finished on time at 11.15a.m., Connemaras were not to be seen again until 5.15 p.m. when two further classes and the Championship were scheduled.
In the over-17 class a prolific Dublin winner and last year’s Ridden Champion, Derrymore Paddy Finn (Cloonisle Cashel-Goodbye My Love) created a record of sorts when he topped the line-up for the fourth time at the RDS venue with his rider Esmé Mansergh Wallace. This 13 yr.old gelding was also Reserve Side Saddle Champion here on another occasion.
Two Galway- bred ponies took the runner-up and 3rd place in this class. They were Àine Searson’s Glencarrig Colm (Windy’s boy-Glencarrig Rachel) with rider Brenda Shortt, and Louise Wilson.s Cloon Bright Cloud (Moy Hazy Cove-Cara Down).
The unfortunate stallion riders, all nine of them, got a drenching as rain and wind swerpt over the showgrounds during their class. Again it was last year’s winner Killacloran (Moy Hazy Cove-Castle Star) who landed this class for rider/owner Merryn Huntley Jones making it a Dublin double as the 10yr old Killacloranhad also won the Stallion class on Wednesday.
2nd in the line-up was Tom Murray’s French- bred Plume de Kezeg (Janus-Divrumenn) with rider Pauline Dahill and 3rd was the Galway combination of John Canavan’s Fernville Danny (Fredericksminde Hazy Match –Ross Castle Moya) with rider Grace Murphy.
All eight winners and reserves of the day’s Ridden classes turned up for the Championship. The Judges again looked closely at all the ponies one more time,
pulled forward three, then cut that down to two until the final choice emerged just before 8p.m.
It was a happy Emma O’Toole who galloped Cashelbay Joe a few rounds of the ring in celebration, delighted at receiving the Championship laurels and the Eugenia Murray trophy. Reserve Champion was the young pony class winner, Casa In Aírde with Rosemary Connors. For more Show pics Click Here
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