Niamh’s Weblog unfortunately did not get to the RDS this year but a trusty scout sent in pictures and text for the blog
RDS 2015 – Ridden Connemara Classes
This year’s RDS ridden Connemara classes took place in what is becoming the traditional manner, with two classes held first thing in the morning and an additional brace and the Championship following after lunch. In the end it was a clear case of the early bird catching the worm; the winner of the 8am class for four and five year old ponies, Charlotte and Gill Glynn’s Carrig’s Island Lad, reappeared triumphantly in the afternoon to take the Championship. Carrig’s Island Lad, a striking bay roan four year old, was beautifully ridden by Philippa Scott. The win for Philippa, who sadly lost her mother Deirdre earlier this year, was hugely popular with the ringside spectators. Rockisland Dara Óg won the young rider (under 17) class in the hands of Emily McQuade, who expertly guided the 6 year old in a snaffle bridle. It was a pleasure to see the Champion and Reserve both going calmly and smoothly in snaffles.
An extremely competitive class for 6 year olds plus, with riders over 17, was won by Laura McWeeney’s Roo Bella, ridden by Sylvia Henry. This beautifully behaved mare was shown successfully in hand and has been making a significant impression on the ridden scene over the last couple of years.
The final class of the day was the stallion class, which went to Lucky Rebel, a 9 year old Currachmore Cashel stallion owned by Claire Lacy from Offaly and ridden by Padraig Geoghegan. Also shown successfully in hand, this is Lucky Rebel’s first year under saddle, and he was a worthy winner of a good class.
The Champion pony was bred by Sean O’Grady on Clare Island and, completing a successful island invasion, the Reserve Champion pony, Michael Love’s Rockisland Dara Og, was bred by Tommy John Joyce out in Inis Mor. Not since the Vikings has Dublin been so successfully plundered!
Finally, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, it was frustrating that once again the judges chose to rely on memory alone when making their selections, making no written notes. This was particularly baffling in the case of the 6 year old and over class, where they were presented with 20 ponies, 19 of them indeterminate shades of light grey/white. Furthermore, the judges did not call in a specific initial line up, bringing the ponies in at random and making it even more challenging to identify one from the other. As the ponies circled the ring on an unusually lengthy final walkabout, commentators ringside were heard to mumble that, although taking nothing away from the extremely worthy winner, the class was “a bit of a lottery”. Perhaps the judges would do well to remember that the RDS is a very expensive lottery, and show the competitors the consideration their astronomical entry fees deserve.