A BUSY festive season at Mid Antrim began with Children’s Day which was hosted by Kenny and Audrey Hamilton at The Sheddings. An amazing number of jumps were built by Kenny Hamilton and Paul Traynor.
The first run finished with a river crossing. After the heavy rain the river was well up over the banks and most of the horses had to swim through.
The next few runs took riders up lanes and over some lovely stone walls, with smaller options for the children and ponies (and a few of the less adventurous adults).
It was then on to the forest with some fantastic jumping over fallen trees and yet more stone walls. Everyone returned home exhausted but very happy after a fantastic day out. A big picnic was waiting at The Sheddings car park provided by Audrey Hamilton and Jennifer Gault.
The day raised £200 for the Mid Antrim branch of the Pony Club.
Boxing Day at Cushendun was hosted by Poraig and Paddy Scally with the proceeds going to Marie Curie Cancer care.
The group started off on the beach allowing the horses to blow off some steam. After a few lovely gallops they headed up the hill onto Poraigs ground. There was a great selection of jumps, including a very impressive oil drum which some of the more adventurous riders tackled. After a great run round they headed back to the beach where two young ladies went swimming forgetting they had nothing to change into afterwards oops.
Organisers would like to say a huge ‘thank you’ to everyone who provided some very welcome warm soup and refreshments.
On New Year’s Day 26 Antrim Chase members and friends met at “Rowe’s Gift” in Bellaghy, home of Jackie and Ray Graham.
The group rode through the village where they were greeted by Hugh Graham at The Diamond. They then set off up to Mullaghboy Crescent and negotiated the jumps in an S shape through the Manor Field, up Kennedy’s lane to Johnny Mawhinny’s fields.
Here they went through a little wood that caused major excitement when several riders went straight on over a 4’ hedge with a 6’ drop instead of turning left through a gap - the squeals could be heard in Bellaghy.
They then went through Billy Leonard’s ground to the Gymkhana Fields via the Manor Field again where 15 jumps including Granda Graham’s hedges were waiting.
Riders followed a new route out through the Manse gates courtesy of William Mulholland. They then rode up Gow Lane through Ivor Milligan’s farm to Richard Mulholland’s Estate. Here those who weren’t racing round the 40 Acre stopped to admire the amazing view of Lough Beg, before they left the estate via David Lennox’s lane up through a wood to Johnny Adams’ land where all enjoyed the final big hedge.
The group returned to Rowe’s Gift via David Arrell’s ground to be welcomed by a spread provided by Jackie and Ray Graham and Kathleen Lyttle.
Again thanks is due to all landowners for allowing members to use their ground in these times of wet weather to make the day such a success. £300 was raised for Marie Curie Cancer Care.
To finish off the festive season Antrim Chase met at Mackenzie’s Equestrian centre.
There was a great turn out of horses and riders who enjoyed the first run up a lane with plenty of jumping. The riders then set off for the forest where again the Mackenzie family had been very busy building a great selection of jumps, catering for all abilities.
The riders then headed to the Quarry where again there was lots of jumping and a testing route over some very steep hills and into the water. The riders then headed off towards Clonkeen Equestrian supplies and enjoyed a quick break and some hot food before setting off again down the back lane and over another selection of jumps. Antrim Chase would like to thank all the landowners and everyone who helped make the day another huge success. The day raised nearly £600 for the Paul ward at the Royal Victoria Children’s Hospital. This was the ward that helped young Mikie Mackenzie recover from a serious accident in 2012.
Organisers would like to express thanks to all the landowners and farmers that make these days possible, also to those who put in so much work in the background to make everyday a great success, from building jumps to catering for 20 plus hungry riders on their return.