Ard Lú Riding Club’s Emma Bell on winning form at Jump Training

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Ard Lú Riding Club’s Emma Bell is celebrating back-to-back wins at the AIRC Grassroots Jump Training Series.

The Association of Irish Riding Clubs (AIRC) Grassroots Jump Training Series is a great opportunity to compete and train with an accredited coach who is on hand to provide advice and feedback on your show jumping skills in real-time in a competitionenvironment.

The training series is judged on style and performance while the aim of the competition is to encourage competitors to improve their technique

The series is open to members of affiliated clubs of the Association of Irish Riding Clubs.

Emma Bell of Ard Lú Riding Club being presented with her sash, rosette and training bursary prize from AIRC Chairperson Tony Ennis and Judge Susanne Macken. (Pic: Ard Lú Riding Club)Emma Bell of Ard Lú Riding Club being presented with her sash, rosette and training bursary prize from AIRC Chairperson Tony Ennis and Judge Susanne Macken. (Pic: Ard Lú Riding Club)
Emma Bell of Ard Lú Riding Club being presented with her sash, rosette and training bursary prize from AIRC Chairperson Tony Ennis and Judge Susanne Macken. (Pic: Ard Lú Riding Club)

Qualifiers were held in each of the regions within AIRC and culminated in a final on Saturday, October 28, at Emerald Equestrian, County Kildare, with a much-coveted training bursary up for grabs for the eventual winners.

The training series is judged on style and performance while the aim of the competition is to encourage competitors to improve their technique and, in doing so, improve their results.

Riders have the opportunity to walk the course at the beginning of each class, and a coach is on hand to answer questions and give advice.

On entering the competition arena the course is jumped once, feedback is provided by an accredited coach with the opportunity to ask questions and discuss the round.

Ard Lú Riding Club Chairperson Linda Nulty congratulating members, Emma Bell and Marta Esquíroz McCloskey who placed 1st and 6th in their classes at the Grassroots Jump Training Series Final. (Pic: Ard Lú Riding Club)Ard Lú Riding Club Chairperson Linda Nulty congratulating members, Emma Bell and Marta Esquíroz McCloskey who placed 1st and 6th in their classes at the Grassroots Jump Training Series Final. (Pic: Ard Lú Riding Club)
Ard Lú Riding Club Chairperson Linda Nulty congratulating members, Emma Bell and Marta Esquíroz McCloskey who placed 1st and 6th in their classes at the Grassroots Jump Training Series Final. (Pic: Ard Lú Riding Club)

The competitor will then jump a second round which will be assessed.

The second round is assessed with marks awarded for style, effectiveness of riding and the quality of the horse's jump and paces.

Any show jumping faults and any time penalties incurred are taken into account to produce a final score. The second round will be timed.

The North East Region of the AIRC held its qualifier on Saturday, October 7, at the Cheval Riding Club showgrounds.

Emma and Kiss proudly displaying their sashes and rosettes from their back to back successes in 2022 and 2023. (Pic: Ard Lú Riding Club)Emma and Kiss proudly displaying their sashes and rosettes from their back to back successes in 2022 and 2023. (Pic: Ard Lú Riding Club)
Emma and Kiss proudly displaying their sashes and rosettes from their back to back successes in 2022 and 2023. (Pic: Ard Lú Riding Club)

Ard Lú Riding Club, a club affiliated to the Association of Irish Riding Clubs with its base in Co Armagh and members from Armagh, Down, Louth and Monaghan, had six members out, with representation in each of the three classes and all members placing in the top six.

Results for Ard Lú Riding Club from the North East Region Qualifier:

RC70/RC80 class:

2nd Marta Esquíroz McCloskey/Ballintorehill

3rd Karen Nulty/My Man Oreo

RC90 class:

1st Emma Bell/Woodside Kiss Me Quick

5th Maire Byrne/Chilli Pepper

RC100/RC110 class:

5th Laura Bell-McKevitt/Woodside Fire Dancer

6th Anna Larkin/Tynan Dominic Blue.

With only the top two placings from each class progressing to the final, Emma Bell with Woodside Kiss Me Quick along with Marta Esquíroz McCloskey and Ballintorehill, who placed first and second respectively in their classes, went on to represent Ard Lú Riding Club at the final at Emerald Equestrian, Kildare, on Saturday, October 28.

The course for the final was designed and built by AIRC chairperson Tony Ennis, with Susanne Macken fulfilling the role of judge on the day.

The day started off with the RC70/RC80 class with Marta Esquíroz McCloskey and Ballintorehill third to go in their class and jumping a lovely clear round.

They finished on a score of 135 out of 150 and finished in sixth place.

Next up for Ard Lú Riding Club was Emma Bell and her homebred mare Woodside Kiss Me Quick in the RC90 class.

Emma and Woodside Kiss Me Quick won the RC70/RC80 class at the Grassroots Jump Training Series in 2022 and, with her training bursary win, engaged the expertise of Jim Newsam of Newsam Equestrian, something which she believes was instrumental in her gaining confidence to move forward and upgrade to RC90.

Following a foot-perfect two rounds at the final in the RC90s category, they finished with a score of 148 out of 150, which placed them in first place, winning the class and the training bursary prize for a second time – giving this combination two back-to-back wins in the Grassroots Jump Training Series in both 2022 and 2023.