Baileys Horse Feeds flexi eventing attracts huge numbers

It was definitely a case of all roads leading to the Meadows Equestrian Centre for the first leg of the Baileys Horse Feeds Flexi Eventing League.

This very popular series run by Eventing Ireland’s Northern Region in association with the MEC got underway at the weekend with a very generous £1000 prize fund from the faithful long time sponsors, Baileys Horse Feeds, with Judy Maxwell very much in evidence at the venue.

It was a cold day but the weather gods prevailed and the sun shone for a large part for the 400 plus competitors who travelled from all over Ireland for this inaugural training show.

However, sharp showers moved in later in the day for those competing in the higher jumping classes.

Elizabeth Smith riding Rocky, clear in the 70cm Cross Country
Elizabeth Smith riding Rocky, clear in the 70cm Cross Country
Elizabeth Smith riding Rocky, clear in the 70cm Cross Country

It really was an amazing spectacle to see the five arenas in operation - three for dressage, one show jumping with two courses at all times and one cross country with four full courses for the entire day.

Very large entries in the intro dressage meant a class division into two sections.

Topping the leader board in the ‘A’ section with a score of 74.5 %, judged by Coreen Abernethy, was 13-year-old debutant, Amelia Wheeler, with Midnight Minty, a five-year-old Connemara and traditional gypsy cob cross.

This combination joined Dressage Ireland last year as a Trailblazer and won the summer Championships at both Necarne and Portmore as well as both leagues.

Erin McCrea riding Rubane Candy, clear in the 1m Cross Country
Erin McCrea riding Rubane Candy, clear in the 1m Cross Country
Erin McCrea riding Rubane Candy, clear in the 1m Cross Country

Prior to ‘lockdown’ Amelia had focussed on showing but then switched to dressage and show jumping and currently trains with Trevor Smith in Gilford.

She certainly made her mark on her initial foray into eventing as she also delivered a clear cross country round and just lowered one coloured pole in the show jumping so they are certainly a partnership to watch out for in the future.

Slotting in, just 0.2 penalties behind, was Janice Ireland with her eleven year old gelding, Technicolour Dream.

Joey as he is known at home, is a classic all round family horse. When he’s not having fun with Janice he is competing at Pony Club competitions with her daughter Claire who qualified him for the 2021 dressage and eventing championships.

Leah Turkington riding Holiday Charisma, clear in the 70cm Showjumping
Leah Turkington riding Holiday Charisma, clear in the 70cm Showjumping
Leah Turkington riding Holiday Charisma, clear in the 70cm Showjumping

Janice’s score of 74.3% was a personal best and is truly remarkable given that she suffered life changing injuries in 2014 following a kick to the face.

At that stage she was told she might never walk or talk again and now the Air Lingus air hostess is jet setting on long haul flights in between her passion for horses.

The Intro ‘B’ section saw Nicola Martin rise to the fore on Misty with a score of 79.4 % awarded by Lucinda Webb-Graham.

Misty is a five year old full draught whom Nicola has owned for the past six months and whom she hopes to introduce to eventing this season.

Laura Birley riding Bandit, clear in the 1.20m Showjumping
Laura Birley riding Bandit, clear in the 1.20m Showjumping
Laura Birley riding Bandit, clear in the 1.20m Showjumping

Sarah Russell occupied the runner up spot on her first outing with PJ, a six year old Irish draught gelding by Carrabawn Cross out of Dowdstown Belle who, herself, evented successfully with David O’Connor.

Sarah bought PJ as an unbroken three year old and has since competed successfully in showing, performance classes and dressage.

He is a yard favourite who is hoping to add eventing to his CV this year. Sarah Sproule took third place in this class of 35 with her five-year-old mare by Cavalier Land out of a Master Imp mare.

Sarah is hoping to fit in some eventing this year between her racing duties in the Warren Ewing yard.

There were over 40 starters in the Pre Novice class where FEI international judge, David Lee, reserved his top marks for Bhulo Parmer riding Mawillian, an 11-year-old gelding previously campaigned by Tori Dixon. Bhulo is a 17-year-old High Performance rider from Madhya Pradesh State Riding Academy in Central India.

He has been training with Declan and Becky Cullen all winter and plans to return to India later in the spring.

Nicola Martin riding Misty, winners of the Intro B Dressage
Nicola Martin riding Misty, winners of the Intro B Dressage
Nicola Martin riding Misty, winners of the Intro B Dressage

His cousin, Rhaju Singh, competed on Mawillan last year. Katie McKee and Murray (Summit) put in a solid performance to claim second place in this very competitive class.

Summit was bred by June Burgess in 2013 by the sire, Je T’aime Flamenco, out of her event mare, Olive Oyle.

He was campaigned by David O’Connor for the latter part of last year with Katie picking up a very credible fifth place at the final Northern Region event at Finvoy last September.

It was a case of déjà vu in the Novice class where Denis Currie and Troy topped the leader board with a David Lee awarded mark of 72%. Denis was crowned last year’s Baileys Horse Feeds Flexi Eventing champion and he has certainly got off to a good start this year with his Shannondale Sarco St Ghyvan gelding.

Suzanne Hagan took second place with Loughview Commander, her seven year old Cobra gelding who finished last season with a win at Punchestown in the 6 and 7-year-old class.

Unfortunately, due to a number of withdrawals for logistical reasons, the intermediate class, judged by Lucinda Webb-Graham had just two starters.

Best of those was seasoned eventer, Laura Birley whose last outing under eventing rules was in the CCIO4*S at Ballindennisk International in September.

The show jumping arena was also busy with the general consensus that a great education had been gained as horses and ponies experienced a superb selection of coloured poles and fillers.

The cross country arena was filled with a fabulous selection of fences, including a water complex, all of which gave competitors and their horses plenty to think about and provided a very valuable schooling opportunity at this early stage of the year.

The addition of a fourth course to cater for 70cms was a very welcome bonus.

Sincere thanks to the large team of helpers across all three disciplines who braved the cold and the rain to ensure that the day ran seamlessly and, of course, the organisers' most sincere thanks to Judy Maxwell of Baileys Horse Feeds for the very generous sponsorship.

The organisers were delighted that Treo Eile have come back onboard with a cash prize of €150 for the highest placed thoroughbred in the league.

Their agility and trainability is certainly highlighted by the increase in numbers of ex race horses going down the eventing route as a second career.

Riders should register their thoroughbred, for free, on www.treoeile,com/register.

This data assists the organisation in sourcing funding to continue the retraining support and sponsorship programmes.

Christine McBride has also very generously offered an Equipe bridle and reins for the combination which best supports the league as well as one for the combination gaining most dressage points.

The flexi eventing continues every Saturday until 25 February with points being awarded for performance and attendance up until the previous week (18 February) with a special prize for the highest placed Riding Club/Pony Club member.

The prizegiving will take at The Meadows on 25 February at the completion of competition.

This is open to absolutely everyone and, as the name suggests, riders can choose to do any or all of the three disciplines.

Dressage enquiries to Dora on 07876758979 or [email protected]

Enquiries with regards the showjumping and cross country should be directed to MEC on 02838322417.

Full results

Intro ‘A’ – Judge: Coreen Abernethy

Amelia Wheeler, Midnight Minty

Janice Ireland, Technicolour Dream

Susan Cummiskey, Holly

Zara Reid, Lola

Suzi McClean, Butter

Caitlin Brown, Monkey Business and Karina McVeigh, Cococabana

Intro ‘B’ – Judge: Lucinda Webb-Graham

Nicola Martin, Misty

Sarah Russell, PJ

Sarah Sproule, Lily

Nikki Cullen, Gemstone Ruby

Rachael Burns, Cavalier Carry On Cruising

Gail McIlwaine, Miss Ballyrolly

Pre Novice – Judge: David Lee

Bhulo Parmer, Mawillan

Katie McKee, Murray

Sharon McKeever, Hemmingway

Erin McCrea, Rubane Candy

Michael McGaffin, jimmy

Kaitie McCann, Cookie

Novice - Judge: David Lee

Denis Currie, Troy

Suzanne Hagan, Loughview Commander

Abby Cummiskey, Jacob

Bethany Smith, Dun Surprise

Suzanne Hagan, Flossie

Lara McRobb, Cheska

Intermediate - Judge: Lucinda Webb-Graham

Laura Birley

Lisa Allen, B

Show jumping (double clears)


Kim Fields, Milo Mysterio, Maisie Anderson, Izzy, Leah Turkington, Holiday Kharisma


Yvonne Whiteside, Leah, Ella Rose Sands, Rosie, Sheena Kerr, Pegasus, Olivia Rodgers, Jessie, Catherine O’Hanlon, Thomas, Emma Thompson, Maura’s Way, Zara Reid, Lola, Nikki Cullen, Gemstone Ruby, Katie Forbes, Doctor Pepper, Una McClelland, Tullyheady Blaze, Claire Nestor, Freddie, Katie Clarke, Sue, Conor Savage, Tommy Boy, Sofie Halcrow, Clonminch Sally, Katie Flanagan, Million Dollar Bash and Rebecca Horner, Ballylisk Midnight Lad


Susan Cummiskey, Holly, Patrick McWilliams, Tyson, Charley Hanna, Farhill Captain Harry, Jessica Rogers, Knockbridge Magic Moment, Alison Callion, Ready Ted, Marian Tennyson, Sensations Bay Rum, Megan Coxford, Ars Vivendi, Robyn Rice, Holiday Kruising, Keeva McElhennon, Sundance 111 and Keeva McElhennon, Ballnashallog Goldfinch


Janie Cairns, Pixie, Lara McRobb, Flicka, shane Treanor, Bob, Ben Foster, Red Rock Supreme, Faith Fitzpatrick, Barbie, Shane Treanor, Star, Erin McCrea, Rubane Candy, Jessica Knowles, Pinecroft Jedburgh, Erin McClernon, Seapatrick Beachball, Gemma esler, Bea, Katie McKee, Murray, aimee Webb, Imperial Matriach, Eimhear Donaghy, TMS Freedom, Sarah Brashaw, Lankhill Lord Bui, Ava Stubbs, Tullyhill Lucy Diamond, Mya McMullan, Edenmore Apache. Eve McDowell, Nakuti, Amber Lucas, Toby, Kaitie McCann, Cookie and Gail McIlwaine, Miss Ballyrolly


Edward Little, Charlie. Jamie-Lee Mark, Jimmy, Laura Birley and Bob Cotton, Bandit

Cross Country (clear rounds)


Yvonne Whiteside, Finn, Ella Rose Sands, Rosie, Katie Clarke, Sue, Elizabeth Smith, Rockview Boy and Tom Rowlatt-McCormick, Greenore Jill,


Yvonne Whiteside, Daisy, Sheena Kerr, Pegasus, Asya Dixon, Donaghmore Melody Song, Iona McCreery, Seamus, Chloe Gannon, Fleet, Sophia Madeley, Bainrion Alainn, Zara Reid, Lola, Sarah Russell, PJ, Nikki Cullen, Gemstone Ruby, Lexi Robinson, The Rock, Arlene Greenaway, Warrior Bob, Claire Nestor, Freddie, Leah Turkington, Arkle Arizona, Cayleigh Erwin, Island Beauth Seventh, Suzi McClean, Butter, Joshua Russell, Honkey Tonkin Ted, Conor Savage, Tommy Boy, Sofie Halcrow, Clonminch Sally, Jen Shortt, Colm, Rachael Burns, Cavalier Carry On Cruising, Sorcha Hanly, Cherry, Karina McVeigh, Cococabana, Amelia Wheeler, Midnight Minty, Claire Ireland, Goin For Gold, Sharon McKeever, Hemmingway and Shane McKeever, Caprio


Michelle McConnell, Inisbri Dawn Chorus, Claire Smyth, Tilly, Micha Gomes, Ballydavey Sundance, Charlotte Brown, Carriganard Rosies Touch, Charley Hanna, Farhill Captain Harry, Olivia Byrne, Grey Mountain Star, Jessica Byrne, Buck Rogers, Nikki Cullen, Danske Coevers Lass, Marian Tennyson, Sensations Bay Rum, Megan Coxford, Ars Vivendi, Eimhear Donaghy, TMS Freedom, Mya McMullan, Edenmore Apache, Eve Lindsay, Gem, Jen Shortt, George, Robyn Rice, Holiday Kruising and Keeva McElhennon, Goldfish


Nicole Fox, Cody, Ben Foster, Red Rock Supreme, Rebekah McKinstry, HVL Jackpot, Erin McCrea, Rubane Candy, Aimee Webb, Imperial Matriach, Ralph Robinson, Stevie, Georgia Bustard, Mr Tip, Hannah Lynn, Dare to Desire, Laura Birley, Bandit and Amber Lucas, Toby

Denis Currie riding Troy, winners of the Novice Dressage
Denis Currie riding Troy, winners of the Novice Dressage
Denis Currie riding Troy, winners of the Novice Dressage