Glistening display at Baileys Horse Feeds grand finale
As ‘D’ Day arrived so did the bright sunshine. The presentation table was impressively laid out with rosettes, sashes and prizes, all glistening in the golden rays.
Master of Ceremonies for the occasion was Raymond Bready who certainly added a very professional touch to the occasion as he called the title sponsor, Judy Maxwell of Baileys Horse Feeds, forward to take her place at the side of the podium which was beautifully bedecked with the Baileys Horse Feeds wings and merchandise.
It was very impressive that all those required for the presentations were available and beautifully turned out.
The top 15 in the league were presented with their prizes in reverse order which culminated in the League Championship Trophy, sash and prize envelope being presented to Nikki Cullen, the champion for 2023.
Taking their places alongside her on the podium were Denis Currie in second place and Zara Reid in third, each of whom received sashes and prize envelopes and Baileys Feed.
Judy also presented the award for the highest placed Riding Club member to Claire Ireland of Gransha Riding Club who placed ninth overall with Goin’ For Gold.
The highest placed Pony Club member was Zara Reid and Lola of North Down Pony Club who finished in third place.
Joanne Jarden, who spent her whole morning judging, was on hand to present the Treo Eile prize of €150 to Emma Thompson and Maura’s Way who completed in seventeenth place was a remarkable achievement for an ex racehorse who only came off the track in 2021.
Christine McBride was in attendance to present a beautiful Equipe bridle and matching reins to Denis Currie who amassed the highest number of dressage points in the league as well as three pair of Veredus overreach boots to Sophia Madeley, Robyn Rice and Keeva McElhennon who were the best supporters of the league, outside of the top placings.
Another amazing feature of this year’s league was the spectrum of ages of the competitors who participated and that was very evident at the prize giving where they ranged from 13 to 68 – a rare phenomenon in any sport.
Although a non-qualifying day, there was another Flexi session with very good entries across the board.
Some 36 combinations came before Dressage Ireland judge, Jacky Reid, who awarded her top mark of 75% to Jonathan West riding Orla Sheehan’s 21-year-old grey gelding, Monmurry Sovereign, sired by the thoroughbred stallion, Accondy.
This combination has been competing under Eventing Ireland rules since September 2021 with a number of top six placings. Nicola Martin, who placed twelfth overall in the league, occupied second place on her Irish draught mare, Misty, with whom she has shown incredible consistency over the past seven weeks.
Rosemary Bellew made her first appearance at the Flexi a very memorable one when FEI Level 4 Judge, Joanne Jarden, reserved her top score of 73.5% for her and Belle Saru.
This is a seven-year-old Thoroughbred mare by Sageburg, with whom Rosemary’s sister, Caroline McQuillan, has already clocked up five wins in Eventing Ireland competitions.
No stranger to success, Kaiti McCann, and her fabulous skewbald mare, Cookie, claimed second place, before going along to the prize giving to pick up her seventh placing in the league.
Joanne Jarden also judged the Novice class of ten where she was most impressed with the Amateur maestro, Denis Currie and his ISH gelding, Arodstown Aramis, who were the only combination in the class to break the 70% barrier (71.8)
Coming closest to that was Laura McKillan riding Hayley Cunningham's gelding Embarcadero (69.5%).
This 15-year-old gelding by Chacao is described by his owner as being quite a character but is certainly an “all rounder” and competed at Pony Club intermediate championships in England last summer with Hayley’s son, Patrick.
Newcomer to the Flexi, Casey Webb, certainly made her mark in the Joanne Jarden judged Intermediate class of six where she had a very convincing win on a score of 77.3 on board Zoe (April’s Pacino Time) a 10-year-old mare by Pacino whom she has been campaigning for several years.
Casey, who is a resident senior international rider at Smith’s yard in Gilford, credits her success to intensive training during the winter with Alan Dewhurst, originally from Gilford but now based in Scotland.
With Casey’s incredible performance, Denis Currie, who also scored into the 70s, had to settle for second place.
It was lovely to see Yu Xuan Su from Hong Kong, but also currently based at Smith’s yard, out competing in the class with two of his horses who placed third and fourth.
He has his sights firmly set on the Asian Games due to be held in Hangzhou so is getting geared up for the final Hong Kong Team selection which takes place at Millstreet International in June.
Clearly the Showjumping fraternity are also gearing up for their season as the classes in Arena 2 were particularly busy as was the Cross Country Arena.
As the Baileys Horse Feeds Flexi Eventing draws to a close thanks are extended to sponsors: Judy Maxwell of Baileys Horse Feeds, Treo Eile and Christine McBride whose involvement really made this series very special!
Thank you to all the helpers over the seven weeks, judges, course designers, scribes, call up stewards, arena parties, office staff, hat taggers and scorers whose dedication to duty was exemplary and very much appreciated.
Thanks also to Aaron McCusker and his team at the MEC for all their hard work and attention to detail, week on week.
Also, appreciation goes to Tori O'Connor and her team of photographers who’ve captured all the action in every arena every week.
Finally, a sincere thank you to all the competitors who supported the league- it wouldn’t have been a competition without them and the organisers value that support immensely.
They hope that they and their horses and ponies have benefitted from the seven weeks of intense training and we look forward to welcoming them all back in January 2024.
Intro - Judge: Jacky Reid
Jonathan West, Sovereign
Nicola Martin, Misty
Ciarrai Rice, Lady J
Sarah Russell, Dowdstown PJ
Kat Butler-Ward, Stylebender
Karina McVeigh, Cococabana
Pre novice - Judge: Joanne Jarden
Rosemary Bellew, Belle Saru
Kaiti McCann, Cookie
Bethany Smith, King
Sharon McKeever, Hemmingway
Eve McDowell, Nakuti
Victoria Mullen, Fun Time Frankie
Novice – Judge: Joanne Jarden
Denis Currie, Troy
Laura McKillan, Embarcadero
Erin Mathieson, Colin
Nichola Wray, Springhill Showman
Becky Anstey, Clover
Laura McKillan, Gabby
Intermediate - Judge: Joanne Jarden
Casey Webb, April’s Pacino Time
Denis Curry, Troy
Yu Xuan Su, Aly
Yu Xuan Su, Esau
Casey Webb, Tommy
Lisa Allen, B
Show jumping (double clears)
Brooklyn Edwards, Mr Cava Blue, Marie Fallon-O’Kane, Dixie, Beth O’Leary, Pip N Mix, Ruby Mulvenna, Chester
Beth O’Leary, Pip N Mix, Claire Mackay, Crannard King of Hearts, Marie Fallon-O’Kane, Dixie, Daisy Douglas, Rock The Boat, Freya Kennedy, Roughan Sunny
Robyn Rice, Holiday Kruising, Jonathan West, Sovereign, Rosie McCormick, Indigo Rose, Alanna Dunlop, Remember Me Ruby, Emily Morris, Buddy, Molly Magorrian, Lisgreen Silver Prince, Freya Kennedy, Roughan Sunny, Shaun Farren, Misty, Marian Tennyson, Lulu
Keeva McElhennon, Sundance 111, Una McSorley, Holly, Craig Hills, Fred, Alex Best, Finn, Judith Graham, Levi, Helen Pearson-Murray, Coco, Declan McParland, Simon, Eve McDowell, Nakuti, Alanna Dunlop, Million Dollar Girl, Cheryl Stevenson, Rebel, Zara Smyth, Tilly, Rhonda Hall, Pyper, Freya Kennedy, Roughan Balou, Hannah Thompson, Jemeela Charm, Connie Cullen, Paddy, Jessica Knowles, Pinecroft Jitter Bug, Ronnie Morton, Butter, Sarah O’Shea, Cherokee Flight, Sarah O’Shea, Rosie
Kerry Magill, Cruz, Emily Turkington, Camillo Gano, Casey Webb, Zoe, Nicky Corr, Maisie, Megan Nelson, Fancy, Denis O’Brien, Jipp, Casey Webb, Tommy, Nicky Corr, Maisie, Yu Xuan Su, Aly, Jessica Nelson, Tai, Nichola Wray, Springhill Showman, Alex Byrne, Monkey, Darragh Hanlon, Omaybe, Denis Currie, Troy, Gemma Esler, Bea, Ella Boyle, Denali, Andrew Farren, Nevada, Victoria Mullen, Fun Time Frankie, Andrew Farren, Holga
Emily Turkington, Hadj Des Fontaines, Emily Turkington, Tricolour, Ella Boyle, Denali, Sian Parkes, Albert, Megan Nelson, Fancy, Andrew Farren, Holga, Emily Turkington, Camilo Argano, Lucy Morton, Silver
Cross Country (clear rounds)
Laura Fekkes, Freddie, Ella Robinson, Little Disco, Holly Rice, Supreme Dream, Jessica Doak, Stan, Nikki Cullen, Bobby, Kirstin Gilmore, Rocco, Holly Wray, Henry
Claire Ireland, Goin’ For Gold, Edana Taylor, Bella, Karina McVeigh, Cococabana, Isaac McCarthy, Hollywood Pippin, Sharon Madine, Lear Lady, Shana Martin, Peasedown Bobby Brown, Nicky Corr, Boodles, Zara Reid, Lola, Laura Fekkes, Hazel, Jack Cowan, Edentrillick Honey Bee, Vicky Dobbin, Villa Imp, Lauren Smyth, Hey There Delilah, Karen Connelly, Herbie, Nicky Corr, Minnie, Amy Burke, Robyn, Gracie Thompson-Logan, Fiddain Dash, Sarah Russell, Dowdstown PJ
Kerin Martin, Erin’s Beauty, Karen Pearson, Cora, Sammy Weston, Button, Eimhear Donaghy, TMS Freedom, Ellie West, Magherard Celtic, Keren Martin, Crannard King of Hearts, Rachael Burns, Cavalier Carry on Cruising, Helen Pearson-Murray, Coco, Johanna Herron, Paris, Ciarrai Rice, Lady J, Chloe Watson, Havana, Marian Tennyson, Sensations Bay Rum, Rosemary Bellew, Belle Saru, Ebba Mowat, Robinson Cruiso, Catherine Cowan, Lady Remarque, Emily Morris, Buddy, Robyn Rice, Holiday Kruising, Jude Cunningham, Edentrillick Texas, Sophia Madeley, Bainrion Alainn, Nikki Cullen, Gemstone Ruby, Millie Mulvenna, Taylor, Holly Wray, Lola, Megan Houston, Western Ocala, Nikki Cullen, Minnie, Marian Tennyson, Lulu
Victoria Mullen, Funtime Frankie, Claire Smyth, Tillie, Kaiti McCann, Cookie, Sammy Weston, Rosie Mullan, Twix, Jessica Knowles, Pinecroft Jedburgh, Victoria Mullen, Kilcolman Curlew, Hannah Thompson, Jemeela Charm, Keeva McElhennan, Balnashallog Goldfinch, Sammy Weston, Rio, Megan Stewart, Sid, Heather McMillan, Carnival Rock