RDA competitiors take part in RDA National Championships at Hartpury College

Grace McSorley on Stevie
Grace McSorley on Stevie

This year the team from Northern Ireland consisted of nine riders from Laurel View and Omagh RDA Groups, accompanied by a strong team of coaches, volunteers, families and friends. As always, our riders excelled themselves and coped admirably with the very hot conditions, as did the horses.

Friday opened with the Show Jumping Competition, all classes had a bigger entry than last year and the standard of riding has noticeably improved. Oliver Davidson jumped an immaculate clear round in the hotly contested Level 2 competition, followed by Holly Hanvey on a borrowed horse, who also went clear, earning 4th place at level 3 and Simon Wylie tackling a Level 5 Course which he jumped clear into 2nd place.

In the afternoon two Omagh riders tackled the Countryside Challenge Course, both achieving second place in their respective classes, Nathan Moore deserving particular credit riding a borrowed pony with a thunderstorm in the offing!

Saturday saw the start of the dressage completion, first up was Oliver again who finished just out of the rosettes in a hot class on his first visit to the championships, followed by Naomi Elkin who rode a beautiful test to finish fourth (less than two marks below the winner). Grace McSorley was next and finished second in her class which she duly followed up with a first in the Freestyle.

Naomi rode a beautiful freestyle test in a very hot class to finish just out of the rosettes - only six marks divided the top ten riders. In the afternoon Aaron Magee rode a determined Countryside Challenge round to finish 5th despite Pepe being rather unwilling to co-operate at times!

Sunday was even hotter but despite this, Katie Ann McGoldrick won her freestyle division on a borrowed horse followed by 2nd Place in her dressage class on Pepe. Holly Hanvey rode a beautiful test on Brandy (borrowed from Penniwells RDA, thank you to them for all their help) which proved good enough to win on her first visit to the championships. Nathan Moore and Aaron Magee then placed 1st and 2nd in their dressage class, both riding Pepe- who may have found her new role in life as a dressage horse!

All in all RDANI had a very successful weekend, once again returning home with plenty of rosettes, trophies and happy memories. Thank you to everyone involved in running the event and also to all the coaches, volunteers, families, sponsors and supporters without whom none of this would be possible.