Finals day! No Pressure! Lying in 6th= with Ballyclare High Brann and Dromore High Flyers. 24 teams entered in the Novice section, 2 of which were ERGS.
The first of our teams to go was ERGS Christmas Wish. Tiana Grace Abbott led off on Bracken Dancer. Unfortunately, not his best day, as he didn’t get adequate warm-up time. This was largely due to being called in to jump as team 13 instead of 14 as the other school weren’t quite ready. It happens in Showjumping! Despite this, TG took him round the course well with only two faults. Next up was Sasha Milne on Buddy, only the second week the duo have been able to do this year. Into the Arena they went, nice and confident – nothing to lose! The pair left the Arena having jumped a lovely double clear round. Finally, we had Hannah Jones on Louie. What a little firecracker! A tiny pony jumping big, scary jumps. The pair of them did so well, with Louie only clipping 2 fences, incurring 2 faults. A good effort for this very quickly thrown-together team.
Our second team to go was ERGS Original. This is the team who, week after week, have worked hard to get themselves into the position we stated above. On two occasions, they have won Rosettes as they have been in the top 6 finishers. How would we fair today? It was all very close. First to go was Hannah on Rocket. The pair were jumping so very well, with lovely turns and nice clears over the fences. They got round with only one fault. In came Tiana Grace on Valley Clover Dream. Just to look at these two, you could see that they are a good fit despite only jumping together for about 6 weeks. They cruised round the course getting a double clear in a good fast time. 3rd rider in was Sophia on Clonlee Red River. These pair know each other so well and were jumping strongly. Unfortunately, one fence was clipped, and you could almost taste the annoyance in the air! So, a second ride with one fault. Last to jump was Patrick on Coill Dearmad William. I have to say, he was flying! The pair looked so comfortable the whole way round. As they jumped the final fence, Patrick felt the pole fall- you could see he was gutted for this to happen at the last ‘hurdle’ as he leant backwards on his horse in frustration. 3rd ride – one fault. We had already heard that Dromore High Flyers were sitting in 3rd position after their ride today, so… we knew our hopes were dashed for this year.
Finally, we had our last team to go. This was our Open Team. They have only jumped in 2 weeks prior to this as it’s a tougher competition with the jumps being 1m in height. On this 3rd jump for us, we only had 3 riders. Natalie Somerville was first into the Arena on ISHD Convoy. She was jumping well, but unfortunately on the tight course, she knocked two fences resulting in one fault in either phase. Patrick was in next on Clonlee Red River (his sister’s horse). The pair (despite having just competed in the Novice about 15 minutes earlier) has a super round. A double clear! Well done to them. Finally, it was Sophia on Coill Dearmad William (her brother’s horse). Again, fresh in from the Novice event, the pair were jumping strongly but just managed to clip one fence, giving them one fault.
So – it wasn’t to be this week. All our riders did extremely well, and I am so very proud of every last one of them. The hard work and commitment these pupils put in behind the scenes is incredible. It takes a lot to ensure your horse is fit and healthy; has a such a strong relationship with their rider that they’d do anything for them and has a passion for jumping!
Congratulations to everyone – parents and children. I look forward to the Balmoral Qualifiers, St Patricks Day at the Meadows and the Drumragh Inter-school show in the New Year.
Thank-you all and Happy Christmas