For the first time in some years, Omagh Academy held their Inter-Schools show. I have to say we were delighted to see it back on the calendar and being held so close to home, at Necarne Castle.
Today we fielded a young team for the 75cm event. These riders have only ever participated as Individuals, so it was fabulous to have them all in a team together. This can however bring its own pressures – but I’m happy to say, not so for our girls today!
The team comprised Ruby Moore (9), Sarah Fleming (9), Tess Wallace (8) and
Ruby was a little nervous, as her pony, Izzy, had been refusing jumps almost all week. Undaunted, she entered the arena and promptly sailed over the first fence, there were refusals at fences 2 and 4, which she then cleared before carrying on. Fortunately, these occurred in the 1st phase which wasn’t timed. When the pair completed the 2nd phase, they were all clear in a good, steady time. To forge ahead once she had her first refusal shows us the sheer will and determination of this girl!
Sarah was in next on a recently healed Sahara after some time off through injury. Today was a little ‘trial by fire’. To be completely honest, if I hadn’t known, I wouldn’t have realised that Sahara had been injured. My eyes, however, are not horse owner nor veterinary ones, so…. In my opinion, the pair did very well. with a super double clear, executed in a strong and composed manner. Another tough competitor.
Sprightly Elvis popped into the arena with young Tess on his back. This pair were fabulous the whole way round. Rock solid. No fence phased them, and they very calmly completed the first phase and then the second phase with neither a pole down nor a refusal. The Team’s first double clear. Today, I saw a more confident Tess Wallace. This was lacking a little in Craigavon as she was finding her feet in the outdoor arena.
Finally, it was Erin’s turn. She and Bess have been working hard together to improve their connection. This has most definitely worked. Today I saw a much more mature and level-headed young girl. Erin may have had 4 faults in both
phases, but – the sheer will and determination on her face, meant that she didn’t let that get to her. She continued jumping a fine round with a lot of positives to take away from it.
After a lengthy wait, we saw our two Individuals get ready to compete. Emily Black and Rianna Mulligan. As the last of the 75cm riders trouped out, the organisers were busy re-shuffling the course to make it viable for horses to get round the course.
In my wisdom (!) – I decided to video Emily and Rianna. Not the easiest task, but – something different (plus I didn’t trust the camera ).
Obviously, a few more had joined the 95cm Individual event at last minute. This caused a bit of a delay for the girls, but… they rose to it!
Emily was in at around 4th or 5th. She started well but knocked two poles down in the first phase. She did, however, post a speedy time in the timed phase and it was a clear round also. All good in the Black camp!
Rianna entered the arena about two riders after Emily, so, it was quite quick after a long hiatus in between events. Like Emily, Rianna started strong, jumping solidly until the pony knocked a pole down. Undeterred, she ramped up the speed and went for a whirlwind dash over the remaining fences. This resulted in a fast time, of 32.04. Despite this, neither of the girls were amongst the prize winners.
Many thanks to all the girls for participating and to their parents for their transportation duties and unstinting advice and support.
Next event: Drumragh College, Monday 21st March at Ecclesville, Fintona.