Jumps Ahead leaps into action at the Meadows

The Meadows Equestrian Centre was the venue for the Charity Show hosted by Killultagh branch on “Jubilee Tuesday”.

The organisers kindly included a qualifier for the Europa Foods sponsored Jumps Ahead competition, the final of which is at Balmoral on 18th July. This is the third year that Europa Foods have been sponsors of this competition and we are grateful for their continued support.

Twenty-six pony riders from several branches took part and with 20 going clear in the first round, the jump off was indeed a test for the best. Michael Parker, course designer, had set a good track which rode extremely well.

Sarah Jane Alexander (Mid Antrim) set the standard with a good clear in 35.88 secs but was soon overtaken by Megan Orr (Iveagh). The lead changed again two riders later when Niamh Ward (Iveagh) was over a second faster 34.16 and she held that lead till Christine McNally (Route) fourth last to go, went at a blistering pace and taking all the tight turns to complete her round in 30.31 seconds. The remaining three competitors tried valiantly but none were to deny Christine her victory.

The successful qualified riders were well rewarded for their efforts as Margaret Creighton has secured additional prizes from Dermott Lennon, Rachelle Harding, Trevor and Steven Smith, Shane Cullin (Farrier), Gilly Tougher and Ian Moore (Veterinary surgeon), all of whom are giving their time/services free to the winners of this Jumps Ahead qualifier. The organisers of the Jumps Ahead competition would like to thank all involved at the Charity Show for their help in hosting the class and congratulate them on running a very successful show for the Northern Ireland Cancer Fund for Children.

The second qualifier for the Europa Foods Jumps Ahead competition took place on Saturday 9 June at the Meadows where members from the Mid Antrim, Seskinore and East Down joined the strong contingent from Iveagh to compete for six qualifying places. The course designed by Ian Montieth included the ‘zebra planks’ which had caused many of the horses in previous classes that day to stop in their tracks; however it proved to be no problem for the Pony Club ponies who gave it not a second glance. Eight competitors jumped clear first rounds, one of whom had already qualified, leaving it very tense for the remaining seven riders as they went into the jump off.

Mid Antrim member Sarah Jane Alexander was once again drawn first to go however Princess Ita ducked out at the second fence after a tight turn so Sarah Jane had watch and wait nervously as the class continued. Oliver Ferris also faulted at the second with a pole down but he was in the happy situation of having qualified a few days earlier.

Carl Webb took all the tight turns and cleared all the fences to take the lead however fellow Iveagh member Niamh McArdle pipped his time by just under one second. Charlotte Eakin on her novice pony jumped a good clear but not fast enough to challenge the leaders and last to go Seskinore’s Aisling Monaghan cleared all the fences and split the two Iveagh members to take the second place.

The remaining four qualifiers are at venues to facilitate the western, northern and Donegal branches and Pony Club centres to give all the members a chance to secure a place at the Europa Foods Jumps Ahead finals in Balmoral on 18th July.

Clougher Valley show, Ecclesville (24th June). Contact Ann Morris 07740 483667

Limavady Show (30th June). Contact Janet Currie 07834 039366

Area SJ competition (9th July). Your DC or Centre proprietor

Results: The Meadows 5th June

1st Christine McNally, Miss Pepper. Route

2nd Laoise O’Farrell, Walking Grey Shadow. Iveagh

3rd Niamh Ward, Murlough Dale Dark Moon. Iveagh

4th Ellie McArdle, Captain Jack Sparrow. Iveagh

5th Rebecca Sim, Monarch of the Glenn. Route

6th Oliver Ferris, King. Iveagh

Results The Meadows 9th June.

1st Niamh McArdle, Ladybug. Iveagh

2nd Aisling Monaghan, Murphy’s Law. Seskinore

3rd Carl Webb, Tiffany. Iveagh

4th Charlotte Eakin, Tommy. Iveagh

5th Shauna O’Connell, Hufflepuff. Mid Antrim

6th Oliver Ferris, King. Iveagh

7th Sarah Jane Alexander, Princess Ita. Mid Antrim