Monaghan riders dominate individual dressage championships

individual winners ltor primary to ao with laura mcdonald (1)Caroline McQuillan won the advanced intermediate title at the Connolly’s Red Mills sponsored Association of Irish Riding Clubs National Dressage Championships at Mullingar Equestrian Centre last Sunday.

The Border Counties rider continued her dominance of the division when she claimed the title for the second year running.

McQuillan riding her 14 year old bay gelding, Mr Brown (IRE), produced two impressive performances to register 72.74 and 69.81 to claim the title.

Her average of 71.28 kept her ahead of Brooke Lodge rider Emily Cleary (Neo Diamond) who led after the morning session but her afternoon test of 66.73 brought her average down to 69.82 to take the runners up slot.

The format for the championships remained unchanged from previous years with each rider performing two tests, in front of different judges, to decide the fate of the national titles.

Another Border Counties rider won a national title as Rosemary Bellew claimed the open championship.  Bellew was in third place after her opening test but a strong afternoon performance from Mr Brown (IRE) moved her up to first place on a winning average of 71.10.

Ashbrooks’ Michael Moore (Guaranteed Gold) led after the morning session but dropped down to third place on 70.42 while Twinforts’ Owen Smith (Orlando KWPN) edged ahead on 70.72 in second.

In the Intermediate championship, Killarney’s Jill Moffat claimed the title after two remarkable tests from Pick and Mix II.  Moffatt recorded a 79.40 in her opening test on her 18 year old skewbald gelding.  Her 74.55 in the afternoon gave her an impressive average of 76.98.

Last years winner, Melanie Hammel (Taylor Slaney Cruise) had to settle for second place as the Carne rider couldn’t match the performance of Moffatt as her average of 74.77 left the Wexford based rider off the pace.

Another Kerry based rider featured in the final shake up when Avril Groves Geary won the primary championship on Mask Six.

Her average of 75.31 ensured the red ribbon for the Kerry rider after an impressive afternoon test on her 8 year old piebald gelding.  Greenhills’ Niamh Campbell (Kiltycreevagh Rose) followed behind on 71.28 to claim second place for the Kildare based club.

Donna Murray claimed the spoils in the advanced primary championship on Kiko Temple with an average of 69.55.  The Dalysgrove rider, who finished sixth last year, held an advantage over second placed Anita Ward on Nuka Calliaghestown who registered 67.47 for Cill Dara.

The top hat and tails were on display in the advanced open invitational championship where less than half of a percent separated the top two riders.  Rachel O’Doherty claimed the spoils after an impressive morning test from Candrel Clover.

The Clonshire rider registered 71.00 in the morning which gave her a margin of over just over two percent going into the afternoon test but the gap was narrowed considerably by Elaine Murphy who averaged 67.31 on Eurisco.  But this wasn’t enough to catch O’Doherty who recorded 67.71 to claim the title.

Elsewhere there were wins for Border Counties Roisin Dick (Cloncaw Smartie), Ashbrooks Stephen McAvinchey (Scattery Katie) and Boru’s Julie Polden (Not More Clover) in the non-qualification classes for advanced primary, intermediate and advanced intermediate respectively.

Caption: Individual dressage champions (l to r) Kerrys Avril Groves Geary (Primary), Dalysgroves Donna Murray (Advanced Primary), Killarneys Jill Moffatt (Pick and Mix II), Border Counties Caroline Mc Quillan (Advanced Intermediate), Border Counties Rosemary Bellew (Open) and Clonshires Rachel O’ Doherty (Advanced Open) with Laura McDonald from Connolly’s Red Mills

Credit: David Abbott