Longford Leader gallery: Pony Club look forward to national festival

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At the recent Area 6 qualifiers in Tubberbride, Sligo, Longford Pony club showjumping teams and individual riders had tremendous success with first and second place wins for all the showjumping teams and qualification for 6 competitors in individual events.

This enables all these young riders to represent Longford in the Irish Pony Club National Festival Championship in Barnadown, Wexford from July 25 - 27.

The U12 showjumping team consisting of Rachel Higgins, Tom Murray, Celine Quinn and Kerri Hopkins finished in first position and the second U12 team of Kiera McGrath, Laura Finnegan, Katie McGrath and Ava Fitzpatrick finished in second position. Both Under 12 teams now qualify for the National Championships.

The U14 showjumping team consisting of Áine Murray, Amy Finnegan, Rachel McGrath and Jean Kenny came first after a very tense jump-off. Longford again scooped first place in the Intermediate showjumping competition with the team consisting of Emma McHugh, David Donohue, Alaoise Regan and Ben Quinn.

Edel Whyte won Senior Individual Showjumping and Shauna Heslin came 4th. In the Pure Dressage event, Longford's Edel Whyte, David Donohue and Emma McHugh again finished in first position. Edel Whyte came first in the individual competition. This team will also be heading to the National Championships.

In the individual events of Combined Training and Pure Dressage, Longford again scored very highly with many children being placed 1st – 6th and six riders will now compete in Barnadown.

In Senior Combined Training, both Edel Whyte and Shauna Heslin qualified for the championships. In the Intermediate Combined Training, Emma McHugh and Alaoise Regan qualified. In the Junior Section, Amy Finnegan qualified and in the Under 12, Celine Quinn qualified.

The club look forward to the National Festival Championships with confidence and anticipation, knowing that all the hard work and training is paying off. Competitors are grateful to their experienced instructors who provide expert tuition on all areas of horse-riding and horsemanship and most recently at the summer pony camp in preparation for this competition.

The two Chef d’equipes on the day, Gerry and James Whyte, guided the young riders through every event and instilled confidence in them.

Best of luck to Longford Pony Club in Wexford.