The Longford Pony Club team, who were crowned International Champions at the weekend.
The Longford Ladies team of Aisling McGreal riding Rincoola Tintean, Rebecca Lyons riding Castlerea Draoi, Edel Whyte riding Abel Star and Rebecca Yorke riding La Vie Hof Ter Zeedycke have had another very successful year competing in national and international Pony Club Championships.
As a result of their success at the Irish Championships in July, the team was offered the opportunity to travel to the UK to represent their club, area, county and country at the UK Pony Club Championships.
The Club had a very short time to arrange all the logistics associated with the trip, including booking transport for the horses, flights, stabling and accommodation.
The team members and parents travelled on Friday with Jackson International Horse Transport booked to collect the horses early on Saturday morning to ensure that the horses had sufficient time on site to settle in and recover from the long journey.
After exercising and bedding down their horses the team and their chef d’equipe Gerry Whyte took the opportunity to walk the show jumping course.
There was a very early start on Sunday morning as the team were drawn third to jump.
This year, the team faced stiff competition from 29 other teams from all over the UK. This team competition is run in the same format as the Nations Cup with the best three scores to count.
By 9am the Longford team had completed their first round and finished on a zero score. When all teams had completed their first round jumping there were four teams on zero score. Five teams were on 4 faults, with six teams on 8 penalties.
The draw for the second round saw Longford drawn last to jump so there was a long and nerve wrecking wait for the team.
As other teams accumulated penalties in the second round, it became very clear that the course designer had set a very demanding, challenging and technical course.
Rebecca Yorke was first to jump and delivered a foot perfect clear round for the team.
Aisling had the last part of the treble down and was followed by Rebecca Lyons who was very unlucky to have the last fence down.
Edel was last to jump – a clear would guarantee a win while 4 faults would result in a three way jump off.
We all held our breath as Edel completed a faultless clear round and it took a couple of seconds for the team to realise that they had done it once more.
An outright win for Longford Pony Club and an historic achievement – back to back success.
The success of the Longford Pony Club, at area, national and international level, is testament to the commitment of the members, excellent training provided by instructors in all disciplines, support by parents and the hard work by committee members in organising pony camps and rallies.
It highlights the importance of the Irish Pony Club in developing young equestrian athletes through the provision of training and competition.
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