The ground was firm but the competitors said it was extremely good to jump on, with the sand base preventing it from becoming too hard and the good drainage meaning that the brief sharp shower did not make it slippery.
There was a good turnout in the registered classes with the Star Prize for the 1.20m of a very generous ferry ticket from P&O being drawn for by Philip Gaw on Rocky Bond. Michael Burton, who had the only other two double clears in the same class, was out of luck drawing the two blanks. A little injection of hunting style in the registered classes was provided by Ian Wilson who is more usually seen after hounds!
The Amateur Class was won by Jenny Beattie on her extremely consistent horse Dashing Daniel, closely followed by Philip White with his horses Fabregas and Texan Style coming second and third.
In the non-registered classes there was an impressive entry with the undoubted, if smallest, star of the 70s and 80s being young Sophie Clugston who jumped double clears in both classes on her wonderful little pony Dapple and won the special rosette for the youngest competitor to jump a double clear. If she can do this aged only seven what will she be like aged 18?!
There was a record number of double clears in the 70cm class with 16 riders proving successful, and nineteen in the 80cm. In the 70cm class Andrew McAuley on Lady B drew for the JB Electrical cup, and in the 80cm class it was Megan Flanagan who was successful with her two ponies Mighty Midget and Silver Star and drew for the Ken's Burger Bar Trophy.
The 90cm Open class had timed jump-offs to decide the winners and Holly Byrne on Toblerone were victorious in the pony section with Sophie Bell on Stormy Boy second and Kathryn Cameron on Roxy third. In the horse section Angie Thompson and Shandy won the Norwood Open Shield in great style just beating Karen Fleck on Uptown Lady and Alan Arthur who came third on Ben.
The Jess family provided their usual excellent service in building the course and judging the registered classes. Their efficiency and helpfulness always makes the day go smoothly and we would also like to thank Eavan White and Hubert Nichol for judging the Amateur and Non-registered class with great expertise. We are also very grateful to Anthea Moffett for taking charge of the Amateur Classes and providing the prize vouchers from Marks and Spencers.
Many thanks to our generous sponsors, in particular P&O Ferries who donated a ferry ticket which would enable 4 riders, horses and their lorry to travel to England to compete. Also the Tullyglass Hotel, Rodney Cole Ltd, The Country Garage, Wilsons of Rathkenny, Turtles of Rathkenny, Cunningham Covers, Abbey Upholsterers, Doagh Farm Feeds, Catering Sponsored, Adair Arms Hotel, Redmills, Ken MacMillan, Irwin's Feeds, N & P Tyres, Stephens Catering Equipment, Old Stone Veterinary Clinic, Tobermore Concrete, Mervyn Hawe FRCS, Castlehill Equestrian Centre, Thompsons, Gardiners Stores, Spillers, Pegus, R.Colvin & Son, Caterquip, Algram, Arrow Oils, Old Mill Saddlery, Jollyes Pet Foods, Linda Davis of Laurel View Equestrian Centre & Tack Shop, and GC Livestock Services.
Double Clears - Registered jumping:
90cm: Philip White, Pascalle; Audrey Horton, Kozmik Clover; Paul Caves, Quinvella; drew for Tail Bandages donated by O'Connor,Kennedy,Turtle
1m: Lisa Spratt, Harpers Diamond;Conor Stewart,Achillea; Rebecca McGookin,
Hampton Nasdaq; drew for rug donated by O'Connor,Kennedy,Turtle; Adam Turtle, Greenvalley Diamond; Nicola Milligan, Due West.
1.10m: Paul Humphries,Eve Alone; Paul Caves, Master Gold Touch; Leigh Anne Rea, Saumur Li; Jill Davidson, Harlequin Merrymaker; all drew Laurel View
vouchers, Paul Caves, Quinten ; Michael Burton, Cruise Affair.
1.20m: Philip Gaw, Rocky Bond (drew for the Star Prize of a P&O Ferry ticket); Michael Burton, Drumrankin Promise; Michael Burton, Ikan.
Amateurs: 1: Jenny Beattie, Dashing Daniel; 2: Philip White, Fabregas; 3: Philip White, Texan Style; 4: Anthea Moffett, Scholdfield; 5: Alistair Barr, Mac Porsch; 6: Joanna Curran, Kilbrickan.
Double Clears - Non-Registered Horse and Pony Jumping:
Andrew McAuley, Lady B, drew for the J.B Electrical trophy; Rosemary Moffett, The Jarvey; Chloe Wright, Harvey; Nicola Such, Coritani; Elaine Simpson, Evergreen; Josh Mark, Bounty; Jamie-Lee Mark, Bounty; Lauren Gordon, Joe; Lauren Court, Hullablue; Whitney Ross, Rossco Diamond; Samuel Douglas Brown, Murphy's Law; David Taylor, Anna; Angie Thompson, Brandy; Megan Flanagan, Mighty Midget; Helan Mc Bride, Chance; and Sophie Clugston, Dapple, winner of special rosette for youngest clear round rider.
Sophie Clugston, Dapple; Megan Flanagan, Mighty Midget, drew for the Ken's Burger Bar trophy; Chloe Wright, Harvey; Nicky Such, Coritani; Alan Arthur, Ben; Samuel Douglas Brown, Murphy's Law; Clare Montgomery, Paddywhack; Hollie Neeson, Cuddoo Star; David Taylor, Anna; Nicole Cameron, Fizz; Ellen McFarlane, Poppy; Angie Thompson, Brandy; Marion Rea, Oscar; Megan Flanagan, Silver Star; Stephanie McLernon, Rocking Ronnie; Holly Byrne, Domino; Lauren Gordon, Joe; Lauren Court, Hullablue; Sammy Workman, McCrea's Choice.
90cm Speed Jump-off - Ponies: 1. Holly Byrne, Toblerone, Open Norwood Shield Winner; 2. Sophie Bell, Stormy Bell; 3. Kathryn Cameron, Roxy.
Horses: 1. Angie Thompson, Shandy; 2. Karen Fleck, Uptown Lady; 3. Alan Arthur, Ben.
The show chairman, George Devlin, who was sadly called away to England to attend a funeral, would like to thank all sponsors, helpers, medical and veterinary support and not least the competitors who supported the show and made it such a success.
We are grateful to Ballymena Borough Council for providing such an excellent venue, and to the Turtle family for all their work before and after the event. Next year we would hope to expand the show to include working hunter classes, provided we can find the volunteers to help. Anyone interested in supporting this would be warmly welcomed!