In Pictures: Show jumping league commences four week competition as talented young locals take the reins

June 12 saw the beginning of a jam-packed schedule of classes and NIF qualifiers for both horse and ponies alike, writes our Hagans Croft insider.

Pippa Leathem, Silver Jubilee
Pippa Leathem, Silver Jubilee

''The morning started out at 9.30am with the horse classes and the 60cm and 4 year old class.

''Rachel Freil and 'Alghan Nipper' were the only pairing to keep all poles in tact over the course which set them up to achieve first place and the red ribbon.

''Five clears were to be seen within the jumping phase of the 70cm horse class, therefore it was down to the show phase where Megan Houston and 'Craigmount Sparrow' shone through with their immaculate tack and turnout and top marks for their manners and performance. A well deserved red ribbon for this pairing.

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    Minion pony 40cm winners

    ''Moving onto a strong 80cm horse class with a total of 10 competitors our judge Fiona Young had a few hard decisions to make.

    ''Few marks separated the top four placings but there was two competitors that stood out. First place was awarded to Aimee McKeown and 'Russel' finishing on 94 points and second place was awarded to Hannah Blakely and 'Lougherne After Dark' finishing on 93 points!

    ''A new class to be added to Hagans Crofts Working hunter schedule was the 80cm Cob class.

    ''Only one mighty cob turned out for this class and that was Judith Auten's 'Kevin' who had the red rosette in the bag. Hagans Croft would love to see a better uptake for this class over the next few weeks and warmly invites more participants.

    Aimee McKeown, Russel

    ''As the horse classes were well underway more new classes were starting up in the show field.

    ''New to Hagans Crofts working hunter is the minion classes which are for ponies, starting at X-pole height and moving upwards to 40cm, 50cm and 60cm classes.

    ''This course consisted of nine fences and was a nice inviting flowing course of rustic fences, perfect for those starting out on their working hunter journey.

    ''Currently these classes are just for ponies, however if there was interest Hagans Croft would consider putting on horse classes also.

    Horse champion Beth Taylor and Reserve Champion Megan Nelson

    ''Mandy Blakely was the judge for the minions classes and Hagans Crofts was delighted to have Mandy starting her judging career at this venue. Competitors were also delighted with Mandy's words of encouragement and support.

    ''Everyone was a winner in the xpoles class with all three competitors clear, Jessica Curran, Sofia Taylor and Pippa Leathem, all three girls riding superbly well behaved and turned out ponies.

    ''The 40cm minion class seen Olivia Rodgers and 'Motivator' placing first and Tabitha Cullen riding 'So Cool' placing second, both girls delighted as this was their first attempt at working hunter, we hope this success has encouraged the girls to attend each week!

    ''Some difficulties were to be seen within the 50cm class and with no entries in the 60cm minion class spectators moved back down to the main arena for some action in the 85cm small horse hunter classes. Beth Taylor and 'Millyard Bobstar' shone through within this class, finishing on a strong 92 points they claimed the first place ribbon, followed by Niamh Allen-Collins in second place with 'Lougherne Postman Pat'.

    Niamh Allen- Collins, Lougherne Leo

    ''It was success again for Hannah Blakely in the 90cm horse class, this time on 'Lougherne Kingfisher' finishing in first place, followed by Emma Irwin and 'Tango' in second. Niamh Allen-Collins gained more ribbons for their efforts in the 1m class, this time it was the red ribbon on 'Lougherne Leo'. A pleasure to watch this pair in action....well done! Megan Nelson finished in second place within the 1m and went onto place Reserve Champion Working Hunter Horse with another grey 'Millyard Bobstar' ridden by Beth Taylor awarded Champion Working Hunter Horse on the day. Congratulations girls!

    The afternoon saw the arrival of more ponies to take on the strong course of 60cm fences in the main arena.

    ''Scoring was tight within the 60cm class however Lauren Gordon and 'Sparrow' tipped Charlotte Nelson and 'Reggie' to the top spot. Sophia Madeley and Brooke Rice battled it our for first and second placings in the 70cm class, with 0.5 points separating their overall scores.

    ''However it was the red ribbon for Sophia Madeley and 'Alfie' and the blue ribbon for Brooke Rice and 'Stranray Luigi'. Not to be outdone, Brooke and 'Stranray Luigi' upped their anti for the 80cm pony class and jumped into the red ribbon.

    ''For their first time competing at a working hunter competition Jessica Rodgers certainly took on the challenge of the 90cm pony class.

    ''Clear in their jumping phase they went into their showing phase in a strong position, finishing on a score of 87 points they secured the red ribbon.

    Hannah Blakely, Lougherne Kingfisher

    ''Jessica and her mount have been attending the Toni Donnelly Working Hunter clinics at Hagans Croft, therefore all their hard work is certainly paying off in the show ring and getting the expert advise to gain those extra few pointers and tips to excel.

    ''There were no entries for the 1m pony class therefore the last class of the day was the pony Championship.

    ''This class is a separate class where first and second placings throughout the pony classes on the day are eligible to take part.

    ''Fiona Young had some very hard decisions to make therefore it came down to very minor details.

    ''A delighted Lauren Gordon and 'Sparrow' were awarded Champion Working Hunter Pony and Sophia Madeley and 'Alfie' Reserve Champion Working Hunter Pony.

    ''The smiles on the girls faces as they cantered their lap of honour was super and what a way to start the weekend!

    ''Hagans Croft would like to thank everyone who supported this 1st leg of Hagan's Croft's four week working hunter league and NIF qualifiers.

    ''This League is made possible by the following peoples help: Judges - Fiona Young & Mandy Blakely. Scribe - Jenny. Stewards - Harriet, Lindsey & Samantha.

    ''Thanks also to Black Horse Photography for covering the event. All photographs can be viewed and purchased from the Black Horse Photography website.

    ''This league runs every Saturday until 3 July and is open to everyone especially those wanting to qualify for the NI Festival at Cavan.

    ''This event is pre-entry only with entries taken via Hagans Crofts website or you can download and enter through the Hagans Croft App.

    ''Entries close each Thursday at 8pm prior to Saturdays event and start times are posted online Thursday evenings.

    ''To qualify for the final in week four, each horse/ pony and rider combination must compete in three out of the four weeks and within the same class.

    ''Competitors must compete in the final to be eligible for league placings, prizes and the overall league horse and pony Working Hunter Champion and Reserve Champion. Placings will be based on a points system.

    ''The final is open to everyone with a separate prize giving taking place for competitors on the day and league competitors.

    ''To find out more about the league, please contact Gillian on 07849 106453 or go to the website:''

    Working Hunter League & NIF Qualifiers - RESULTS - Saturday 12 June

    Minion Working Hunter Ponies

    Class A - X-Poles - Clear rounds

    Jessica Curran, Hightopps Busy Bee; Sofia Taylor, Pepsi Coca Cola; Pippa Leathem, Silver Jubilee

    Class B - 40cm

    1) Olivia Rodgers, Motivator; 2) Tabitha Cullen, So Cool; 3) Annabelle Gill, Gracie

    Working Hunter Horses

    Champion Working Hunter Horse - Beth Taylor, Millyard Bobstar

    Reserve Champion Working Hunter Horse - Megan Nelson, Fancy

    Class 1 - 60cm Working Hunter Horse & 4 year old Working Hunter Horse NIF

    1) Rachel Freil, Alghan Nipper; 2) Hannah Ogle, Casements Cavalier; 3) Shane Doyle, Sofia.

    Class 2 - 70cm Working Hunter Horse

    1) Megan Houston, Craigmount Sparrow; 2) Michelle Strange, Quality Galore; 3) Jessica House, Khalasar; 4) Sarah Skelton, Ballyneety Quality; 5) Neil Knox, Let's Get Down To Business; 6) Danni Froemling, Ralphie.

    Class 3 - 80cm Working Hunter Horse NIF

    1) Aimee McKeown, Russel; 2) Hannah Blakely, Lougherne After Dark; 3) Megan McCambridge, Honey of Mourne; 4) Emma Leathem, Drumcill Step to Harmony; 5) Gill McAreavey, Marley; 6) Michelle Strange, Quality Galore.

    Class 4 - 80cm Working Cob

    1) Judith Auten, Kevin.

    Class 5 - 85cm Small Working Hunter Horse NIF

    1) Beth Taylor, Mill Yard Bobstar; 2) Niamh Allen-Collins, Lougherne Postman Pat; 3) Ellie Johnston, Moreno VIII; 4) Sarah Kilpatrick, Snooki; 5) Aimee McKeown, Russel.

    Class 6 - 90cm Working Hunter Horse NIF

    1) Hannah Blakely, Lougherne Kingfisher; 2) Emma Irwin, Tango; 3) Lucy McGuinness, Duchess; 4) Shane Doyle, Doyles Romeo.

    Class 7 - 1m Working Hunter Horse NIF

    1) Niamh Allen-Collins, Lougherne Leo: 2) Megan Nelson, Fancy; 3) Hannah Blakely, Lougherne Quintessential; 4) Laura Napier, Hazeldene Etch a Sketch.


    Champion Working Hunter Pony - Lauren Gordon, Sparrow

    Reserve Champion Working Hunter Pony - Sophia Madeley, Alfie

    Class 9 - 60cm Working Hunter Pony NIF Starter Stakes & M&M

    1) Lauren Gordon, Sparrow; 2) Charlotte Nelson, Reggie; 3) Alex Hemsley, Vinnie.

    Class 10 - 70cm Working Hunter Pony NIF Starter Stakes & M&M

    1) Sophia Madeley, Alfie; 2) Brooke Rice, Stanray Luigi.

    Class 11 - 80cm Working Hunter Pony NIF 133cm also M&M

    1) Brooke Rice, Stanray Luigi; 2) Zara Smyth, Killucan Boy; 3) Hannah Blakely, Ardgaineen Sparrow; 4) Jessica Rogers, Knockbridge Magic Moments; 5) Sophia Madeley, Alfie; 6) Megan Cooney, Princess Dusty.

    Class 12 - 90cm Working Hunter Pony NIF 143cm also M&M

    1) Jessica Rogers, Knockbridge Magic Moments; 2) Zara Smyth, Killucan Boy; 3) Eva Kennedy, A little Touch of Pepper; 4) Megan Cooney, Princess Dusty; 5) Chloe McLaughlin, Teddyboy.

    Pony Champion Lauren Gordon and reserve champion Sophia Madeley