Highland Lodge Riding Club won the Horseware Team Show Jumping Championship last Sunday for the second time out of four appearances at the Dublin Horse Show in the past five years.
The Cork based club, which was established 25 years ago, was the only team to complete the competition with nothing to add but it all came down to their captain Maria Blomen who jumped a much needed clear round on All Dun Up to seal the victory for the club.
Team Chef d’Equipe Jill Twomey said,
I’m delighted with the team, especially as three of our riders never jumped at the RDS before. Louise Horgan and Niamh Mulcahy are only 18 so it’s great for the future to have such hard working and talented young riders in the club.”
Over 135 teams took part in qualifiers around the country with the top nine teams going forward to the final which took place in Simmonscourt where nine double clear rounds were recorded over Paul Duffys’ 12 fence track which included 14 jumping efforts.
After the opening round, Highland Lodge was out in front on zero penalties while Hillcrest followed closely behind on 1-time penalty.
Coolbell, Greenhills and Mo Chara were next best on 4 penalties while Greenvalley was further adrift on 6 ahead of Cheval, Springmount and last years champions, Killossery who each had 8 penalties on the scoreboard.
In the second round, Coolbell dropped out of contention after they racked up a further 14 penalties to finish on a total of 18 and languishing in ninth place while Cheval who were reduced to three riders after Nuala Stafford was unseated in the warm-up arena finished just ahead on 17 penalties in eight place.
Springmount rested in seventh place after the Galway-based club added 4 to their opening tally of 8 penalties while Hillcrest lost momentum to finish on 9 penalties overall in sixth place.
Killossery staged a late come back when they had nothing to add to their opening tally of 8 which brought them level with Greenhills who picked up a further 4 penalties in the second round. Time, however, favoured the Dublin based club to take the yellow ribbons as they had an 11-second advantage over Greenhills.
Greenvalley improved on their opening round, but it proved too little, too late as their opening round total of 6 left them in the third place.
Mo Chara also piled on the pressure as they also completed the second round with a clean sheet to finish on 4 penalties.
As has happened over the past number of years, the competition came down to the very last rider into the ring as Louise Horgan (Ringwood Sahara) and Niamh Mulcahy (Coronado Clover) produced double clear rounds for Highland Lodge while Tara O’Brien returned with three poles on the floor and two-time penalties on Larrainn. This meant their team captain, Maria Blomen needed a clear round to win the spoils outright for the Cork team but a single error would force a two-way jump-off with Mo Chara.
After a few hairy moments, the 12-year-old dun gelding proved his worth as Blomen steered him around the course leaving all fences intact and was well inside the time allowed to claim the title for the club for the third time in its history ahead of second placed Mo Chara.
Blomen said afterwards,
It was definitely not our smoothest round ever, but we did the job and that’s all that matters. We did have a scary moment at fence 9, Bailey was very clever and got us out of trouble there.
There is a lot to like about Bailey, most of all his attitude – the bigger the occasion the harder he tries. Even though he has jumped at the RDS four times now, he still seems to get a kick out of it.