Christa Dillon reports

The final event of the Lightsource BP quartet took place on Saturday 27th April, in appalling weather conditions. Storm Hannah hit hard, and even the most seasoned of campaigners found the weather hard work. Dora Beacom and her team were brilliant as always, providing good ground and well presented fences. I caught up with Dora and asked her about her huge contribution to eventing, particularly in Northern Ireland-

“I love it! My background is in the Civil Service. I retired on health grounds, and at that time my daughter was in both the Pony Club and the Riding Club. I got involved, and from there it grew. I was quite heavily involved in Showjumping when Dr Alec Lyons encouraged me to consider becoming a judge, which I did. I then took up my role within Eventing Ireland, which was quite daunting. I made lots of mistakes in the early days, but I learned from those. I’m a great checklist person, which really helps. I am constantly amazed at the generosity and commitment of our volunteers, who are willing to stand out in all weathers for the good of the sport. They really enjoy being a part of things, and many of them become extremely skilled at things like time keeping and fence judging-some even travel abroad and participate at international events. And when riders and supporters come into the tent and say ‘thankyou’ at the end of a long day, it means the world to us.”

Dora is also the secretary for the upcoming Tattersalls International Horse Trials in Ratoath, county Meath. Arriving a week ahead of kick off, Dora has everything set up and organized to perfection. Working so hard for so much of the year in the changeable Irish weather makes wintering in Spain a welcome respite, but with modern technology, the distance is no impediment in running the early events-

“I run the early spring Flexi-Eventing competitions from Spain, and I organize the Northern Region Awards Ball too. With the internet and technology these days, it doesn’t matter where in the world you are.”

The EI 115 Open was won by local man Steven Smith, riding the 11 year old gelding, Hi Happy Harry. The Porsch-sired bay battled through the worst of weather conditions, picking up time faults and one showjump down to add to a dressage score of 34.1. With final score of 44.1, this combination were the only finishers. Cathal Daniels completed his dressage test on Margaret Kinsella’s WEG team silver medalist winner Rioghan Rua, for a score of 29.3. Cathal also rode the Cavalier Carnival-sired Eclipto in the dressage. The Michael McNally owned gelding achieved a mark of 27.7, before also being withdrawn. The remaining entrants did not start. I spoke to Steven about his win, and about the conditions-

“The weather was bad, but I decided to take it horse by horse. I accepted that we might not do brilliant dressage tests-and obviously there was the safety aspect to consider. Once I had showjumped my first two, I decided to push on. I am very conscious of my obligation towards my owners, many of whom go out of their way to attend events and watch their horses. Because I run such a large string, I’m aware of how important it is to gain MERs when I have the opportunity to do so. The ground was absolutely perfect, and the cross country course was very good-there were plenty of questions and the distances rode well. The plan now with Hi Happy Harry is to push on. He will go to Tattersalls for the 3*, and then possibly the CIC 3* at Kilguilkey. Like all of my horses, he is for sale-but if he isn’t sold beforehand, he will likely take in a 4* Long later in the season.”

The EI 115 saw just five combinations complete, and the highest scoring of these was local man Jonathan Steele, riding Alison Smith’s Bluestone Ice. The Creevagh Grey Rebel-sired horse added just one showjump to a dressage mark of 33.6. Steven Smith continued his good day at the office, taking second place with Mimi Falb’s brown gelding, Ballyward. The Ghareeb-sired horse added a scattering of time faults and one showjump down to his dressage mark, for a final score of 45.9. In third place was local rider Catherine Robinson, riding Neill McCluskey’s progressive grey mare, Carsonstown Alice. The Askoll Peter Pan-sired horse added one showjump and a handful of cross country time faults to her dressage mark of 38.4, for a final mark of 46.4. Steven Smith took fourth place, riding HHF Elegance. The Watermill Swatch-sired mare added 8.4 penalties in the Showjumping and 0.8 time faults cross country to her dressage score of 39.8, for a final score of 49. The final finisher in fifth place was Victoria Clarke, riding her own Red Curaco. The Kings Master-sired mare picked up jumping and time faults on the cross country, for a final score of 72.7.

Steven said-“This was Ballyward’s first intermediate. His owner Mimi Falb is away competing with two horses at the moment, so I have the ride. We will take it as it comes, and keep pushing on. He will go 3* this season. HHF Elegance is owned in a syndicate, which comprises Jo Marley, John Nimford, Dr Janet Hall, Alan Duwhurst and ourselves. My brother Trevor rode the mare last season, and moved her up the levels. She will aim for Tattersalls 3*.”

There were just three finishers in the EI 110 Open. Steven smith picked up yet another rosette, riding Jan Martin’s Lassban Au Revoir. The Doranstown Hallo-sired gelding performed a smart test for a score of 24.3. 1.6 time faults gave a final score of 25.9. Louise Nicholson took second place, riding her own Drumaknockan Easter Charm. The Charming Boy-sired gelding added one showjump and some time faults to a smart dressage mark of 29.5, for a final score of 38.3. Steven Smith took third place riding Caryn Walker’s gelding, Newferry Jagermeister. The Lougherne Cashell-sired horse added two poles down and time faults in both jumping phases, for a final score of 46.8.

Steven commented- “Au Revoir is a lovely, straightforward and uncomplicated horse. There is no real plan for him, other than having him out and about. His owner Jan Martin is just lovely, and she enjoys seeing the horse compete. He might possibly aim towards the Young Rider division. We run a huge operation, and at the moment we have around 45 horses in work. Casey Webb joins me full time shortly, but we are always looking for good, enthusiastic young people. There is an excellent vacancy here currently for a junior rider. We have top quality horses and very good facilities, so we can do a lot to bring the right person on, and provide them with excellent opportunities.”

The EI 110 was won by Rachel Rendle, riding her own mare, Ballyvally Bay. The ten year old daughter of Cyrano finished on her dressage mark Of 33. Tori Dixon took second place, riding her own seven year old gelding, Mawillan. A smart dressage mark of 29.3 and 5.2 time faults cross country gave a final score of 34.5. In third was Alex Houston, riding her own Creevagh Ferro-sired mare, Minty Imp. Nothing to add in the jumping phases left this combination on their dressage score of 36. Aidan Keogh took third place with the consistent Kilcoltrim Swift. This small mare performed a good test for a score of 27.8, and just 8.4 time faults to add on the cross country left this combination on a final score of 36.2. Justine Harding took fifth place, riding her own Caruso-sired mare, Charissma. Adding 10.4 time faults to a dressage mark of 28.8 gave a final score of 39.2. Gemma Goodrich took sixth place on her Connemara x Tb gelding, Lisnamuck What A Cracker. Two showjumps down added to a dressage score of 31.3 gave a final score of 39.3.

The EI 110 Junior was won by local rider, Noah Brown riding the imperious Euro Jackpot. Maureen Brown’s grand old campaigner performed a superb test for a mark of 24.3. One showjump down didn’t alter the top placing, and the red rosette went home with Noah. Jennifer Kuehnle took second place riding Polly Blue Eyes. Owned by Jennifer’s father Hans, the Concinales-sired mare added just 1.6 time faults cross country to her dressage mark of 28 for a final score of 29.6. Cathal Mitchell took third place riding his own Treliver Decanter-sired mare, Treliver Desdimona. Two showjumps down and a dressage mark of 24.8 gave a final score of 32.8.

The EI 110 Pony class recorded no finishers. The EI 110 Amateur was won by Denis Currie, riding his own Arodstown Aramis. The Shannondale Sarco-sired gelding performed a nice test for a mark of 25.3, and just 2.4 time faults in the Showjumping left this combination some seventy points clear of Olivia Johns, riding Lagans Peter. The EI 100 Amateur was won by Jayne Moore, riding Layla’s Way. This combination finished on their dressage score of 25.3. The EI 100 Pony class was won by Lucy Ross, riding Mary T Ross’s black mare, Littlefield Clover. They finished on a final score of 39. The EI 100 Junior class was won by Jennifer Kuehnle, riding her father Hans’s Nekton-sired mare, Nekita. This combination finished on their dressage score of 29.8. The EI 90 Amateur class was won by Ailsa Martin, riding her own fifteen year old mare, Grateful For Gold. The traditionally bred mare is by The Northern Pride. This duo finished on their dressage score of 26.3. The EI 90 was won by Victoria Clarke, riding her own five year old mare, Supreme Rusticana. This pair finished on their dressage score of 26.3. The final class of the day was the EI 90 Pony competition, and this was won by Poppy Moore and Crecora Angel. This consistent mare is owned by Marcylla Moore, and is by the thoroughbred sire, Muharib.

Photo-Steven Smith riding Hi Happy Harry.
Photo credit John Gibson, Sporting Images NI.

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