My horse’s stride was still lovely and loose as I passed the two riders; they were looking at their maps and counting the metres. I wasn’t going to. After seven hours in the saddle, I was going to trust my instinct and going with the marker that was closest to the point that the bearing changed in the road. No indecision and no arguments from the horse. We were finishing a seven hour odyssey that had us swimming through bracken and climbing the steep terrain of the welsh Brecon Breacons. The scenery was magical and after overnight rain, the descents were treacherous. As I rounded the corner, Marty’s head went up and his stride stretched, he saw the Irish flag and heard the cheers from chef d’equip, Mairead Moynihan and Karen Nicholson before I did and we were delighted. The best part was yet to come; never before had I experienced the power of the supporters. The small village of Gavenreny, is probably still recovering from the sight of the waving tricolours as the Irish welcomed back their riders like they were worthy warriors coming home from battle. The Irish roar in Cheltenham was replicated each time a rider finished their phases and by the end of the British TREC Championship, the Irish had made their presence felt.
The Irish fielded their biggest team yet and under the tutelage of Mairead Moynihan, the weekend went smoothly. Newcomer to the team, Karen Reilly finished an impressive ninth out of 41 in the highly competitive Level 2 individual with Fiona Thurnell, an Irish rider based in Britian finished fourth on her experienced pony Barney. Leinster Trec provided two pairs for the Level 2 pairs, Tara Crieghton and Aibhe Gavin as well as Sheila Fuller and Catherine Bartley. Turas Trec’s Cassie O’Connell and Dede Clune competed in the Level 3 individuals while Bambi Carroll finished 7 th in the Level 4, European Cup class. The Irish participation is increasing and so is the calibre of their performance. The sportsmanship of the competitors and the enthusiasm of the supporters did not go unnoticed and looking forward to next year’s Irish Championships the British riders are eager include the Irish dates in their calendar. The British who travelled over last year were recounting the great Irish PTV courses, if we could increase our land access and upgrade the POR’s consistently, we would improve the level of our competitions in Ireland.
All of us will cherish our memories of the excitement of the weekend in of Sept 14th and 15th at the British Championships in the Brecon Breacons, Wales but formally I’d like to thank Mairead Moynihan and Karen Nicholson for their support and calming influence. And especially to Brian and Hannah Clune, Albert O’Connell, Brendan And Sheila Gavin, Margaret and Martin Lynch, Paula Donohue and Neal Keane, Creighton Family, Reilly family, Diana O’Huid, Roz Lynch, Rosemarie Bryson and the always cheerful Toni Rust. Your support was invaluable and as ambassadors of the sport, Trec Ireland is indebted to you.