On Sunday, 12th May, riders from all over the Leinster Region gathered at Hawthorn Farm near Coill Dubh, Kildare, looking forward to a full day of competition. The weather was mixed, sunny and showers, but that did nothing to dampen the spirits of the competitors as they excitedly walked the course of the Control of paces and the PTV Obstacles.
The versatility of Hawthorn Farm as a venue meant that the layout of the course was different from usual, challenging but fun for the riders. The CoP was laid out on the gallops and everyone did that part first. The first two competitors to go, Karen Reilly and Dee Morris, really showed the way with both getting scores of over 30 out of a possible 60. But it was Louse Parkhill, a dressage rider, who got the highest score of the day gaining a fantastic 40 points towards her overall total.
The CoP was immediately followed by the 16 PTV obstacles. The Obstacles also started on the gallops so after their Paces section, riders had to be immediately ready for the first few obstacles which included some of the more tricky ones used in TREC, the Low Branches, the Footbridge and the Ridden Gate. Following those, the track then entered Hawthorn’s Derby Field where a large number of natural obstacles were included in the course, including a ditch, bank and step down. However riders and horses still had to show the skill and obedience which is part of TREC since several control obstacles such as the S-bend and Immobility alternated with the natural obstacles.
Experienced Level 2 rider, Lorna O’Neill, really showed her talents over this part of the course gaining a fantastic 128 points out of a possible 160. But close on her heels was Young Rider, Katie Smyth, with 126 points, showing why she is on TREC Ireland ‘s short list of possible riders travelling to Belgium in September.
Sophie Sauveroche, Aoibheann O’Farrell (also a Young Rider) and Caroline Aragane, all of whom are relatively new to TREC, also did very well on the PTV section, getting the maximum 10 marks on many of the obstacles.
In the afternoon, the very different challenge of the Orienteering (POR) took place. The routes for both level 1 and level 2 riders included a fantastic opportunity to ride through the forestry of a local private estate. Over 7km of woodland track allowed for some good speeds between checkpoints and lovely riding for competitors. The level 2 riders’ longer route then continued on via quiet tracks through some beautiful peatland areas. Katie Smyth, paired with her brother Ciaran, were keeping a close watch on their times on this phase and came home with only 5 penalty points, an fantastically accurate result.
All competitors completed the day with a smile on their faces, having had a wonderful time. For many riders it was their first 3-phase competition but all agreed – only the first of many in the future!
Level 2 Pairs. 1st: Lorna O’Neill & Aoibheann O’Farrell (740 points)
2nd: Katie Smyth & Ciaran Smyth (709 points)
3rd: Caroline Aragane & Tara Moran (636 points)
Level 1 Pairs. 1st: Karen Reilly & Dee Morris (699 points)
2nd: Sophie Sauveroche & Margaret Lynch (654 points)
3rd: Johanna Teague & Rosemary Reynolds (541 points)
Individuals (PTV & CoP). 1st: Louise Parkhill
2nd: Trish Young
3rd: Asa Berquist
4th: Paula Donohue
5th: Kelly Rae