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National Championships 2016 Report

West Cork TREC was the host for the 2016 TREC Ireland National Championships. Held by kind permission of at Bantry Pony Trekking in the beautiful setting of Coomanore South, riders from Kerry, Leinster, Clare and Leitrim took part in a challenging three phase event. There were 53 entries across the two days, most of whom competed on both days.

It is always a delight to see newcomers enter the competition, and this year was no exception. We introduced a special Level 1 Class for Under 16s, which allowed 7 of our U16 riders to enter their first three phase competition by going out in 2 groups with an adult rider accompanying each group as a non-competing supervisor. From the moment the horse boxes started rolling in to Bantry on Friday, the TREC camaraderie was evident, with the experienced always willing to help the inexperienced set up corralling equipment and tents. Friends greeted each other enthusiastically, and new friendships were formed before the weekend was out. The TREC groups are dotted around the country, and for some it is a long way to West Cork, so we thank all those who made the trip.

Traceur Bastian’s route took riders over bogs, on quiet country lanes and due to the generosity of many local farmers, across some wonderful fields, tracks and past beauty points such as Lough Bofina and Kealkill’s stone circle. West Cork TREC would like to extend a very warm thank you to all the land owners, without whom the true beauty of the area could not have been shown. The team at Bantry Pony Trekking provided a wonderful meal, with riders consulting that day’s scores and analyzing the route and checkpoint locations, figuring out where they may have lost precious points.

Sunday dawned with beautiful clear skies and sunshine and started early with a vet check for all horses. The Chilean vet declared all horses fit to compete, and the first riders started with the MA, (Control of Paces). The 150m corridor proved a decider in scores, with Sheila Winters scoring a fantastic 53 out of 60 to win top points in this phase. The obstacle course (PTV) built by Chef de Piste Bastian was next, a worthy Championship course with tight angles, jumps and tricky combinations. The undulating ground and hills had the beautiful Bantry Bay as a background with the sun shining down. Newcomer Lorea O’Sullivan, a young rider with the team from Lios Lara Riding Stables took first place in the PTV with a superb score of 148 out of 160 points.

Winners came from all groups and counties in Ireland, with a variety of breeds of horses and ponies. In the Level 1 it was mother son combination Anne Marie and Ciaran Cronin that took the red ribbon, with Anne Marie also taking home the coveted Grangeclare Cup for her overall highest Level 1 scores. In Level 2 pairs, another mother child combination, Liz Burbage and Vicky McMullan took 1st place, with Liz also winning Best Coloured horse and the Level 2 Grangeclare Cup. In the Individuals two Clare based riders fought it out for the win, with Kate Ryan Brouwer beating Finian Carroll to take home the red rosette. Mairead Moynihan maintained her overnight lead to win the Level 3 individual class, as well as the Level 3 highest overall score to win the Grangeclare Cup. In the Pairs class, Dede Clune and Kayleigh McCormack beat new to Level 3 Young Riders Fionnuala Solomon and Yasmin Roo Joyce- Nightingale. Kayleigh also had the highest PTV score in the Level 3, with a fantastic score of 139, a brilliant result for the Young Rider from Midlands TREC. Young Riders were extremely well represented at the event, with local rider Amanda Kelleher scoring the highest PTV in the Level 1 at her first three phase event. Lorea O’Sullivan won the U16 class, trained well by former International Young Rider, Annie O’Neill, and competing her pony, Poppy. Second was Ellie Horgan, team Bantry Pony Treeking, followed in third by Kate Sheehan. Another Young Rider Ryan Brooks from Three Counties TREC (Leitrim), who competed at his first TREC event and had a very impressive 30 points in the MA.

West Cork TREC and TREC Ireland would like to express their sincere thanks to our sponsors (Mother Bee, Bantry Pet & Equine Shop, O'Brien's Saddlery, Orchard Equestrian, KK Kennels, Brick Oven Bantry, West Carbery Pony Club, Castlemore Riding School, AIB Skibbereen, Jenni & Martha Norton, Megan Lynch & family, Julie & Annie O'Neill) to our competitors, judges & helpers and all our officials, especially the Traceurs (Bastian and Ian Squire, TD Gwen Bastian (Assistant TD Fiona Bastian) with a marvellous team at the venue (Karen Murphy, Sheila Fuller), the “men” (John Enright, Greg Owens and Jonathan Pheysey) for the smooth road crossings, Ros Lynch and Jill Davies for scoring, to everyone who supplied the food at the BBQ on Saturday to Berry for the refreshments on Sunday to those who loaned us equipment (line marker Bunratty UFC, tables & chairs Mealagh Valley Community Hall) to sponsors who donated consumables for the competitors and landowners (Drinagh Eurospar Skibbereen, Brosnan's Centra Schull).

Special thanks must of course go to Bantry Pony Trekking for hosting the competition at their venue, and lastly but not least, to Bastian who has been such a driving force in both West Cork TREC and TREC Ireland for many years. Below you will find a list of the winners, more detailed results can be found on our Results page. We hope you all enjoyed our event, and we look forward to seeing you again soon. 

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