South Munster regions rocks at the Dressage Ireland National Championships
The South Munster team has achieved an amazing feat at the Dressage Ireland National Dressage Championships, held at Cavan Equestrian Centre from Friday 7 to Sunday 9 September. It had not been done in the last 20 years, but last week, for the first time, South Munster won the Regional Team trophy. The achievement is even more remarkable given that South Munster Dressage is the smallest region in the country (in terms of membership, rather than geographical area) and has the longest journey to the Nationals. It reflects the massive strides that the sport of dressage has made in the region in recent years.
The indications were positive from the start this year, with more riders than ever before achieving qualifying results, despite a recent rise in the qualification requirements, and a record number of 15 South Munster riders entering the Nationals. The Region was represented at every level from Preliminary to Advanced, as well as in the young horse and under 25s classes.
The regional team was selected with names pulled from regional secretary Anne Cahill’s hat. First up was Elaine Potter riding L.B. in the Elementary Category 2 championships, scoring a respectable 66.47%, to give the team a good start. Next up, Eimear White on Whatever Next in the Preliminary Category 1 Championships, scored a well-earned 67.61%. A nail-biting wait it was though, as Northern region and South East region were close behind, each with one strong combination still to go. Great sighs of relief were heard amid the cheers as Anna Dangerfield, riding Tintoreto S, consolidated the team victory with 63.49% in the Medium Championships. Anne Cahill has been strongly urged by the membership to keep her ‘sorting hat’ safe for next year!
There was more success for South Munster, with a number of members collecting individual placings. Angela Lyons and Latino J performed consistently, claiming third in both the Advanced Championship and the Advanced Medium Freestyle. This combination has no shortage of Nationals experience - they won the Preliminary Championship when Latino J was just a 6 year old back in 1999! Simone Howarth, a recent arrival to South Munster (although by no means new to dressage) finished 5th in the Advanced Medium on her own Dino De Laurentis, a great start on her Irish Nationals debut.
Elaine Potter celebrated another success with her own L.B. He finished fourth in the Elementary Category 2 class, in which another South Munster combination, Meabh Hennessy with Snoop Dog, placed 6th, overall, a result which included a 2nd Place in the second Elementary class. This pair topped off their Nationals tally with 4th place in the Elementary Freestyle.
In the Preliminary Category 1 championship, South Munster had three riders with top 10 placings (Stephanie Marwood on Dicey Reilly in 5th, Isabel O’Mahoney on Ballingowan Freedom 6th and Eimear White on Whatever Next 9th).
A great finish to the season for the South Munster region. The South Munster Dressage Committee extended their congratulations to the team and all the individual prize-winners and expressed the hope that even more members will be inspired by the example of these valiant competitors and aim to be go to the Nationals next year!