Season under way at Ballymac stud

Gilford and District Riding Club held their first open competition of the season last week.

The dressage event was hosted at the club headquarters at Ballymac Stud, home of international event riders Trevor and Steven Smith. 

There were a number of classes from Intro to Novice level and all were well represented. The local event suited riders and horses of various levels from young stock just beginning their careers to two star event horses.  

In the Intro section, Natasha Cassidy rode a beautiful test to gain first place while Julie Simpson got second place with her young Connemara Annie’s Treasure; his first ever dressage competition. Frances McLoughlin celebrated her birthday on Sunday with Titania by winning a third place rosette and prize.

Prelim seven was the most popular class of the day with a large number of entries. Vicki Campbell stole the show with her pony Dennis to get first place. Hollie Smith rode a lovely test to get second and Ciara Lane achieved a very respectable third place on her young pony.

Hollie Smith raised the bar in prelim 18 and this time came out on top while Katy McKenzie took second place. Ben Stevenson rode a lovely test on Jack to take home the yellow ribbons.

Novice 28 was the final class of the day. Sue Stevenson rode a super test and took first place on her bay mare Rosie. Sharon Cowan did a super job with Calin King in their first ever novice test however the battle for second and third was tightly contended by Ballymac residents Katy McKenzie and Faris Shalahan with Faris pipping Katy to the post for the blue rosette. 

Between the sunshine and showers, competitors and spectators were very well catered for by Marina Moore and nobody was left hungry. AP Photography were on site to provide competitors with some fabulous photographs of their efforts on the day. 

Gilford and District Riding Club would like to thank Smith brothers for the kind use of their excellent facilities and to all competitors for taking part.

They would like to extend a particularly warm message of thanks to all those non members, who were there to brave the hailstones on the day.