Last Sunday 12 July saw the third leg of the Leinster TREC PTV/MA League, sponsored by TRI Equestrian. Despite some very black clouds, the rain held off and conditions were ideal for riding. The course designers, Niamh Ó hUid and Paula Donohoe took full advantage of the great facilities offered by Dunbyrne Stud, Kilmeague. The centrepiece was the gallops – a great treat for riders. However the heavy sand made the MA tricky, favouring the slow canter, but hampering the fast walk somewhat.
Although the PTV course looked straightforward, once the riders walked it, the challenges became more evident. Low branches made for a fast start, but those who chose to canter had very little distance to change from a long and low stride through the obstacle to getting the hocks back under them to change legs through the slalom. Not so easy! A chance for a nice canter along the gallops, then a trot through the woods where the ground was quite hard. The rein back was
down a slope, then another enjoyable stretch of woodland before the hedge. The path crossing and log were part of a sequence of rustic fences and riders were permitted to jump the lot if they chose. Out of the woods and back on the gallops, the corridor was placed immediately after a barrel jump. Riders intending to canter had a choice of a quick swerve into the obstacle, or jump the barrels and land ideally placed to canter through the corridor – most chose the latter. Another chance for a canter along the gallops, and some problems pulling up for the three in-hand obstacles! The water crossing was separately flagged for Open and Novice riders and very easy to go wrong if riders hadn’t carefully walked the course. A very steep incline followed, immobility on top of the hill and then a difficult descent – a very narrow path sloping away to one side and skewed at the bottom made it hard to stay between the lines. A small ditch and footbridge ended the course on a relaxed note.
The consensus amongst the riders was that this was a fast and fun course of obstacles with plenty to think about. There was a strong entry for the Open class with fewer in the Novice class. One of the enjoyable aspects of this league is the opportunity to swap experiences over a tea or coffee while the scores are being calculated. The prizes were particularly good, thanks to sponsorship from TRI.
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