The highlight of the calendar of Irish Student Riding, The National Equestrian Intervarsities Championships, was co-hosted by UCC Equestrian Club on the 20th-23rd February. The much-anticipated weekend saw over 250 competitors from 20 colleges around the country descend on Maryville Stables, Carrigaline for two days of intense competition to battle it out for the top spots in the competition.
Saturday morning saw the first rounds of dressage kick off, all of which was kindly sponsored by Bucas. The outdoor ring saw the O’Brien’s Saddlery show jumping competition get underway. After a long day the contest began to heat up as riders were announced for Sunday’s finals. That night saw the start of the Alex Ott Appeal fundraiser and by the end of the weekend close to €800 was also raised from the kind contribution of students. Sunday began with the ever-competitive Prix Caprilli competition. The team from AIT impressed the judges to claim the top spot in the team category with Ryan Maxwell from Queens University Belfast taking individual first prize.
After a quick adjustment to the arena, third round dressage began and before long, the finalists were announced. Irish Olympians Donegan-Ryan Eventing generously provided two of their elite horses take to the ring under the hands of the two finalists. It was Katie Nolan from UCD who proved victorious in the end and saw her ride away with the individual dressage title.
The outdoor show jumping ring kicked off for the penultimate round and eight soon became whittled down to two. Jack Hutchinson from Trinity and Carolyn Harty from DIT went head to head in the 1.20m final which saw them each do a round on two top-class horses, one belonging to UCC student Grace Copithorne. However Harty kept her cool to take the top spot much to the delight of her DIT compatriots.
The Awards Ceremony kicked off that night which saw close to 300 attend. The overall college award was kindly sponsored by Coolmore Stud, and a resounding cheer went out when the title was awarded to UL, a club which has triumphed in the past year under the captaincy of former UCC student Paul McDermott.
It was a great weekend for the club, with UCC riders holding their own in the stiff competition. Sarah Lumbroso and Olivia Connolly impressed the judges with their beautifully executed tests to progress to second round dressage. Fiona Mullins also had a thrilling round to earn her spot in second round show jumping. A huge congratulations to Meg Ross, claiming 4th in the ever-competitive Prix Caprilli and to Eoin Duggan McSweeney, Rory O’Mahony and Erasmus student Carmen Tietze claiming 5th place in the Team competition
Equestrian Intervarsities involves a massive amount of organisation due to the nature of the sport. However the year of preparation paid off and the weekend ran smoothly, with the captains and committee given special thanks and presented with flowers at the Awards. Major thanks were also extended from the Club to IURCA, sponsors and horse owners along with everyone else who made the weekend possible. The event was hailed as a major success for the club which has seen considerable success in the past year. Such has been the that there are talks underway with regard to UCC hosting the National Tetrathlon Competition next year- watch this space..