Mid-Antrim Hunt hosts successful jump-cross event at Castlehill

Sophie Harkness in action at Castlehill.
Sophie Harkness in action at Castlehill.
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At Castlehill Equestrian Centre, by kind permission of Beverley Caves, the Mid Antrim Hunt hosted a very successful Jump Cross recently.

The early mist cleared to leave a beautiful day with the exception of a heavy shower at the start of the Open Class. There were very few entries for the 50cm but learning from the lessons of last year the inviting course included no ditches or anything to frighten the ponies but it was still a challenge for the children with the eight show jumping fences and ten cross country fences.

They had learnt their courses well and Jessica Mark was at the starting block on the dot of eleven, raring to go. She was second after an almost perfect round apart from one unlucky run-out. Timothy McNabney put in a faultless winning round trotting all the way but he never faltered or touched a fence on his super pony Molly. Later on his sister Sarah put in a lovely steady round in a higher class but just missed out on the prizes.

There were quite a few clears in the 70cm class which attracted extremely good entries and there were several horses and ponies whose timings were very close to the optimum. There was very little between the prizewinners and the closest to the optimum time, based on a steady hunting pace, was Joe Hamilton on Richard Cowan’s new horse Jack Daniels. Joe was permanently on the go all day with riding so many horses and working on the course. There were a few horses and ponies who were too fast, notably Rosemary Moffett who is having such fun on her smashing new mount Mo. The fences were very varied with such interesting obstacles as Coon’s Bar, Andy’s Hedge and Joe’s Muppet Jump, a narrow wall which caused several run-outs but fewer problems than expected.

The 90cm class was also well supported though with fewer entries than the 70 class. It was a longer course with additional jumps and the competitors had to jump out into the far field and back with some difficult fences to negotiate, such as Audrey’s Corner which tested out Josh Mark on Leo but he sat well and got away with it. The optimum time had an extra 20 seconds for this class to allow for the extra distance but Jamie Sloan decided he only needed the time for the 70cm class and looked like he was in training for the Grand National! The other Mid Antrim Team Chase members, who did so well in Dublin, were all out and had good rounds, although Fiona Magill needed her famous stickability when her horse pecked up the first steps. David Cross on his trusty Ellie May had a good steady round but it was Anthea Moffett who celebrated her birthday by following on from recent cross country successes with a lovely winning round on Chip. There was more between the timings of the competitors in this class and Anthea was ahead of Joe Hamilton who was denied a double victory in spite of a perfect flowing round on David Sloan’s beautiful mare Sally. Third was Orlaith McLaughlin riding her ex-racehorse turned hunter, George, who had a good steady round but was clearly covering the ground with his long stride.

Beverley Caves worked extremely hard to produce such an interesting course and was very grateful to Joe Hamilton for all his hard work assisted by Ricky Waide.

Judith Hamilton did most of the commentating in fine style, and several other people put in a lot of hard work.

Thanks also to the Mid Antrim Pony Club for the loan of bibs and fence markers and all the other stewards and helpers on the day. Most of all thanks of course are due from the Mid Antrim Hunt to Beverley for the use of Castlehill Equestrian Centre facilities and all her hard work and patience.

Next on the Mid Antrim Hunt’s calendar on Saturday 25th October is the Hunter Trials at the Hamilton farm, Knockan Rd, near Broughshane.

Then it is immediately into the hunting season with the Children’s Meet on 29th October, the Opening Meet on 1st November and the re-scheduled point-to-point on 22nd November.


50cm: 1. Timothy McNabney on Molly; 2. Jessica Mark on Mr Sparkles.

70cm: 1. Joe Hamilton on Richard Cowan’s Jack Daniels; 2=. Patsy Morrogh on Colonel Mustard; Jackie McCullough on Ezra; 4. Dean Bell on Paddy.

90cm: 1. Anthea Moffett on Chip; Joe Hamilton on Sally; Orlaith McLaughlin on George.