Mid-Antrim Hunter Trials event proves big success

Orla McLaughlin on George at the Mid Antrim Hunter Trials. Picture: Noel Graham Photography.
Orla McLaughlin on George at the Mid Antrim Hunter Trials. Picture: Noel Graham Photography.

Hamilton’s farm, near Broughshane, was a hive of activity recently as the Mid Antrim Hunt held their Hunter Trials.

Joe Hamilton and his team, which included his brother Bob, Ricky Waide and Jamie Sloan, had been working very hard indeed in the weeks before and Joe should be very proud of his achievement in building such a challenging yet safe course.

There were classes for Novice Singles, Novice Pairs and Open Singles. It was a good old-fashioned Hunter Trials and in spite of so much going on that day, it attracted reasonable entries. The competitors were judged on optimum course times except in the pairs where there was an additional category for speed.

One of the early pairs was Master Gordon Cunningham and his grandson Luke, and it was a proud grandfather who finished the course with young Luke close behind.

The intrepid Brigid Delargy was first in the Novice and was just close enough to the optimum time to beat Jamie Sloan on the hunt horse Monty. Joe Hamilton was 3rd on Richard Cowan’s Jack Daniels.

The pairs competition threw up interesting results with Hannah Thompson and Kirsten Thom fairly going for it with an extremely fast time just ahead of Erin Dunseath and Orla O’Kane. Jamie Sloan and Fiona Magill got the time spot on for the optimum, ahead of Saoirse McLaughlin on her sister’s horse Flynn and Sophie Harkness.

Saoirse then changed horses on to her grey Herbie to join her sister Orla in clocking up third place in the optimum time category.

There were not many entries in the Open with Joe Hamilton nearest the Optimum time on Davy Crawford’s talented horse King of Diamonds, followed by Jamie Sloan who obviously took it steady this time on his speed machine Callie. Third was Gemma Goodrich on her very attractive grey, Ole.

Grateful thanks to all the helpers and fence judges including Nicholas Moffett, Valerie Gillespie, Craig Crawford, Nikki McKendry, Sam Morrow, Fergal & Joanne McClements, Roy & Muriel Colvin, Donna McQuillan, Lynn & Katie Findlay,David & Saoirse McLauglin, Anne Osborne, Brendan Kerr, Audrey Hamilton, Colin Brown, Delia Silver, Lucy McNabney, the Crawford family including Clare for her photos, Rachelle Mark, and everyone else who gave up their time to help.

Thanks to the Mid Antrim Pony Club for the loan of flags, bibs and fence numbers, Ian Ferguson for the point-to-point fence, Bobby Glass Country Catering, Ian Wilson for the use of the van, and George Devlin for delivering it; Derek Gordon of Feedall Petfoods, Portglenone for very generously sponsoring the bags of feed and Noel Graham for his great photos.

Most important of all, thanks to the Hamilton Family for so generously giving the use of their land and building the cross country course for the day.