The 2015 Mid Antrim Horse Show produced a record breaking day, attracting nearly 200 entries for the affiliated jumping competitions alone.
There was also an excellent turnout for the new non-registered Derby competitions in the annual event, held at Balee playing fields.
The registered classes formed part of the Bluegrass Ulster Region League, and the Amateurs who, this year, jumped the new Derby course, were part of the Northern Region leg of the Horseware Derby League.
The main innovation for 2015 was the replacement of the previous unaffiliated show jumping and working hunter competitions by a new Derby track for all levels from Junior Jumping to a 1 metre course.
Ring 1 was used for the registered 90cm class through to the Grand Prix competition and it proved a very long day for the judges and helpers who were untiring in their efforts to keep the day running smoothly. Ring 2 kicked off with the Affiliated Amateurs class, using the derby track.
After this competition the derby course was lowered and the more difficult jumps by-passed for the Junior Jumping followed by the 50cm in which Beth McCartney, Lydia McLeister and Jessica Mark were successful with double clears.
The 70cm course was on a restricted course and produced quite a few clear rounds for both horses and ponies. The 80cm was a very different matter including the full derby course with a timed second round jump off. Hannah Gallagher won the horse section and Lindsay Cameron the pony section of this 80cm level. As the fences were raised the clear rounds were few and far between with only two in each section of the 90cm jump-off. Mary Hegarty and Tori Surgenor won their sections and in the metre class Gemma Goodrich on Lachlan Easy scooped the prize with a faultless performance.
The registered classes were very well supported particularly in the 1.10 and some riders were kept extremely busy. Simon Scott rode an extraordinary number of horses, winning 1st, 2nd and 7th in the 1.10m, 5th and 6th in the 1.20m, and 6th in the Grand Prix. Kevin Mackey was also on board a good number of horses, winning the 90cm, clear in the 1.20m, and 3rd in the Grand Prix.
In the two highest classes it was a day for the ladies with Aisling Doherty winning the star prize of the P & O return lorry ticket with her lovely grey horse, Bon Jovi, just ahead of Shannon Mackenzie on Peyroux.
The Grand Prix competition had 21 competitors with Lynne Clibburn on RJ Smith’s Marie Douglas proving victorious on a very fast time of 43.72, 4 seconds ahead of Shannon Mackenzie on Bens Lady Lux.
The Mid Antrim Horse Show Committee has thanked all its sponsors, particularly Dennison Commercials for their very generous sponsorship of the of the £1000 Grand Prix prize fund. P & O Ferries very kindly donated the Star Prize of a return lorry ferry ticket for the 1.20m competition, and the Tullyglass Hotel and Curtis Cars sponsored the 1.20 and 1.10m competitions.
Many thanks to all the sponsors including The Country Garage, The Adair Arms, Ken McMillan, O’Connor Kannedy & Turtle, Abbey Upholstery, Cunningham Covers, Tobermore Concrete, Castlehill Equestrian Centre, Wilsons Auctions, H. Colvin & Sons, Sam & Neil Anderson, Jollyes Pet Foods, Newferry Fast Freight, Feedall Pet Foods, Paul McAleese, The Garage Cullybackey, Gary Mark Catering, Kelona Coffee, Bluegrass Horse Feeds, N&p tyres, Comfy Horse at Castlehill Equestrian Centre, Hazlett Fuels, Sean Reynolds, Doherty & Gray, Algram, Oldstone Veterinary Clinic, Greers of Antrim, Stephens Catering, Hamilton Hunters, McBurney Transport, G Mark Building & Groundwork, and Doagh Farm Feeds.
The judges were very patient with such a long day and grateful thanks must go to Heather Camblin and David Greene for Judging the Amateurs, Hilary McClelland, Shirley Jess and David Greene for judging all five registered classes, and to Rachelle Mark, Sheelagh Canty and Audrey Hamilton for the non-registered derby classes.
There was a very good team of helpers this year and many thanks to them all, particularly to the stalwart Ring 2 steward Jimmy who hardly left his post all day. Thanks to all the other helpers who prepared the competition, ran it on the day, dismantled it and made good the ground.
As usual Raymond Jess and his team had built an exceptional course in the early hours of Saturday morning with Fred Guthrie also building the Derby course, assisted by Paul and Beverley Caves.
They were all very late home in spite of the extraordinary efficiency in packing up the courses so quickly but the committee were very pleased to have had such a successful and well supported day.