Once again the National Training Bursary Clinic has been  the highlight of the SJI Training Calendar and was a major success. With our new sponsors RED MILLS on board it was an exceptional Training Bursary Clinic this year. 24 deserving  athletes were awarded a place on the training bursary clinic following a selection day that took place on the 23rd of April in The National Horse Sport Arena. There was a significant increase in numbers at this years selection day and the standard of riding, level of drive and determination displayed by each and every rider in attendance was impeccable. Susanne Macken who was the assessor on the day really had her work cut out for her when trying to select only 24 athletes.

photo by Laurence dunne jumpinaction.net

The athletes arrived to the beautiful Barnadown Equestrian on the sunny afternoon of the 15th of July. It was all systems go from the beginning as the athletes and horses settled in and got to know each other. They were welcomed by SJI and RED MILLS representatives, received a lecture on care of the competition horse from Joanne Jarden finally followed by some down time for the evening. The busy afternoon really set the tone for the boot camp style three days that lay ahead of the athletes.

There was an action packed timetable for the three days. Each athlete took part in several sessions a day from some of the top coaches in Ireland. The coaches involved were Laura Brown McCann, Anna Dangerfield, Cormac Rafferty, Ian Fearon, Jack Doyle and Tom Holden.

The coaches worked hard to help each horse and rider achieve their maximum potential. The coaches involved took keen interest in each and every rider and shared their vast knowledge and experience in hope that the riders would take something new from each session. The coaches were devoted to helping the athletes in their riding career and work towards achieving their goals.

The athletes also received informative lectures on Brand Management, Marketing and Equine Nutrition from RED MILLS Jane Davis and Lorraine Fradl. Lauren Cushe was also on hand throughout the clinic ensuring the riders were kitted out in their personalised and branded RED MILLS clothing with equally as smart RED MILLS branded numnahs for their horses. Lisa Allen from Pilates NI spoke to the riders about equine bio-mechanics and the influence their posture, balance and position etc has on their horse’s way of going. Lisa also individually assessed each of the riders and spoke to them on what they can do to improve their position in the saddle. Declan McEvoy gave a session on the importance of managing finances and budgeting. Declan also spoke about the things to consider when starting up your own business.

photo by Laurence dunne jumpinaction.net

It is no exaggeration to say that the 2019 RED MILLS SJI National Training Bursary Clinic was one of the best to date with a superb group of athletes and horses and a team of passionate coaches. Without the extremely generous sponsorship from Red Mills the bursary clinic would not have happened. We are delighted that they came on board this year and they have been incredible to work with. We would like to sincerely thank Red Mills for believing in and backing the riders as much as we do, so much so that they very kindly awarded 1 athlete selected by the coaches a 12 months sponsorship deal with Red Mills. The very deserving winner of the sponsorship was Isabel FitzPatrick. Isabel went from strength to strength during the clinic and the coaches were unanimous in their decision. We would like to congratulate Isabel on her new partnership with RED MILLS and we wish her the very best of luck for the future. We are also lucky enough to have a number of international bursaries to be awarded from this year’s clinic and winners will be announced in the coming weeks.

Mary Ryan, Munster Training Representative ensured the clinic timetable ran like clockwork and was always on hand with an endless supply of ice cream! It was Leinster’s turn to host the clinic this year so Sally Anne Tobin, Leinster region training representative, was on hand for the duration of the clinic. Rachel Kearns from SJI was also present at the clinic and was delighted to be a part of it and see the progression through the three days. The SJI National Training Committee which consists of Orla Griffin, Mary Ryan, Sally Anne Tobin, Joanne Jarden and Joan Fallon Walsh would like to wish the athletes the best of success for the future and hope they left the clinic with the knowledge and confidence to “KNOW YOU CAN” which was this year’s theme.

Participating Athletes
  1. Robyn Moran  Limerick
  2. Vickie Anderson – Laois
  3. Angela Kosko – Sligo
  4. Jodiie Creighton- Antrim
  5. Sean Foley – Cork
  6. Aisling McGuinness – Dublin
  7. Emer Kavanagh – Wexford
  8. Shaunagh Thomson- Wexford
  9. Lizzie Burcher – Tipperary
  10. Isabel Fitzpatrick – Wicklow
  11. Liam Deery – Dublin
  12. Cian O’Connell – Galway
  13. Lisa Gerbola Bushaway – Westmeath
  14. Lauren Haire – Kilkenny
  15. Jaye Devine – Cork
  16. Jennifer Torrens – Tyrone
  17. Ruari Clarke – Down
  18. Cora Sharkey – Roscommon
  19. Hugo McAlpine – Tyrone
  20. Mackenzie Healy – Tyrone
  21. Luke Garrigan – Dublin
  22. John Carr – Galway
  23. Darren Irwin – Tyrone
  24. Conor Cassidy – Kildare


  • Ian Fearon –  Selected as the 2019 Head Coach – jumping sessions
  • Jack Doyle – Jumping
  • Laura Brown McCann – Flat work
  • Cormac Rafferty – Gymnastic Exercises/ Grid work
  • Anna Dangerfield – Flat work
  • Tom Holden – Course walk/ Course building/ technical advisor

On foot of what was a hugely successful RED MILLS SJI National Training Bursary Clinic in Barnadown Equestrian Centre, coaches were asked to select one rider to be awarded a 12 month sponsorship deal with Connolly’s RED MILLS. We are delighted to announce that Isabel FitzPatrick is the extremely deserving winner of the sponsorship. The standard of participants in the clinic this year was superb and the coaches really had their work cut out for them in selecting a winner. The SJI National Training Committee would like to congratulate Isabel on her new partnership with ReED MILLS and we wish you the very best of luck for the future!

On being awarded the sponsorship Isabel sent the following note:

“The National Training clinic sponsored by RED MILLS horse feeds was definitely an experience I won’t forget. It was a great opportunity for myself and my horses to be trained by top coaches at Barnadown for three days. It also gave me a great opportunity to get to know my fellow competitors better. I felt there was a great atmosphere of enthusiasm throughout the clinic.

The lectures educated us on business management from Declan McEvoy and feeding and nutrition from Lorraine Fradl of RED MILLS were very interesting to me.
In particular, I thought Tom Holden gave us a great insight about being a top course builder.

Jack Doyle, Ian Fearon and Cormac Rafferty greatly helped me with positioning, impulsion, straightness and rhythm.

Anna Dangerfield and Laura Brown McCann were also great as I think our flatwork is extremely important when Showjumping.

I feel I am very fortunate to be named the winner of the RED MILLS Bursary. It is great to have a sponsor such as RED MILLS sponsoring our young riders in the sport.

I would like to thank my parents, grandparents, Sophie Richards, Steve Smith and Neal Fearon for getting me to this level.

A special thanks to the organizers Mary, Sally Anne, and Rachel for the fantastic organization during the busy three days. It was great to have the use of the Barnadown facility – many thanks to the Cousins family.

It was a fantastic few days and I’d love to do it all again next year!”