Aug, 2023
Hollybrook Riding Club won team championship title at the Connolly’s RED MILLS sponsored AIRC National Dressage Championships for the third time last Sunday.

The team of Delphi MacWhite (Hollybrook High In The Sky), Margot Brama Labberte (Kilpatrick Cruise) and Lisa Devine (Myceltic Imposter) finished on a total of 425.538% at Barnadown Show Jumping in Co. Wexford to reclaim the title they last won in 2014 and prior to that in 2009.

All team members registered high scores in the opening tests with Lisa Devine scoring 75.208% on the 24-year-old bay gelding, Myceltic Imposter, in front of Ethna O’Kelly.  Margot Brama Labberte registered two scores in the seventies on Kilpatrick Cruise with her opening test receiving her highest tally of 72.308% from Mairin Cassidy while Delphi MacWhite scored 70.577 in her opening test on Hollybrook High In The Sky.

13 of the 16 qualified teams lined out at the decider after almost 60 teams sought qualification during the summer months.

Annaharvey Riding Club followed closely behind in second place after Niamh Mahon (Royal Ark),  Matilda Falkede (Darrara Shanbeg), Gina Goessling (Ardwholihane Oreo) and Maureen Dillon Bowers (Doris Rebel) ended the two rounds less than 1.5% behind the winners on 422.959%, to claim the runners-up ribbons.

The Carne club in Wexford, who last won the title in 2012, completed the podium in third place after Melanie Hammel (Taylor Dandy), Lynn Sheehy (Verbier Flyer (IRE)), Isabelle Rouviere (Jasmine Van Ter Notelaere) and Darren Rossiter (Touch of Class) ended on a tally of 421.439%.

Cheval, Twinfort and Dunbyrne completed the line up in fourth, fifth and sixth respectively.

The Hollybrook club also picked up an individual title on the day with Lisa Devine winning the Connolly’s RED MILLS RC Preliminary 2 title on a total of 143.478%.  The Stepaside resident had just 2% to spare over Dunbyrne’s Lynn Cadogen on Shooting Star on 141.474%.

Devine who was delighted with her win said, “This is my first time entering these championships and it ewas only possible through the support of my club.  The horse I rode is a school horse who is known for his kind temperament and his love of showing off in dressage.”

Elsewhere, Tabitha Millar Hagerty claimed the Connolly’s RED MILLS RC Medium division for the third successive year, this time on Tullineaskey Hi Ho with a winning score of 136.324%.  The Twinfort rider had been second this horse last year when she won with Westeria Lane.


Miller said afterwards that, “I’m very lucky to win the title again.  He’s such a kind and willing horse and despite his rather big size, being over 17.2hh, and the small arena he really stayed with me and on my aids. We love coming to these championships every year as it’s a great highlight on the calendar and it’s a great way to meet up with our members and other clubs too.”


Another Twinfort rider picked up a title in the Connolly’s RED MILLS RC Elementary championship where Owen Smyth claimed the silver salver for the third time on Dark Site, having won it previously in 2018 and 2021, on 148.194%.

The Crecora resident had almost 5% to spare over second placed Caroline Marwood (Investigator P) for Knocknamana Country on 143.718%.

Smyth said after, “I was so pleased to have won the title again and I’m delighted with my horse’s performance.  He is now 18 years old and in fine form.”

In what was one of the closest competitions on the day, Rita Naughton claimed the top two places in the Connolly’s RED MILLS RC Novice Championship where just two percent separated the top six riders.  The Tinahely rider gave two solid performances on Action’s Bond Girl W to claim the honours with 140.557% on the score board while Naughton moved up into second place after Diamont Babalou produced the best of the second tests to end on 140.225%

Naughton was delighted with her performance and said, “I only joined this year and was over the moon to qualify two of my mares for the nationals.  To have a double podium was even more than I had hoped for and what makes this achievement even sweeter was competing with my own homebred and home produced horses. I’m looking forward to seeing what the future holds for us at at Whitewell Equestrian.”

Matilda Falkede notched up the highest percentage of the day over two tests to win the Connolly’s RED MILLS RC Preliminary 3 title on Darrara Shanbeg.  Carne’s Isabelle Rouviere (Jasmine Van Ter Notelaere) was second on 145.093%.

Ruth Abbott won the Connolly’s RED MILLS RC Preliminary 1 championship at her first attempt.  The Greenvalley rider took the spoils on CCS Banksy Moon on 148.136% ahead of Sheena Holt on Wemyss Bay.

Abbott has been in partnership with her horse for over a year now and said, “With some great tuition, I have rediscovered the joy of horse riding after giving up in my late teens.”

Elsewhere in the young horse, Claire Maher won young horse on the 5-year-old grey gelding, Tinnakill Jackpot for Killcarrick.  The TREO Eile thoroughbred award went to Cheval’s Anthony Archbold on Boystown Kal El (IRE) after they achieved the highest combined percentage on a Thoroughbred.