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Senior Home International 2008

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Two days of uninterrupted sunshine was enjoyed by Midland and Western riders and supporters on their recent trip across the water to the Hand Equestrian Centre, near Bristol, for the inaugural running of the Senior Home International on the 11th and 12th of October. This competition was designed with the grass roots riders in mind. Twenty four teams and as many individuals took part, travelling from Ireland, Scotland, Wales and the various regions of England. A team consisted of a Preliminary/Novice combination, an Elementary/Medium combination and an Advanced Medium/Prix St Georges combination with the remaining combination allowed to ride at any level.

The Ireland Blue team (aka Midland and Western) consisted of Mary Mitchell/Western May (Preliminary), Shauna Finneran/Creganna Clover (Novice), Anna Hudson/Twist of Autumn (Elementary) and Siobhan Cazabon-Sullivan/Aramis (Advanced Medium). Simone Hession and Gentle Diamond due to ride on the Ireland Green team but ended up riding as an individual because the Advanced Medium combination (Lynne McCormick/Uneek) on the team had soundness problems and didn’t travel. This also meant that the other riders and horses on the Green team didn’t travel either. There was, however, another individual rider for Ireland in the form of Laura Toogood and her horse, Ruxton Silberstern. Laura lives not far from the Hand EC but is a PhD candidate at UCD and is now an honorary member of the Midland and Western Region.

The following is a summary of the competition results.

  Warm Up Test Team Test Individual Test
Mary Mitchell/Western May P/15, 63.9%, 14th P/17, 67.3%, 9th P/19, 62.9, 12th
Shauna Finneran/Creganna Clover N/22, 66.2%, =6th N/33, 68.8%, 9th N/37, 63.3%, 14th
Anna Hudson/Twist of Autumn E/43, 63.4%, 18th E/48, 64.3%, 18th E/53, 65.3%, 16th
Siobhan Cazabon-Sullivan/Aramis AM/86, 60.3%, 14th AM/94, 59%, 14th W/D
Simone Hession/Gentle Diamond N/22, 64.5%, 12th N/33, 64.8%, 19th N/37, 61.4%, 22nd
Laura Toogood/Ruxton Silberstern M/61, 58.3%, 6th M/69, 61.9%, 11th M/75, 61.1%, 10th

The Ireland Blue team were lying 18th after the first day of competition but slipped to 21st on the final day.

The competition standard was very high with many of the English riders opting to ride at this competition rather than their National Championships.

The Hand EC is a beautiful facility. The horses loved the surfaces and the spacious airy stables. The atmosphere was very friendly with smiles coming from every quarter.

The majority of the group, when not watching or riding, found refuge, solace, a cup of tea or a glass of wine and the craic at the the two caravans hired for the event. Major thanks must go to to the group’s chef, Mary Hudson (Anna Hudson’s Mum) for providing lavish meals every day of the show. More thanks to Judy Cazabon for all the organising (chef d’van), Enda Keane (aka Gunga) for driving the lorry and general portering, and to Bernard Finneran, chef d’comedy (aka chef d’p....) for keeping everyone entertained.

Next year the Senior Home International will take place in Ayrshire, Scotland which is not such a long journey from Ireland. And the following year, who knows, maybe Ireland will be the host country for this excellent event.