03 Oct 2019

Cavan Equestrian, #SBSDINCH2019

Heike Holstein successfully defended her National Champion title with a score of 68.043% in the Grand Prix class at the Slieve Bloom Stud National Dressage Championships in Cavan Equestrian Centre last weekend. The podium was completed by Rachel Dowley riding Cadens in 2nd place on 62.772% and Belinda Brereton riding Captain Negro C in 3rd place on 60.870%.


Heike was riding her 10-year-old homebred mare Sambuca by Samarant (by Sandro Hit) out of Astoria, with whom she recently secured Ireland’s first ever Olympic dressage team qualification alongside teammates Judy Reynolds (Vancouver K), Anna Merveldt (Esporim), and Kate Dwyer (Snowdon Faberge). “I was very happy with how relaxed Sambuca was, proving that she has matured a lot since Cavan last year. We had a few mistakes which were totally my fault but that’s good as I will learn from them and hopefully do those movements better in the future!” said the three-time Olympian, proving that the learning never stops even at the top level. Heike also commented that “The Slieve Bloom Stud National Dressage Championships was a fantastic weekend for the everyone, with great evening entertainment. I really enjoyed the trailblazers prize giving and getting to meet our future dressage stars! Thank you to the sponsors, organisers and volunteers who helped make the weekend such a success!”.


This year was special with Dressage Ireland celebrating 30 years since it was founded by Joan Keogh in 1989 as the Irish Dressage Society. Opening the pearl anniversary celebrations on the Friday night, equestrian journalist and commentator Paul Nolan gave an overview of the organisation’s history, illustrating Joan’s determination and commitment to the sport of dressage. Championships Co-Ordinator Jane Whitaker presented Joan Keogh with a beautiful pearl gift from Gelletlie Jewellers. The Girls in Green dressage team and their team trainer Johann Hinneman were also honoured at the celebrations and took part in a “Pearls of Wisdom” Q&A, hosted by international rider and trainer Dane Rawlins. Chairman of Horse Sport Ireland Joe Reynolds also gave a speech, commenting on recent achievements in Irish dressage and looking to the future with the 2020 Tokyo Olympics firmly in the sights.


At small tour level, Fiona Skipper won the Slieve Bloom Stud Intermédiare I championship riding Jumping Fox to a score of 65.221%. Fiona, who had never ridden at a national championships before and only moved over to Ireland from the UK earlier this year, commented that the horse hadn’t been out competing since qualifying due to work commitments but that they “might as well give it a go and have some fun.” Heike Holstein with her second horse Chameur scored 68.309% to win the Slieve Bloom Stud Prix St Georges championship.


The Leinster Region were on great form with their team (Marguerite McSweeney, Sorrell Klatzko, Heike Holstein, and Belinda Brereton) winning the regional team championships. Maguerite won the Botanica Medium Freestyle riding Fidette, while Belinda won the Curragh Equine Rehabilitation Centre Advanced Medium and the Botanica Advanced Medium Freestyle riding Galaxy Moone. The South East U25 Regional Team (Oscar O’Connor, Rachel Rowe, Rachel Carr, and Naoise Ward) successfully defended their title, with Oscar winning the DI Leinster Dressage Elementary Category 2 riding Top Hero 2 and Rachel Rowe winning the DI Midlands and Western Dressage Novice Category 1 riding Kachemire Le Beau.


The Freedom Saddlery Advanced championship was won by Tara Oliver riding Furst Romance with a score of 69.853%. Tara also won the Horse First Young Horse 5-Year-Old championship with Senators Rhonaldo, who then went on to win the Botanica Elementary Freestyle championship, despite a canine visitor during the test, on a score of 73.558%, which earned them the Kilkea Trophy for the highest score in freestyle class. Rachel Dowley was once again on form with wins in the Horse First GP Kür championship riding Cadens, the Freedom Saddlery Elementary Category 3 championship riding Insticator B.S., and the County Saddlery Preliminary Category 3 championship riding Just A Ball B.S.. Sadhbh O’Toole and pony Maverick S also had a fantastic championships, topping the podium with wins in the Whites Agri FEI Pony championship, the Curragh Equine Rehabilitation Centre FEI Pony Freestyle championship, and the WOW Saddles Medium Category 2 championship. Sadhbh and Maverick S also won the Mini Kilkea trophy for the highest placed pony in a freestyle class. The Botanica Prix St Georges Freestyle championship was won by Anne Marie Dunphy riding Her Highness Willow.


Courtney Stuart riding HH Empire won the Ballymacarbry Massage Clinic Medium Category 3 championship. The Horse First Young Horse 4-Year-Old championship was won by Caroline Herron riding Clantara Kallisto. Sean Burgess riding Fig won the Agrobs Novice Category 3 championship and the Botanica Novice Freestyle championship. Molly Mooney riding Sverige won the DI South Munster Dressage Novice Category 2 championship and Millie Dawn McBride won the Junior Novice Category 1 championship on Best Buddie. Tara Hayes won the DI Eastern Dressage Preliminary Category 2 championship riding Ferrero K. The Freedom Saddlery Preliminary Category 1 championship went to Andrew Gordon riding Drumnahall Miss and the Junior Preliminary Category 1 championship went to Rebecca Keane riding Varande.


In the best of breed awards, the Connemara Pony Breeders’ Society award for the highest placed Connemara pony once again went to Carn Verdon Boy ridden by Alana Cazabon in the Prix St Georges championship. The Irish Draught Horse Breeders’ Association trophy for the highest placed Irish Draught horse went to Beezie’s Big Brother ridden by Simone Hession in the Intermédiare I championship. The Irish Horse Welfare Trust award for the highest placed ex-racehorse went to Sizing Alberta ridden by Christine McBride in the Elementary championship. New for this year was the Beezies Sue trophy, kindly sponsored by Beezies Stud, for the highest placed Traditional Irish Horse, which went to Gorsehill Maya ridden by Rachael Coulter in the Intermédiare I championship.


Also new for this year were the adult grass roots Sportsman championships. Katie Jones riding High Meadows Billy won the Dressage by Design Sportsman Preliminary championship and Lauren O’Mahony won the Curragh Equine Rehabilitation Centre Sportsman Novice championship riding Ballingowan Freedom. At young rider grass roots level, Millie Cosgrave won the Seale Transport Mini Trailblazers (under 12yrs) championship riding Polly Put the Kettle On and Heidi Smyth won the Special Edition Browbands Junior Trailblazers Preliminary 12-16yrs championship riding Waxwing Archimedes. Jessica Grogan won the Seale Transport Junior Trailblazers Preliminary 16-21yrs championship riding Toy Story Boy and the Seale Transport Junior Trailblazers Novice championship riding Little Miss Sunshine. Leanne Foster won both the TRI Equestrian Senior Trailblazers Preliminary championship and the TRI Equestrian Senior Trailblazers Novice championship riding Slievefelimn Grageen. The Trailblazers had a mounted prizegiving in the main arena where Olympian Heike Holstein, dressed in her tailcoat and the infamous top hat, presented the prizes and gave every competitor a rosette to recognise their achievements.

Link to Dressage Ireland National National Championships 2019 Results:

Photo - Heike Holstein riding Sambuca (photo credit: Louise O’Brien Photography)