A record number of ponies were entered (278 in the catalogue - 308 by the end of the day) in this year’s 50th Annual Killusty Irish Pony Society Show and the six rings were in action from 10am.
The first Killusty Show in 1962 was confined to in-hand and show pony classes and it is sad to say that those classes were the least well supported in 2012. The emphasis has changed toward the Hunter Pony and Performance rings and the judges in those rings were truly occupied all day long. All of the judges on the day had a long history of involvement with Killusty. Some had judged many times over the years and others started their pony careers showing in the ring at Killusty. Andrea Cathers and Paula (Byrne) McCarthy were both in the latter category and travelled from County Down for the day. Gillian Kyle whose son Mark won the Working Hunter Championship several times on Streamstown Maeve came to Killusty prior to travelling to London and the Olympics where she will support Mark as he represents Ireland in the three day event. Margaret Miller, Connemara judge for the day, has judged in each of the Killusty rings during the time she has supported the show. Jane Darragh took on where her mother, Mrs. McDougald, left off and is also a stalwart of the show. Carole Martin-Smith has come several times as have mother and daughter, Carmel and Jean Santry who, with Carole Adams travelled from Cork.
In Ring 1, Paula McCarthy found her youngstock champion in the 3 year old Show Pony Lambay All Inclusive bred and produced by Ann Grimes who would not have regretted leaving the road race closed roads of Skerries to make the trip to Killusty. The Reserve was Thalia Smithwick’s Kilcreene Jasper. Thalia has taken on the mantle of her mother, Deirdre a life long supporter of the Show and it was great to see them both doing so well. The Best filly was the Barossa Pony Studs Barossa Duchesse and the Best Local entry in the Championship was Gillian O’Shea’s Secret Ballerina.
The broodmare Championship was won by Fethard’s Martina Delaney’s Moluccas Dark Ginger from the Show Pony broodmare ranks with Ann Grimes Lambay For Fun in reserve from the same class. Michael Hourigan from Lisnagry took the Horse Sport Ireland mare and foal qualifier with Ahane Beauty, another in a long line of his Ahane breed to win at Killusty. Ann Grimes took yet another Championship, this time the Welsh one with Wortley Delphine with Jane Williams’ Tabita Captain Courageous. The Purebred Connemara Pony Championship was won by Joanne O’Connor’s broodmare Greyrock Finisterre who took the Sarah Miller Trophy home the 3 miles or so down the road. In Reserve was Elizabeth Murphy’s Furzeknock Fizz a 2-year-old filly. Two of the most hotly contested classes of the day (due to a very large local entry) were won by Jonah Wragg with her coloured cob True Colours. Hers will be the first name on the Dinny Walsh Memorial Cup and Dinny would have heartily approved of the choice.
The Coolmore Stud Slievenamon Championship for Show Ponies was taken home to Cork by Deirdre and Finbar McCarthy. Sharlen Gone With the Wind was a worthy winner albeit from a very small entry. The entry was far from small in both the Handy Pony Classes which were won by Chloe Gunn on her mother’s Ewrfair Nora and Daire Davern on his grandmother’s Moortown Prince. The Special lead rein class had to be divided it was so well supported and the winners in each division were Jock Lennon on Bianca Lennon’s Molly and Jessie O’Sullivan on Kerry O’Sullivan’s Glen Shadow. There are so many classes in the mini Championship and so many entries in these classes that the future of showing should be secure. Jenny O’Driscoll’s Amesbury Bumblebee the Open Show Pony Lead-rein Class winner ably ridden by Katelyn O’Driscoll saw off all comers to take home the Dr. P. J. Stokes Mini Championship with Anna Wyse’s Barkway Chorister the first year first ridden winner ridden by Katie Wyse in reserve.
The Open Show Hunter Championship and Reserve went West as Jane Gibbons Bacchus took the honours with Leana Bartelink’s Poulcoin Spirit in Reserve. West, too went the Novice Show Hunter Championship when won by John Wixted’s Summer White Rose from Claire Bannon’s 133 cms. winner Hightopps Tigers Eye. There has been an encouraging increase in the numbers taking part in the Intermediate division and Suzanne O’Brien’s Razzle Dazzle Girl took the Intermediate Championship home to Limerick with Peter O’Donnell’s Marlfield Falcon in Reserve. The Starter Stakes Champion was Lucy Townsley’s Osthill Gensing ridden by James Phillips with Midnight Whisper and Charlie Swan in reserve.
After week’s of unremitting rain, fears were expressed that the land would not hold up on the Working Hunter course. Thankfully, those fears were unfounded as Valerie (Hyde) Osborne’s daughter Susie rode Isobel Reynolds Rathbawn Sushi to take the Novice Working Hunter Championship from Padraig Quinn’s Pixel. The Open Working Hunter Champion was Pascal Crawford’s Ardfry Sarabi ably ridden by his daughter Pataire to just pip Michelle Sheridan’s Mocklershill Lucky Lady and Shannon Sheridan. Alyssa O’Neill on her mother’s Rathkenny Snapdragon came from the 153 Performance Working Hunter Class to take the Championship from Maire Springate’s Killinaskully King out of the 143 cms. Class.
The final (Equitation) championship of the day for the Tate Croome-Carroll Memorial Cup was won by Lydia Dawson on Gloster Boy with Susie Doyle in Reserve.