Above: Doris May from Rosscarbery on Karem. Photo: Radka Preislerova
The first annual Castlefreke Dressage Festival took place on Sunday October 11 in the grounds of Castlefreke, Rathbarry. Organised by South Munster Dressage, the festival featured a new perpetual Leading Rider Cup and €1,000 in prize money, sponsored by Stephen Evans-Freke in memory of his late mother Joyzelle, Lady Carbery, herself a dressage enthusiast. The show was oversubscribed, attracting nearly 40 entries from all over Ireland to compete in the stunning setting of Castlefreke’s 19th-century stable yard, in the shadow of two historic castles.
Competitors ranged in age and experience from Laura Dennehy and Robyn O’Neill, junior riders who have represented Ireland in dressage competitions abroad, to German professional dressage trainer Susanne Hirsch, to Clonakilty’s champion eventer Brian Morrison. Many enthusiastic amateurs also took part.
The Lady Carbery Cup and a prize of €500 were presented to Caroline Marwood on ‘NEH Avalon Clover’, who was the Leading Rider with a score of 85 per cent, the highest score of the day. Caroline was thrilled with her win, “I’m absolutely delighted. The horse is only five years old, but I have high hopes for him. I’ll be taking him eventing. He’s a class young horse and a special lad.”
Emer Creedon was second-placed Leading Rider on ‘Shadow Indigo’, taking home a prize of €200. Eimear White was third on ‘Whatever Next’ with Bandon’s Laura Hagger fourth on ‘Little Miss Sunshine’, Brian Morrison fifth on ‘JR’ and Susanne Hirsch sixth on ‘Ballustree Bualadh Bos’.
The leading Junior Rider, Niamh O’Carrol on ‘Castlelawn’, won €150. Second-place Junior was Nicole Lynch on ‘Chasmarella’. Michelle O’Driscoll was third on ‘Kingston David’, Robyn O’Neill fourth on ‘Belsasser’, Sharon Coombes fifth on ‘Half a Chancer’ and Laura Dennehy sixth on ‘Templebready Anna’.
Susanne Hirsch won four of the most advanced classes, including the Prix St Georges and Intermediate on ‘Ballustree Bualdg Bos’, and both Advanced Medium classes on ‘Welt Crusador’. Meadbh Hennessy won the Advanced class, whilst Doris May from Rosscarbery won one of the Elementary classes and placed second in another on ‘Karem’. Eventer Eimear White won both Novice classes on ‘Whatever Next’, as well as an Elementary class on ‘Weather the Storm’. Both Preliminary classes were won by Leading Rider Caroline Marwood on ‘NEH Avalon Clover’.
Judges were Gisela Holstein and Vida Tansy. Sponsorship was also provided by Bucas Rugs and O’Donovan’s Hotel in Clonakilty.