THE DEVELOPMENT OF OUR RIDERS AND HORSES, who are training and competing under the Treo Eile banner, is always at the forefront of our mind and this year with the support of Randox Health Ireland we ran ten clinics right across the country. They ranged in discipline, while also including some informative talks on the care of the thoroughbred horse. With over 600 horses on our registry it is important to us to provide their retrainers with opportunities to learn new skills and offer support with industry experts.
THIS YEAR the first clinic took place at the end of January when Louise Robson of Thoroughbred Dressage made the trip from the UK. She delivered ten sessions over the weekend, and gave a talk in which she
discussed the mental and physical changes required by a racehorse to transition to a second career. With the help of two demo riders, Claire Farrell and Carolann Dowling, Robson demonstrated her approaches to a retraining programme “Train the horse you have, not the horse you want”.
On Monday March 13 the first of the year’s five show jumping clinics took place at the Meadows Equestrian Centre, and two weeks later the thoroughbreds of Ireland arrived in Tipperary Equestrian Centre to be put through their paces. Both of these days provided a great base for the horses to begin their competitive season as the eventing season kicked off. On the back of the announcement of the Tattersalls Ireland Showing Pathway Series, the accredited judge and HSI coach Joanne Quirke delivered a clinic covering flat work training and showing techniques.
Quirke, renowned for her retraining skill and many successes in the show ring with thoroughbreds Forpadydeplasterer and Cooldine, facilitated three flat work sessions. These began with the introduction of core training exercises at the early stages of retraining and to understand the transition period for the ex-racehorse developing right up to concentrating on the level of flat work that will produce the “winning performance” in the show ring. Nicole Groyer from Connolly Red Mills also held a talk to understand feeding the thoroughbred in its second career, providing attendees with valuable information on how to get the most of their thoroughbred and how the needs of the thoroughbred may be different to other breeds.
With the showing season in full swing, Nicki Russell delivered a Thoroughbred Showing Clinic at the Kilbride Equestrian Centre. Again this clinic took the “building blocks approach” whereby the first session was an introduction to showing, while the subsequent sessions had a more focused approach on understanding the criteria attached to the “Novice” and “Open” Racehorse to Riding Horse Classes. A trio of experts from the showing industry – Kevin McGuinness, Julie Donaghy Simpson, and Judy Maxwell – joined forces and offered a complete package of showing preparation and execution.
The day included practical elements as well as talks on how to achieve the picture perfect image when entering the show ring. Participants were also taken through the process of transitioning your thoroughbred
from their original feeding routines into a suitable regime for optimum performance and health as a showing horse.
With the Dublin Horse Show fast approaching, and after such positive feedback from last year’s clinic, a Dress Rehearsal Clinic was held in Coilóg Equestrian Centre County Kildare by multiple RDS racehorse to riding horse class winner Joanne Quirke. This clinic gave amazing insights as how to deal with the pressure and atmosphere of the day. The participants were talked through the day, from the time they would arrive in the morning until they left the show ring. These skills were also used during the qualifiers and final of the Tattersalls Ireland Treo Eile Showing Pathway Series – read about it here .
Pictured: Candice Reusch (Tiger Twenty Two), Emma Jo Carolan (Masterson), Laura Tierney (Oscar Encore), Melanie Love (Paudi The Punter) and Ian Fearon.
The Randox Health Autumn Show Jumping clinics were aimed at providing the horses with consistent preparation for the Treo Eile Christmas Show. They began in Tipperary Equestrian Centre with HSI Level 2 coach Tomás Ryan. Our participants were put through their paces over a (lowered!) Grand Prix track and it was evident that each horse grew in confidence throughout the lessons. Mullingar Equestrian Centre played host to the penultimate clinic of the year. We were grateful to Ian Fearon for giving his time and sharing his expertise to each of the participants. With the show date looming, the last clinic of the year took place at the show venue, Emerald Equestrian Centre. Commandant Geoff Curran took charge on the day and with five full lessons it was a busy day for all.
A huge thank you to Randox Health Ireland for their support of these clinics throughout the year. We have had wonderful feedback from participants and we look forward to building on them in the future.