Shaun Whelan , Matt Malone and Ella Doyle at the Hoofprints Hunter Trials ,New Ross , Co Wexford.

Shaun Whelan , Matt Malone and Ella Doyle at the Hoofprints Hunter Trials ,New Ross , Co Wexford.

Colaiste Iosagain, Portarlington, recently entered it first team in an Equestrian Competition. Young riders Shaun Whelan, Ella Doyle and Matt Malone represented the school at the Hoofprints hunter Trials at New Ross, Wexford. Chef d’Equipe Geraldine Tynan is optimistic of the teams’ prospects as they are all quite young and have several years of schools’ competition remaining.

The three keen young riders however have quite a bit of experience already having been involved in the sport for several years.

Training is generally twice a week at The Grand Canal Equestrian Centre, Fisherstown and this is extended during the competition period. The Team is sponsored by Super Value Portarlington and Just Jumpers, Kilbride.

The three, all First Years from Ballybrittas, have represented Laois and are members of the Laois Hunt Pony Club. They have competed around the country in venues such as Punchestown, Anna Harvey, Bunclody, Tinnahely and Stradbally. Ella has also competed in Northern Ireland. As well as the traditional challenges of speed and skill a number of very innovative events have become popular in recent years. Both Shaun and Ella have taken part in the two-day Minimus Event in Kilkenny, which involves not only cross country riding but also the dismounted rider swimming and running. They have also been on the Laois team for the Tetrathlon event at Tattersalls last year and all hope to compete there again in August. This again sees the riders themselves swimming and running along with shooting as well as cross country riding.

The team are hoping to expand with more members likely, as some talented riders are believed to be coming through from the local primary schools.