The college has a very active equestrian club which participates at all Inter schools equestrian activities principally show jumping and hunter trials. We host a leg of the Interschool’s League yearly in late September and run our own Horse Show in May each year.
The second level schools’ show jumping league has been established over the last 30 years and its popularity is still growing. The league starts in September and finishes at the final in April with up to 30 competitions held all over the country throughout the year. Newbridge College try to attend all these events. Teams travel from the four corners of Ireland to compete and there can be up to 40 teams competing. The College has been involved in the league since its inception.
Pictured: 2013 League Winners: Sarah Behan, Karen Casey, Caoimhe Sweeney and Luke Heffernan.
The team competition is the principal event. Teams jump 2 rounds of jumps and those who finish on 0 faults qualify for the jump off round to decide the placing’s. Those who win or are placed receive points which will eventually decide the winner of the League. The open level league is the TRI Equestrian league, sponsored by TRI Equestrian on the Curragh. For this the school’s 7 best results over the season are counted towards the League Final held at the end of the season. This can be very exciting as the result can change dramatically since points and a half are awarded at the final, which means that the school going in to the competition final in the lead can be overtaken by another school scoring well on the day.
Previous to 2013 Newbridge College took home 7 winning titles in the Show jumping League when it was known as the Hoofprints League.
In 2013 Newbridge Won the TRI Equestrian league with riders: Lauren Heffernan, Hannah Sutton, Meadhbh Brassil and Aoife Murphy. Winning Attendance and Best Turned Out Leagues.
Again in 2015 Newbridge Won the TRI Equestrian League with riders: Luke Heffernan, Sarah Behan, Caoimhe Sweeney and Karen Casey again winning Attendance and Best Turned out league. Jack Ross won the Individual Show jumping League.
In 2016 Newbridge were runners up in the league with riders: Caoimhe Sweeney, Amy Carroll, Caragh Sweeney and Daniel Fitzgerald. Daniel Fitzgerald won the Individual Show jumping league.
In 2017 Newbridge took 3rd place in the league winning Attendance and Tack and Turnout League. Caragh Sweeney won the Show jumping Individual League.
The Open Individual competition is also held with the same rules applying. This is usually a one round speed round, which is very exciting to watch. Newbridge competitiors have won this individual league twice with Alyssa O’Neill in 2011 and 2012 and for the past three years with Jack Ross in 2015, Daniel Fitzgerald in 2016 and Caragh Sweeney in 2017.
Pictured: Caragh Sweeney 2017 Final Winner.
A lot of the host schools/venues also run novice competitions. These are aimed at competitors who want to compete but do not feel ready for the open competition yet. Novice Competitions are held at 85cms or lower. However, the Open Competitions are held up to 1.05cms.
There has been a new edition to the league 2 years ago with the introduction of the Horse Sport Ireland 1.10cms Premier Class. Qualifiers are held throughout the year at 15 venues and riders must qualify to ride at the final.
In 2015, 8 Newbridge Riders qualified to compete in Mullingar at the 1.10 Final in a total class of 65 riders, Daniel Fitzgerald, Leah Heffernan, Sarah Behan, Rachel Ross, Caragh Sweeney, Amy Carroll, Caoimhe Sweeney, and Nika Carey. Caragh Sweeney took 2nd with Daniel Fitzgerald taking 5th at the final.
In 2017, Newbridge had 9 riders qualified for the final in a total class of 69 riders, Jack Ross, Nika Carey, Amy Carroll, Conor Cassidy, Leah Heffernan, Sophie Carroll, Caragh Sweeney, Rachel Ross and Niamh Flinter. Leah Heffernan was placed 5th at the final.
Besides the excitement of the TRI Equestrian League the highlight of the college show jumping year has been competing at the British Schools Show Jumping Championships held in England's premier show jumping arena, Hickstead, home of the Derby Competition.
Newbridge College have a great history in Hickstead but the highest placing we ever achieved was in the Summer of 2016 with both the Junior and the Senior teams taking 2nd place. With only teams of three and no discard score it was a great achievement for both teams to get through the qualifying stages to ride in the main Hickstead Arena. Both teams came 2nd to a school called Millfield School in Somerset, with its 27 Equestrian Staff, 12 Coaches, and 100 horses we were in great company on the leader board.
Pictured: Leah Heffernan, Sophie Carroll and Leah Ross
Pictured: Daniel Fitzgerald, Caragh Sweeney, Rachel Ross
Our school equestrian activities are not just confined to show jumping, although that would be the major part of it We also participate in the All Ireland Inter schools Hunter Trials competition and for this you need to attend hunter trials or hunt regularly. Since our members participate in various different equestrian activities we always have a large entry for this. Over the last few years Newbridge teams have won this competition in 2013 and again this year in 2017 with sisters Amy and Sophie Carroll and Emily O’Brien. Emily then went on to be Senior Individual Champion. We also came 2nd with riders Rachel Ross, Conor Cassidy and Charlie O’Dwyer.
The Newbridge College Horse Show takes place early in May each year. At this show there are 2 classes confined to college pupils. These mark the end of the equestrian club year and are hotly contested as they decide who will be the recipients of the Novice and Open College Cups. In 2017, the Open Cup was won by Niamh Flinter and the Novice Cup by Max Ross.
Newbridge College host a leg of the TRI Interschools League in late September each year in Coilog Equestrian Centre. In 2016 Newbridge hosted 59 teams with over 300 competitors. Newbridge College have been hosting this competition for over 15 years and have a great relationship with riders and chef d’eqipes from the visiting schools and this has become a very social event after the summer break from competitions.
May of 2017 saw the first ever Schools Championships held in Balmoral in Northern Ireland. Newbridge College qualified a team to ride in the international arena along with 6 Northern Irish Teams and 7 Southern Teams. It was a fantastic experience and one which we hope can be repeated each year. The team of Caragh Sweeney, Leah Heffernan, Sophie Carroll and Niamh Flinter came 5th.
The many equestrian activities throughout the year demand commitment, not just from the members but from the members’ parents or guardians as these are the people who transport you and your pony to events, are unpaid grooms and cheerleaders and are there to be moaned at and given out to when everything goes pear shaped! But they are also on hand to praise and to join in the celebration of a round well done, and at the end of a long day they have the dubious pleasure of driving the sleeping rider and pony home in the dusk.
The club is run solely by parents and they become great friends and support each other through all the hard work of keeping the Equestrian Club going with the fantastic support of the school.