Farm Ireland

Tuesday 20 March 2018

Have fun at Ballymacad hunting extravaganza

THE Ballymacad Hunt is to host a major hunting festival at Sallymount House on the shores of White Lake, Fore, Co Westmeath, on Sunday.

The highlight of the day will be the Best Hunting Horse competition, which will be divided into three sections (lightweight, heavyweight and small hunter), with a prize fund of €1,000 a section.

The horses will be judged on conformation, ability and suitability to the job at hand. They will be required to jump a course of hunt-type fences including a blind bank, electric tape and gate.

Judges will include international showjumper Alexander Butler, well-known horse producer and breeder Norman Allen, Rory Gilsenan, an accomplished producer of top-class Working Hunters in the UK, and Ballymacad huntsman Kevin Donohue, who is the fourth generation Donohue to hunt with the Ballymacad Hounds.

Designed as a showcase for the Irish Hunter, the class is set to attract some buyers from home and aboard, and the judges will ride the top-placed horses in each section.

The Ballymacad Hounds will parade in conjunction with the championship of the Best Hunting Horse, as will hounds from the Louth, the Meath and Westmeath Foxhounds.


Other competitions planned for the festival include:

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  • Inter Hunt Chase -- teams of four from different hunts race around a mirror-image course of hunt-type fences at fast pace.
  • Jump Cross Competition -- any individual may enter. You are required to jump around a course of showjumps and continue straight on to jump a short cross-country course before returning to the showjumps for your last few jumping efforts.
  • Gate Jumping Competition -- a meshed gate will be jumped on showjumping cups, 'Chase Me Charlie' style. Each around the gate is put a hole higher until a winner is found.
  • Pony Club Mounted Games -- a fast and furious display of skill on and off the ponies.
  • Drag Race -- a drag trail will be laid around the White Lake before hounds are released. Visitors will have a grandstand view of hounds hunting from the hill, while the winning hound will collect a handsome pot.
  • Terrier and Lurcher showing and racing competitions.
  • Dog Show -- all the usual classes, including sport, working, novelty, child handler, dog you'd most like to take home and fancy dress.

Entry forms for the hunting extravaganza are available on the website,

For further information, contact 087 256 6652, 086 820 2380 or 087 233 6205.

Irish Independent