Lammas Fair pony show details announced

MOYLE District Council has released the programme for the first ever pony shows which will take place at the Lammas Fair in Ballycastle on bank holiday Monday August 27th and Tuesday 28th.

Following the much debated and controversial decision taken by the Council earlier this year to ban the trading of equines on the street as part of the Fair, Council staff have been putting all their efforts into planning for an event which a Council press release said is sure to be a great attraction and something that can be enjoyed by all the family, competitors and spectators alike.

The pony shows will take place just off the town centre and there are competitions for all age groups from 3 year olds upwards which include in-hand and leading rein classes, best turned out rider and pony and even a ‘veteran’ class for ponies that are 15 years and over.

Tuesday’s Fancy-Dress class should challenge competitors to come up with imaginative themes for themselves and their mounts and this should provide a really fun spectacle for everyone, the press release said.

There is also a unique opportunity for ten of the competitors to take part in a ‘Horse Agility’ lesson on both days which will be given by the accomplished instructor Lesley Harvey from Armagh.

Horse Agility is a new, fast growing and exciting equine sport. Most people will have seen Dog Agility on TV where dogs and their trainers negotiate a course of obstacles within a given time, well this is very similar only the courses have been adapted for ponies so this promises to be a lot of fun for everyone involved.

The Council’s Director of Development Services, Esther Mulholland, said: “The elected councillors thought long and hard before voting to ban the trading of equines on the street as they were conscious that the Lammas Fair is a very old and integral part of seasonal traditions in Ballycastle and the surrounding area.

“Those traditions are held dear by many locals as well as those who visit the town over the two days. However it was recognised that the Fair has changed and adapted itself over many years to suit the needs and circumstances of its particular age. The last ten or so years has seen the complete demise of the livestock sales as farmers found more convenient venues and outlets.

“So though some may be reluctant to let go of old ways the challenge is to ensure that the Fair survives and thrives for the enjoyment of future generations who will no doubt create their own traditions.

“In today’s world Local Authorities have responsibilities for the safety of the public, the welfare of the animals and of course the image and experience which is presented to those who visit the area from afar.

“So we are now looking forward to a new era and pony shows that are going to be a great event for families who come to enjoy the Fair and especially the children as we have organised some great activities for them and their ponies.”

The programme and entry packs for the pony shows can be viewed or downloaded from Moyle District Councils website www.moyle-council.org or by emailing dev@moyle-council.org or for a hard copy can be posted out to you - please call the Development Services Department at 02820762225.