Dare to Dance: Dressage at Castle Irvine Necarne

GALA EVENING: Pegasus Dressage Music musical editor, Jonathan Magowan and Marketing Director, Anna Beattie, pictured with Victoria McCandless on Koolstyle and Fiona Gerring on Jumping Fox at the Gala Evening of Dressage to Music at Castle Irvine, Necarne

THE walled garden at Castle Irvine, Necarne was filled with music at the beginning of August, as this magical venue played host to a Gala Evening of Dressage to Music, hosted by local Tyrone-based company, Pegasus Dressage Music.

First established in 2020 during the pandemic, Pegasus Dressage Music are the first and only company of their kind in Ireland and are passionate about promoting dressage to music from grassroots upwards. Their clients range from riders at Introductory Level to Grand Prix, with their arrangements performed not only here in Ireland, but also in Canada, the US and Australia.

Castle Irvine, Necarne was the perfect setting to showcase the skill of some of Pegasus’ local dressage talent.

Anna Beattie, Marketing Director of Pegasus, is delighted that the venue is going from strength to strength: “We are so lucky to have a venue of this calibre operating in the north of Ireland. The facilities are second to none and the staff, ably directed by Rodney (Gault), could not have been more helpful.

“Hosting a dressage to music demo is quite an undertaking, given the sound system requirements and, of course, the building of a 20 x 60 arena, which has to be accurate to the last centimetre. The staff were super and, when the music played on a sunny Saturday evening for our dressage riders against the backdrop of the castle, we couldn’t have asked for a more lovely setting for our music.”

The audience were treated to a talk by Anna on the creative process for each piece: balancing the technical aspect of music editing overseen by Jonathan Magowan, against the choreography requirements, expertly handled by chief Pegasus choreographer, Jill Hobson.

Long-standing Pegasus client, Victoria McCandless opened the demo with her Elementary Freestyle arrangement on the theme of Cobra Kai: featuring 80s classics, such as Joe Esposito and Queen, evidently hugely enjoyed by her mount ‘Koolstyle’, who rose to the occasion.

This was followed by an instrumental Tina Turner medley for Jill Hobson and her home-bred mare ‘Miss Hanne J Walker’. The track ‘Simply the Best’ was a real highlight in this piece and had the audience tapping their toes.

Fiona Gerring, of FG Dressage and Training, provided the evening’s finale with her Inter I arrangement of instrumental Nathan Carter. Fiona explained to the audience how Jill’s choreography really highlighted ‘Jumping Fox’s’ strengths, such as his pirouettes and tempi changes (hitting those coveted marks for degree of difficulty), whilst Jonathan’s musical edit accentuated these as ‘party pieces’. No doubt Nathan Carter would be delighted to see a horse dancing to the strains of Temple Bar.

All in all, it was a beautiful evening showcasing the best Ireland has to offer in terms of a top class venue at Castle Irvine, Necarne, skilled dressage performances from local riders and, of course, top class professional music arrangements from local company Pegasus Dressage Music.

Pegasus Dressage Music are returning to Castle Irvine, Necarne on September 24 for the Dare to Dance Dressage Camp, hosted by Para Equestrian Ireland, where both able-bodied and para dressage riders can avail of the expertise of International Coach Clive Milkins, 5* FEI Para Dressage Judge Sarah Rogers and the Irish Para Team Adviser Debora Pijpers. Contact Lucinda Blakiston-Houston ([email protected]) to reserve your place.

Report & Photo by Farm Week


Dare to Dance: Dressage at Castle Irvine Necarne