Equestrian: Horse Sport Ireland launch rebrand

Success of championship medal winner was celebrated in Naas

Horse Sport Ireland CEO Ronan Murphy.

Horse Sport Ireland CEO Ronan Murphy.


Horse Sport Ireland launched its official rebrand and new logo at a reception held on Thursday in the Killashee House Hotel, Naas where the Governing Body for equestrian sport celebrated the success of the country’s championship medal winners in 2019.

Chief among these was Co Kildare-based Cathal Daniels who, riding Mags Kinsella’s home-bred chesnut mare Rioghan Rua won individual bronze at the European senior eventing championships in Luhmühlen, Germany.

The 23-year-old from Loughrea, who is among 26 nominees for the RTÉ sportsperson of the Year award, was a member of the Sally Corscadden-managed Irish eventing squad who, in winning silver at last year’s World Equestrian Games in North Carolina, secured a team place at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

For the first time, Ireland will have three teams in the equestrian disciplines at the GameS. Also honoured on Thursday were the dressage quartet of Judy Reynolds, Kate Dwyer, Anna Merveldt and Heike Holstein, who qualified at the FEI European championships in Rotterdam in August, and Limerick’s Paul O’Shea who was a member of the Irish show jumping team who, at the last chance of qualifying for Tokyo in early October, did so when winning the Longines FEI Nations’ Cup world final in Barcelona.

The GAIN junior show jumping squad of Kate Derwin, Harry Allen, Jack Ryan, Ciaran Nallon and Seamus Hughes Kennedy, managed by James Kernan, were honoured for their team bronze medal win at the European Championships at Zuidwolde in The Netherlands, where Derwin also claimed individual gold.

Managed by Gary Marshall, the GAIN pony show jumping squad of John McEntee, Niamh McEvoy, Tom Wachman, Francis Derwin and Max Wachman, took the team gold medal at the European Championships in Strzegom, Poland, where Max Wachman rounded off the week by also winning individual gold.

The GAIN Irish pony eventing squad, comprising Grace Tyrell, Alex Connors, Brian Kuehnle, Tiggy Hancock, Olivia Swan and Susan Shanahan, secured the team bronze medal at the European Championships at Strzegom under the guidance of team manager Becky Cullen.

Once again Irish horses and riders excelled at the 2019 FEI world breeding championships for young horses at Lanaken, Belgium in September.

Seamus Hughes Kennedy claimed victory in the seven-year-old championship with Cuffesgrange Cavadora, bred by Eamonn Sheahan and owned by Clare Hughes; Jason Foley also won the five-year-old final on Rockwell RC, bred by Ronan Byrne and owned by Kevin Crumley while Kildare’s Mikey Pender and Chacco Bay finished as runners-up. Pender also made the podium following the six-year-old final when he again finished second with MHS Cardenta, bred by Thomas Brennan and owned by Marion Hughes and Miguel Bravo.

Reflecting on the season, Horse Sport Ireland CEO Ronan Murphy commented: “When I look back on what has been achieved this past year, I am struck by two things - our athletes’ will to win and their team spirit. There is a unified hunger and drive, across all disciplines and age categories, to deliver success for Ireland - it’s truly inspiring.”

Under its rebranding initiative, HSI has introduced a new logo, while its Facebook, Twitter and Instagram social media pages, which incorporate Team Ireland Equestrian and attract over 100,000 followers, will all now be the one name, Horse Sport Ireland.

“Our new strategic plan, which was launched last August, focusses on five key strategic areas,” said Murphy. “Under the pillar, ‘engaging with the equestrian community and stakeholders’, our overall goal is to transform how we engage and the public perception of what we do. One of the first detailed actions we undertook was to develop a refreshed brand for Horse Sport Ireland which is consistent with our new direction.

“Our corporate visual identity expresses the values and ambitions of our organisation, its business and its characteristics. It provides an organisation with visibility and recognisability. It symbolizes Horse Sport Ireland for our external stakeholders and contributes to our image and reputation while also helping internal stakeholders and employees identify with the organisation as a whole.

“Horse Sport Ireland has previously been referred to as a ‘complex’ organisation working in an equally complex and sometimes ‘fractionated’ industry. Our new image challenges those perceptions and instead our new strategic direction is centred on a clear and powerful message of ‘One Team’. This message covers all aspects of our remit as laid out in our new structure, i.e: Sport and Recreation, High Performance Sport, Breeding and Production and Coaching, Education and Training.

“Collaboration is one of our core values and we respect our colleagues, customers and industry stakeholders and recognise that we must work collaboratively to achieve our vision,” concluded Murphy.

On the competition front this weekend, Ireland’s show jumping riders are appearing at five-star level in Madrid and at four-star level in Poznan, Stockholm and Wellington, Florida. There is also Irish participation at two-star shows in Belgium, The Netherlands and the United Arab Emirates.

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