Ireland qualify for Olympics team dressage for the first time

Judy Reynolds breaks Irish record in Rotterdam to secure Tokyo ticket

The Irish dressage team of  Anna Merveldt, Judy Reynolds, Heike Holstein and Kate Dwyer.

The Irish dressage team of Anna Merveldt, Judy Reynolds, Heike Holstein and Kate Dwyer.

 

Ireland have qualified a dressage team for the Olympics for the first time after Judy Reynolds set a new national record in Rotterdam on Tuesday.

Lying 10th of the 15 competing nations following Monday’s opening session, the team was still outside the qualification places when Reynolds entered the Rotterdam arena on her Rio Olympics mount Vancouver K.

Under pressure, the 38-year-old set a new Irish record of 76.351% which guaranteed Ireland a team place at the Tokyo Games next year.

The quartet, which also comprises Kate Dwyer (Snowdon Faberge), Heike Holstein (Sambuca) and Anna Merveldt (Esporim), completed on a total of 213.540% which left them seventh overall, behind a totally dominant Germany (244.969), and second of the eight teams chasing qualification at this final team qualifier in Europe.

On a score of 76.351%, Reynolds placed joint-10th individually in this FEI Grand Prix as German riders Isabell Werth (85.652), Dorothee Schneider (80.233) and Sönke Rothenberger filled the top three places. Charlotte Dujardin had initially been lying second, as was the British team, when blood was spotted on the flanks of her mount, Mount St John Freestyle, and she was eliminated while the team dropped to fourth.

Seeking Olympic qualification, the Irish team has yet to be named by manager Rodrigo Pessoa for the European show jumping championships in Rotterdam but all horses passed their inspection on Monday. The squad members are Darragh Kenny (Balou du Reventon), Peter Moloney (Chianti’s Champion), Cian O’Connor (PSG Final), Paul O’Shea (Skara Glen’s Machu Picchu) and Shane Sweetnam (Alejandro).

The jumping action commences on Wednesday as does the European para dressage championships for Grade I, II and III riders. The Irish team, which is managed by Dara Kearney, comprises just three riders Tamsin Addison (Donna Siesta), Rosemary Gaffney (Werona) and Michael Murphy (Skjoldsgaard Hippo). Kate Kerr-Horan had to withdraw her horse, Serafina T, for veterinary reasons.

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