Rio star Judy Reynolds to attend National Dressage Championships
International horse trials taking place in County Cork this weekend
Judy Reynolds will be attending the prize-giving at the international horse trials taking place in Co Cork. Photograph: Getty
There is plenty of action on the home equestrian scene this weekend with international horse trials taking place in Co Cork while the National Dressage Championships are being held at Barnadown, outside Gorey.
Germany-based Judy Reynolds, who made history in Rio de Janeiro when becoming the first Irish rider to qualify for the final Kür round of the Olympic dressage competition, will be present for the prize-giving ceremony in Co Wexford on Sunday.
National Champion in 2014 with her Olympic ride Vancouver K, Reynolds, whose father Joe is chairman of Dressage Ireland, will be travelling to Barnadown after first attending President Michael D. Higgins’s reception for the Rio athletes in Áras an Uachtaráin that morning.
Barnadown is a new venue for the Championships which begin on Friday. Three arenas will be in use from 8am on all three days. Sunday’s schedule features the ride-offs (finals) of the preliminary and novice championships, those for young horses and the freestyle-to-music finals for the higher grades.
The international horse trials are already under way at the Green Glens Arena in Millstreet and the adjacent Drishane Castle.
New Zealander Jesse Campbell, who won two classes at last year’s inaugural international, returns with both Cleveland and Kaapachino which are now both competing at three-star level. Campbell also rides the Irish-bred May Ryloa in the six-year-old class where he is lying seventh of 34 going into Friday’s concluding cross-country phase.
Australian Kevin McNab, who won two classes at the Camphire international last month, has a strong team of horses competing at Millstreet, the majority being Irish-bred. The event has also attracted entries from three American riders, Sinead Halpin, Kylie Lynam and Lillian Heard.
Among the strong British squad are such well-known competitors as Izzy Taylor, Ben Hobday, Polly Stockton, Laura Collett, Nicky Roncoroni and Harry Meade. Naturally, there is a huge entry of top Irish riders including Aoife Clark, Joseph Murphy, Austin O’Connor, Cathal Daniels, Sam Watson and Michael Ryan, all of whom had been in contention for Olympic selection.
Also riding in Co Cork are Padraig McCarthy, who did get to compete in Rio, disappointingly being eliminated following a fall on the cross-country course, and Camilla Speirs who went to Brazil as travelling reserve.
While competitors in the one-star classes, which include a very strong Junior section, go across the country on Friday, the two and three-star combinations will be tested over Mike Etherington-Smith’s tracks on Saturday with show jumping for the two CCI classes taking place on Sunday.
Irish riders are also competing at the international horse trials in Blair Castle, Scotland venue of last year’s European championships, with the in-form Elizabeth Power due to line-out in the fifth leg of the Event Rider Masters Series on Soladoun. The Co Meath combination finished third in the fourth round of the three-star series at Gatcombe Park earlier in the month.
A large number of Irish show jumping riders are in action throughout Europe and across the Atlantic this weekend.
Anthony Condon, Michael Duffy, Dermott Lennon, Cian O’Connor, Conor Swail and Billy Twomey are competing at five-star level in Gijon, Spain where the Nations’ Cup takes place on Saturday. Meanwhile, Bertram Allen and Denis Lynch have travelled to the five-star show in St Moritz, Switzerland.