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Horse Sport Ireland Announce Olympic Eventing Preparatory Squad
Dublin, Ireland
Photos: Anthony Trollope/
Loise Lyons (IRL) and Watership Down at Chatsworth
Horse Sport Ireland have today (Wednesday) announced a preparatory squad of 14 riders for the Three Day Eventing team for the Hong Kong Olympics. High Performance Coach and four time Olympic medallist Ginny Elliot said that she had invited 14 riders to join an intense programme with a view to selecting five horses and riders for a team in Hong Kong.

"I think everyone was surprised when we secured five Olympic places which will now allow Ireland to have a team in Hong Kong. Ireland has a much better chance of being competitive in the team competition. There are only eleven teams qualified and we are one of those," she said.

Ms. Elliot has written to the 14 riders stressing that they must be willing to give total commitment to a set programme for horse and rider over the next three months. Depending on the willingness of riders and owners to commit to this programme she will decide whether or not to nominate a team to the Olympic Council of Ireland.
Jayne Doherty (IRL) and Art Attack at Badminton
A meeting of the 14 riders, their owners and individual trainers has been fixed for Thursday, May 29th in Tattersalls, Co. Meath. Ms. Elliot said she will be making a final decision after this meeting. Horse Sport Ireland are required to formally accept Ireland's places in the Olympics not later than Friday May 30th.

"This approach will allow me to see how riders respond to a challenging programme and to see the commitment they are willing to give to team Ireland. The Irish eventers only get the chance to prepare as a team for at most one event per year and the riders and I will learn a huge amount about each other over the coming months," she said.

The Chairman of Horse Sport Ireland Joe Walsh pointed out that eventing is strategically important for the Irish breeding industry as Irish bred horses were the best in the world at the sport and the fact that eventing is an Olympic sport adds considerable value to eventing horses.

"It is important that we support the sport of eventing and its inclusion in the Olympics by making every effort to have a competitive team at the games," he said.

Eventing Ireland Chairman John Wright said that Eventing Ireland was delighted that a positive move towards sending a team to the Olympics had been made by Horse Sport Ireland.

"We are very fortunate to have a multiple Olympic medallist such as Ginny Elliot as coach, and it is important for the entire eventing community to get behind the squad," he said.

The squad, in alphabetical order, is:

Balladeer Alfred (ISH) and Kilkishen (ISH); Capt. Geoff Curran
Art Attack (ISH); Jayne Doherty
Lorgaine (ISH); Niall Griffin
Watership Down (ISH); Louise Lyons
Master Boy (ISH); Joseph Murphy
Hobby Du Mee (SF); Austin O'Connor
King Bob; Michael Owen
Hyanie d'Aubrie (AA); Sacha Pemble
Kilpatrick River (TB); Elizabeth Power
Old Road (ISH) and Master Mexico (ISH); Michael Ryan
Fernhill Clover Mist (ISH); Patricia Ryan
Quality VH; Steven Smith
Kincluny (BDB); Sarah Wardell
Ballybolger Bushman (ISH); Sam Watson

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