The Emerald Isle will host the 2003 Europeans alongside a new annual international Sport Horse show

Ireland will host the Sport Ireland IFG European Eventing Championships and Emirates FEI European Open Endurance Riding Championships in 2003.

Taking place in Punchestown, Co. Kildare, over three days in September 2003, the Europeans will run alongside a new international Sport Horse show, which will include other international equestrian competitions.

“For three days in September 2003 these two European championships will enable Ireland to reaffirm its unique versatility as a world-class sports tourism destination,” said acting chief executive of Bord Failte [the Irish Tourist Board], Niall Reddy. Bord Failte runs the Irish government’s international sports tourism initiative, which was introduced to bring prestigious sporting events to Ireland.

New international show

The inaugural International Sport Horse Show will take place at Punchestown on 16-19 May 2002, and promises to be “one of the highlights of the Irish sporting calendar,” according to Punchestown chairman Avril Doyle.

The event will include international CCI*** team and individual eventing competitions, plus international individual senior and young rider two-star competitions. They will take place over a brand new course built by top Irish course designer Tommy Brennan.

An international CEI** endurance riding competition, which forms part of the FEI Emirates endurance world wide rankings, will also take place during the four days.

Entertainment for all

On the Saturday, top class international show jumping including a Grand Prix and 148cm Area International Pony Trial will take place, while on Sunday top hunts from Ireland, Britain and across Europe will compete in a hunt chase.

“No equestrian event in Ireland has ever offered such a wide mix of events,” continues Avril, “As well as being a great event for spectators, the International Sport Horse Show will be an important showcase for the Irish Sport Horse Industry.”

The International Sport Horse Show will move to September in 2003 to run alongside the European Championships, but will return to it’s May slot in 2004.

For more information about Ireland’s International Sport Horse Show, visit www.eventingatpunchestown.com

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