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Former H&H deputy news editor

British dressage rider Roland Tong to ride for Ireland

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British dressage rider Roland Tong is now representing Ireland.

The 32-year-old, who is based in Over Wallop, Hants, struck the deal with Horse Sport Ireland (HSI) two weeks ago.

“I’ve been thinking about it for a while,” Roland told H&H. “My mother comes from Co Down and I have dual nationality.

“I have two very good horses at the moment – Pompidou, whom I’m riding at grand prix, and Ambience IV – and I decided this was the time to do it. The Irish have been very welcoming.”

Roland has represented Great Britain at the World Young Horse Championships in Verden and the 2004 Sydney CDI.

Last year, Hickstead-based dressage rider Dane Rawlins made the same move to stand a chance of qualifying for the Olympics.

But Roland said his move was not connected to qualification.

A spokesman for HSI confirmed Roland had joined the Irish equestrian team but did not wish to comment further.

British Dressage chief executive Amanda Bond added: “We wish Roland all the best competing under the Irish flag.”

This news story was first published in the current issue of H&H (21 June 2012)

Originally published on horseandhound.co.uk