The Equestrian Federation of Ireland has elected its first ever female president, Avril Doyle MEP

Ms Doyle, who was for three years chairperson of Eventing Ireland, and who has spent more than 40 years of her life involved in equestrian sport, succeeded Lewis Lowry, from Co Down, who had held the position of president for five years.

Ms Doyle was proposed by Tony Hurley of the Show Jumping Association of Ireland, and seconded by Alice Mernagh of the Irish Pony Club.

In her inaugural address as president, Ms Doyle said: “In my opinion, the best chance of an Olympic medal for Ireland in 2004 will come from the equestrian sport sector. But we will need commitment and discipline from our senior riders as a quid pro quo for our investment in this project.

She added: ” I will not be satisfied until we match in rider medal-winning rankings what we have already achieved in breeding rankings. I believe we have the raw talent, but it is not yet achieving its full potential.”

At the same meeting, Dermot Forde was elected as the EFI’s treasurer, replacing the outgoing office holder, Dave Errity, while Lewis Lowry was elected as vice-president after handing over the presidency to his successor, Avril Doyle.