Despite previous announcements that only five Irish eventing combinations would be flying out to Kentucky to contest the FEI Alltech World Equestrian Games, Irish equestrian performance manager Ginny Elliot has confirmed that a sixth team member will go.

According to Horse Sport Ireland, originally there was only room for five horses to be flown to America as all of the horses were to travel in wide stalls on the flight.

But after discussions between the equestrian management team and riders, the space on the plane has been re-configured to allow three horses to travel in single stalls with three in wide stalls.

“I am delighted that we can bring six riders,” said Ginny Elliot.

“While flying the horses to the USA is hugely expensive, and bringing five horses did provide one team reserve, it was still a concern as it is so easy for horses to pick up an injury or be unwell on the day of the competition.

Taking six gives us that bit more breathing space. It also means that six riders will gain the experience of competing at World Championships which is invaluable.”

The six eventing combinations that will represent Ireland at the World Equestrian Games are:

  • Mark Kyle with Step in Time
  • Liz Power on Kilpatrick River
  • Michael Ryan riding Ballylynch Adventure
  • Patricia Ryan and Fernhill Clover Mist
  • Camilla Speirs with Portersize Just a Jiff
  • Sam Watson on Horseware Bushman

The non-travelling reserves are Jayne Doherty with The Only One and Capt. Geoff Curran on The Jump Jet.

The squad will now undertake a further three days of team training, starting on 13 September, after which the horses will leave for Liege in Belguim to board the plane for Kentucky on 17 September.

Qualification for the London Olympics will be at the forefront of the Irish team’s plans in Kentucky.

“While the World Equestrian Games are hugely important in their own right, they also represent the first chance to secure Olympic qualification and it would be great if we could achieve this,” explains Ginny. “London 2012 represents a huge opportunity for Ireland with no travel burden on our horses and climatic conditions in our favour.”