Kill Equestrian Centre in County Kildare has undergone a total refurbishment in anticipation of the Special Olympics World Summer Games, which take place in Ireland from 22 to 29June.

As 138 athletes from 22 delegations make their final preparations for the equestrian event, the finishing touches are being added to the purpose-built centre where equitation, working trails, dressage, prix caprilli competitions and mounted games will be held.

The Special Olympics is a worldwide sports movement for children and adults with a learning or intellectual disability. Founded over 30 years ago, it is now active in more than 160 countries.

This is the first time that the Special Olympics World Games have been held outside the United States and will be the largest sporting and cultural event to have been held in Ireland.

The equestrian events of the Special Olympics will mark the opening of the new complex. The facilities now include three indoor arenas, stabling for 66 horses, offices, solariums, a bar and restaurant, and seating for more than 700 spectators under one roof. In addition there are two new outdoor arenas and further stabling on the 40- acre site.

Over the past two years, hundreds of horses have been inspected in order to select the most suitable mounts for the riders.

“We are very grateful that people have offered their horses and we now have 100 four-legged volunteers,” says Kill proprietor Fintan Flanelly Jnr.

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