IRELAND is holding its first international senior dressage competition at Cavan Equestrian Centre, Co Cavan, from 30 April-4 May next year.

Robert McCormick, chairman of Dressage Ireland and director of Cavan CDI***, told H&H: “This event takes dressage in Ireland to a new level and it gives our home-grown riders at small tour and big tour the opportunity to compete internationally on home soil for the first time.”

Cavan CDI*** will run in conjunction with a dressage festival, incorporating the under-21s international friendly that used to take place at Necarne, in Co Fermanagh.

“We’ll have a captive audience for the senior international with the young riders here and it will be a great chance for them and others to watch top competitors,” added McCormick.

Cavan Equestrian Centre has undergone a €5million revamp and now features three indoor schools and 400 stables.

McCormick attended Hickstead and Frys CDIs this year to encourage British-based international riders to attend the Cavan event.

“We’re trying to do a special deal with the ferry companies,” he said. “We want to encourage as many riders as possible to come over and enjoy the Irish hospitality. We’re determined to make this a great event.”

Irish national dressage champion and international competitor Yvette Truesdale said: “Having the international is a fantastic development. A lot of people will get to see international dressage who ordinarily wouldn’t, and that should encourage them to get involved in the sport.

“Dressage in Ireland has grown a lot over the past few years; the national classes are full. Dressage Ireland has done a lot to take it forward and it’s great they’ve now taken on this big project of the international.”

This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (23 October, ’08)