Young star Bertram Allen made a trip back to his native Ireland yesterday (Monday, 8 February) having been named The Irish Field showjumper of the year.
It was the second year running the talented Irishman has picked up the prestigious jumping award at the ceremony held in Co Kildare.
The Wexford-born rider, who is now based in Hünxe, Germany, has enjoyed global success over the past year. His 2015 achievements included third in the World Cup final in Las Vegas riding the popular mare Molly Malone V. He followed this by becoming the youngest rider to win a Global Champions Tour (GCT) grand prix when partnering the experienced Romanov in Paris in July.
The 20-year-old is currently ranked ninth in the Longines FEI world showjumping rankings.
However, his personal highlight from last year came on home turf, when he helped the Irish senior team to victory in the Aga Khan Nations Cup at Dublin Horse Show in August.
“It’s always nice to get the recognition at home. It was an incredible year. The highlight for me was definitely the Aga Khan win,” said Bertram.
He has also been nominated for an FEI rising star award, but more impressively he is on track to earn his country an individual spot at this year’s Rio Olympics — after a controversial European Championships, where Ireland failed to qualify a team.
The country lost out to Spain by just 0.38 faults, after Cian O’Connor claimed his mount Good Luck was distracted by a member of the arena party.
“Hopefully myself and Denis [Lynch] are going to win two qualifying spots for Rio, he’s going really well too, so that’s going to be the big goal for this year. The Olympics is the pinnacle of any sportsman’s career — it’s the one that everyone wants,” he added.
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“This year is going to be a very busy one and we are probably looking at doing four nations cup events. I’ll have to sit down with Robert Splaine [the Irish chef d’equipe] and look at the schedule nearer the time.
“It’s a matter of keeping the horses fresh and keeping yourself fresh as well. It’s a huge team effort from everyone involved.
“You have to have talent, focus and keep the horses and yourself healthy and happy,” he added.