European showjumping champions Ireland have named the squad aiming to retain the title — and secure Olympic qualification.
Horse Sport Ireland has announced the combinations that will travel to Rotterdam for the European Championships, which run from 19 to 25 August:
Darragh Kenny with Ann Thompson’s Balou du Reventon
Peter Moloney with team Harmony’s Chianti’s Champion
Cian O’Connor with Ronnoco Jump’s PSG Final
Paul O’Shea with Machu Picchu Partners’ Skara Glen’s Machu Picchu
Shane Sweetnam with Seabrook’s Alejandro
Cian and Shane were part of the 2017 gold medal-winning European squad in Gothenburg, Sweden.
Irish showjumping manager Rodrigo Pessoa is “hopeful” of securing one of the three Olympic team places on offer but knows it promises to be a “hard-fought battle”.
“We are aware of the importance of this event. This is what we have been waiting for now for a while. We have prolonged this by not qualifying last year so this is now our chance to do it,” he said.
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‘The bar in European eventing is set very high, so we are sending experienced combinations to represent Team Ireland at
‘The European Championships are absolutely crucial if we are to qualify for the Olympic Games in Tokyo’
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“We are very respectful of the nations we are competing against and we will be very focused on obtaining our qualification and fighting for a team medal.”
The first round of the team competition will take place on 22 August, with the team medals and three Olympic qualification places decided on 23 August.
Following the “hugely important” Europeans, a final Olympic qualifying opportunity will be on offer at the FEI Nations Cup World Final in Barcelona in October.
In this week’s magazine out on Thursday 1 August 2019, check out our full report from the Royal International Horse Show at Hickstead, including all the showing and showjumping action, plus expert comments and analysis. Also, read all about Mark Todd hanging up his eventing boots (again), and don’t miss this week’s ‘Vet clinic’ — what to expect from your ex-racehorse’s health and behaviour. We also investigate the risk of buying horses wrapped up in fraud, and read reports from across the disciplines, including eventing, racing, polo and more.
For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.