‘Beyond my wildest dreams’: Ireland reveals its one Olympic dressage rider for Paris 2024

  • Abi Lyle has been named as Ireland’s individual Paris 2024 Olympic dressage contender aboard her 2022 World Championship ride Giraldo (“Arty”).

    Abi and the 13-year-old gelding, a Dutch warmblood (Harmony’s Rousseau x Flemmingh) who she has produced from a young horse, have scored top-10 placings at the London International Horse Show.

    This season, their results include finishing third in the grand prix and winning the freestyle at Addington CDI3*, and bagging fifth place in the Le Mans CDI4* freestyle last week. Gloucestershire-based Abi owns “Arty” with Caroline Clarry.

    Abi said that it is “so hard to put into words what this means”, thanking all those who have been a part of this journey.

    “When I moved to England in 2009 my ultimate goal was to do a PSG [prix st georges]. So to say that [the] Olympics was beyond my wildest dreams is a teeny understatement!” she said.

    “So many people have led me, propped me up, walked beside me and contributed in so many ways to get to this. There’s so many to thank! But the first and most important to thank is Arty.

    “Arty, you have no idea what you’ve done for me and I’ll spend the rest of our lives making sure you feel like the most loved horse in the world and that you never ever want for anything.”

    The two named reserves are Anna Merveldt with Esporim, a 15-year-old Lusitano owned by Mario Greco and Giovanna Mazza, and Judy Reynolds on the 14-year-old Rock Forever son Rockman Royal NG, who is owned by BG J Hinnemann and Next Generation Dressurpferde.

    Horse Sport Ireland’s (HSI) dressage high performance director Anne Marie Dunphy said it is “a huge honour and privilege for Irish dressage to be represented at the Paris Olympic Games”.

    “We are very fortunate to have three such accomplished athletes to choose from and I would like to congratulate them, the owners of the horses and their support teams on their hard work and commitment to the HSI High Performance Programme throughout the selection process.

    “I would like to thank the Irish dressage community as a whole, the Olympic Federation of Ireland, Sport Ireland, Dressage Ireland and Horse Sport Ireland in particular for their continuing support.”

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