Ireland has won the bid to host next summer’s European Pony Championships (dressage, eventing and showjumping). The championships will be held at Green Glens Arena, Millstreet, Co Cork, more famous as a showjumping venue that has hosted nine World Cups qualifiers.
But the site has past form. It hosted the pony Europeans in 1989, as well as three other junior and young rider championships during the 1980s and 1990s. There are 1,200 stables on site, eight all-weather arenas, eight warm-ups and three indoor arenas, set in 370 acres.
But there will be big changes for those who remember the 1989 competition. 25 years on the cross-country track will cover a much larger area.
“We’ve purchased some land from the Drishane Castle estate and the track runs over undulating parkland,” said Millstreet director Thomas Duggan. “We are very excited to be bestowed the privilege of hosting the championships and we’re aiming to make it a terrific event.”
At the time Millstreet put in a bid, competing against Poland’s Dzonkow and Austria’s Wiener Neustadt, there was no cross-country course. However, they started building regardless of the outcome.
“Mike Etherington-Smith is our designer and the course is underway so it will be ready in good time,” said Mr Duggan.
Mark McGowan will be the course designer for the showjumping.
British pony team coach Alan Fazakerley will be returning to the venue at which he competed as a junior in 1980.
“I have fond memories from there as it was one of my first big shows,” he said. “I’m sure the facilities are excellent and they’ll put on a good championships.”