Ireland’s top show jumper Jessica Kurten has informed selectors she will not be available to compete for her country at this summer’s Olympics.
Jessica, 38, is currently ranked world number two in show jumping. She competed for Ireland in the Atlanta Olympic Games in 1996 and at Athens in 2004.
But this week she decided, together with owner Lady Georgina Forbes, to inform Ireland’s show jumping chef d’equipe, Robert Splaine that she would not be available to ride for her country.
“We already decided at the beginning of the year, that after I qualified a reasonably quick decision should be made to allow enough time for training of horse and rider for such a tough event,” said Jessica.
In a statement released this afternoon, Jessica says she and Lady Georgina decided that Castle Forbes Libertina needs a rest after a busy indoor season culminating in the World Cup final in Sweden last month and said there were “many reasons” why her other leading horse, Quibell, should not go.
Jessica says Quibell is a nervous flyer, and at 14 the stress of taking her to Hong Kong could take “a lot out of her”. The mare is also likely to be off for four weeks with an injury that ruled her out of last weekend’s Samsung Super League in Rome.
Ireland has been allocated one show jumping place at the Olympics due to Jessica’s high placing in the individual FEI rankings.
Chef d’equipe Robert Splaine said: “Obviously it is a pity that Jessica will not be available for the Olympics, as world number two she would have been one of the favourites.
“But her performances over the past year have secured us a place in the Olympics and I am now focusing on selecting a horse and rider to fill that place.”
Speaking from her home in Hünxe, Germany, Jessica said today: “To compete at the Olympics is a dream for every rider and I wish the horse-and-rider combination who flies the Irish tri-colour in Hong Kong the very best of luck.”