Irish dressage rider Judy Reynolds has set a new international grand prix freestyle record for her nation.
Paired with 13-year-old Jazz gelding Vancouver K (“JP”), Judy achieved a score of 77.425% at the Reem Acra five-star World Cup qualifier in Lyon, France on Friday (30 October).
This is the highest score ever recorded by an Irish competitor in an international grand prix freestyle.
Judy smashed her own record that she set in April in Hagen, Germany, where she scored 75.775%.
“We were hoping for a top five finish and the way the scores were going we knew we had to do something special,” said Judy, who is based in Germany. “To break the record by that much was fantastic.”
The score earned Judy fifth place in the World Cup qualifier. The class was won by European Championships bronze-medallist Beatriz Salat-Ferrer of Spain with Delgado, who scored 82.875%.
“JP’s been a very, very challenging horse to train,” she told H&H in April. “When I tried him as a six-year-old he seemed like nothing special, but he was quite expressive and I liked him.”
With help from her trainer Johann Hinnemann, Judy managed to teach JP all the movements for grand prix.
“Everything took a long time; the changes took a year,” she said. “Sometimes he’d spin round, sometimes he’d run backwards — anything.
“The pirouettes were also a nightmare to teach and piaffe was a disaster. If he thought he couldn’t do something he’d panic and ‘go blind’ — God help anyone in the arena with us.
“People asked why I persevered, but once JP understands something, it’s in there forever.”
The pair will be contending the World Cup qualifier in Salzburg, Austria, next month (3-6 December).