Irish rider receives surprise news via text at Winter Equestrian Festival

  • Ireland’s Paul O’Shea heard by text yesterday at the Winter Equestrian Festival that he had qualified for the FEI Jumping World Cup in Leipzig in April and he was as surprised as anyone.   

    “I actually found out today that I’ve qualified for the World Cup Finals” he said in a phone call yesterday evening. “That was a surprise I didn’t think I had enough [points]. It wasn’t really a goal. I did three of the qualifiers alright and I got an email from the Federation and my wife sent a text.”

    Having since spoken to the Imerald syndicate of owners, there is a question mark over whether or not Paul and Imerald Van t’ Voorhoof will compete. “We’re going to have to think about if we’re going to want to do that or not,” Paul said.

    Meantime the Winter Equestrian Festival continues on into week nine with the highlight being Saturday Night Lights and the FEI $406,000 CSI 5* Douglas Elliman Grand Prix

    Paul rode Imerald Van ‘t Voorhof in a warm-up today in the 1m40, prior to the WEF class to qualify on Thursday for Saturday night.

    “Normally at the start of the week, he [Imerald Van t’ Voorhoof] can be very fresh and he’s enough experience and scope to go straight into the big class. But if the time is tight, if he’s fresh and not rideable then it’s better that he’s relaxed so that I can ride on and get inside the time easily. But if I jump the first fence in the qualifier and he’s a bit fresh then I have to take my time to organise him. It’s better just to get the edge off the first day.”

    The plan went well, with the 14-year old bay gelding letting off steam with a couple of bucks as they jumped round a few fences before retiring. “Once he’s had that out of his system, I’m happy,” said Paul.

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