A TOTAL of 67 riders will compete abroad in a what promises to be a bumper weekend for Irish equestrian sport.
Starting today (Thursday), 23 Irish show jumpers will line out in the one and three-star competitions at Lummen in Belgium, with notable names like Billy Twomey, Shane Breen, Shane Carey, Trevor Coyle and Edward Doyle joining some less experienced combinations in a full programme at Belgium’s largest outdoor equestrian event.
However, the senior representation at Lummen is marginally trumped by the Irish pony presence in Fontainebleau, France, where no less than 25 riders begin competitions on Friday, heading towards Saturday’s Nations’ Cup, where Ireland will hope to achieve a hat trick victory, having already won the cup at Fontainebleau in 2011 and 2010.
A dozen more competitors will fly the Irish flag this weekend at shows in Switzerland, Portugal, France and Italy, with one Endurance rider, Helen McFarland, representing her country in the two-star event at Haywood Oaks in England.
Much attention will also be focused this weekend on the Irish para equestrian squad at Moorsele in Belgium, where the Nations’ Cup take place on Friday, with two riders also taking part in the individual competitions.