The London Olympics of 2012 were the most successful ever for Irish equestrian sport.
The centre point of the success was Cian O’Connor’s Bronze medal and Horse Sport Ireland Chairman Joe Walsh has said that the rider had once again demonstrated his ability to deliver on the world stage.
“His performance was phenomenal and a fantastic boost for Irish Show Jumping and the Irish Sport Horse Industry,” he said.
“Our team finishing fifth in Eventing along with individual seventh for Aoife Clarke makes this Ireland’s most successful Equestrian Olympics ever and demonstrates that High Performance Structures introduced by HSI are working,” he said.
“With our pony eventers (under 16) winning team gold and individual gold and bronze at the recent European Championships along with show jumping success in the Hickstead Nations Cup and Hickstead Derby and our Under 21 Eventers winning the European silver medal at the weekend, it has been a dream few weeks for Irish equestrian sport,” he said.
“In addition Natalya Coyle delivered a super result in Olympic Modern Pentathlon by finishing ninth. Pentathlon Ireland are affiliated to HSI and Natalya Coyle got involved in Modern Pentathlon through the Pony Club Tetrathlon,” he said.
“I want thank all our team managers and coaches as well as all those volunteers who put so much effort into developing the sport through our affiliate bodies.
“Having proper structures in place is critical to achieving success and having parties pulling together is the only way to achieve your goals. To this end the Irish Sports Council have been extremely helpful. They have been steadfast supporters of equestrian sport through good and bad times. In the lead up to the games the OCI have worked day and night to support our athletes,” he said.
“Some equestrian people in Ireland are obsessed with what ‘other countries’ are doing but we should be proud of what we have achieved. Our reputation around the world as a horse loving nation is unsurpassed. It was great to be in London this week to savour the success and how well it was received internationally.
“To cap it all we had four Irish Sport Horses in the top 10 in eventing and two in the top 20 in show jumping. We promoted this very heavily at the Games and there was a huge awareness of the success of Irish Sport Horses at the Games.
“I would also like to mention the Irish officials Kate Horgan, Gillian Kyle, Charles Maudlin and Alan Wade who presided at the games and the Mossvale arena party. There was a huge Irish presence there and it fantastic to see it. If there was ever a place to deliver results it was in London,” Walsh said.