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Ireland to take six eventers to WEG

September 2, 2010

Horse Sport Ireland's eventing High Performance Manager Ginny Elliot has named six combinations to represent Ireland at the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky later this month.

Mark Kyle, pictured on Durlas Ari at Blair Castle at the weekend. © Mike Bain

Originally it had been intended to send five combinations to the games, with the five horses travelling in "wide stalls" on the flight. But the space on the plane was able to be re-configured to have three horses travelling in single stalls and three in wide stalls.

"I am delighted that we can bring six riders," Elliot said.

"While flying the horses to the USA is hugely expensive and bringing five horses did provide one team reserve, it was still a concern as it is so easy for horses to pick up an injury or be unwell on the day of the competition. Bringing six gives us that bit more breathing space.

"It also means that six riders will gain the experience of competing at World Championships which is invaluable."

She explained that the six selected combinations had all performed at four star level this season and had performed solidly since.

"All six combinations competed in the advanced competition at Highclere Castle on Monday, where dressage coach Ferdi Eilberg and show jumping coach Michael Quirke were also in attendance and we were pleased with their performances there," she said.

"Team vet Marcus Swail assessed them at the cross country finish line and we examined all the horses again on Tuesday morning and they were in good shape."

There will be a further three days of team training starting on September 13, following which the horses will leave for Liege in Belguim to board the plane for Kentucky on September 17, with the competition commencing on September 30.

Elliot concluded by emphasising how important it was for the team to secure Olympic qualification at the World Equestrian Games by finishing in the top five, excluding Olympic hosts Great Britain.

"While the World Equestrian Games are hugely important in their own right they also represent the first chance to secure Olympic qualification and it would be great if we could achieve this. London 2012 represents a huge opportunity for Ireland with no travel burden on our horses and climatic conditions in our favour," she said.



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