SALLY CORSCADDEN: Irish athletes – Badminton preview

  • 1 May 2019, 11:13

World silver medallists Padraig McCarthy and Mr Chunky will be competing at this week’s Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials

As part of Horse Sport Ireland’s new blog, STABLE TALK, Horse Sport Ireland Eventing High-Performance Director, Sally Corscadden gives readers an insight into the sport of eventing and her role and responsibilities as Director.

Since I started managing the Irish senior eventing team we have had, on average, 10 or 11 Irish riders competing at Badminton and it can be really full-on. This year we have six Irish riders competing which makes this year a bit more manageable.

Padraig McCarthy, Joseph Murphy, Clare Abbott, Michael Ryan, Ciaran Glynn and Jim Newsam are all very experienced, they’ve all been around Badminton before so they know how to prepare their horses and thankfully the weather this spring has been much better than last year so they’ve managed to give their horses a few good runs beforehand.

Clare Abbott and Euro Prince, Ciaran Glynn and November Night, Jim Newsam and Magennis all competed in the CCI 4*-S at Ballendenisk International the weekend before last with Clare and Euro Prince finishing best of the Irish in third place. Michael Ryan gave Dunlough Striker a run in the CCI 3*- S and Padraig McCarthy had Mr Chunky at Burnham Market.


There is a lot more expectation around Padraig and Mr Chunky now that they are world silver medallists. Last year at Badminton nobody was expecting them to finish in the top 10. Padraig knew himself that he wanted to be competitive, but he was under the radar. This year he will be one of the favourites and he will have a following, but he is very much a professional and he will be able to focus on the job at hand.

Last month at Belton Padraig just decided that the ground was a little bit rough coming home so he decided to use that event as a schooling exercise and pulled up to save the horse. It doesn’t suit Mr Chunky to go quick around one day events because he can get very strong and that wouldn’t be helpful in the lead up to Badminton.

The beauty of Badminton is that there are good long gallops that will allow Mr Chunky to use his stride. Padraig trains on Dartmoore and Mr Chunky was one of the fittest horse’s last year, he finished incredibly well and I am confident that he will do so again this year. (If you haven’t already done so be sure to follow Padraig on Instagram for exclusive photos and videos of the horses at MGH Sport Horses).


Clare Abbott competing on Euro Prince at Tattersalls International Horse Trials (Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile)

Things didn’t quite work out for Clare Abbott last year, she was going so fantastically well at Badminton and then had a fall at the bullfinch close to home, after completing almost all of the difficult fences. Euro Prince just picked up a small injury from the fall, but he is in great form now and put in a superb performance at Ballendenisk International to finish third. He is 100% and has been training really well.

Clare wants to prove herself at Badminton this year, the horse has been around Badminton and Burghley several times – he’s a proper five-star horse, that’s where he is in his element.


Jim Newsam’s horse Magennis just lost his form last spring but finished out last season very strong when he won in Ballindenisk. Joseph Murphy’s horse Sportsfield Othello is a proper five-star warrior, he has been around Badminton and Burghley several times, I know he is a year older, but you would still expect him to make nothing of the cross country – he’s got all that experience and that’s his strength.

This is Ciaran Glynn’s third time going to Badminton with November Night and he’s been to Burghley too, they had a very good run around Burghley last year so Ciaran’s aim is to be very competitive. He feels there is no fence that November Night can’t jump.

Mike Ryan and Dunlough Striker have been accepted off the wait list. This horse is experienced and put in a good performance at Burghley last year. Mike knows he has to try and be a closer to the optimum time. The horse tends to get quite strong and so it’s really about managing the balance of letting the horse go quicker without losing control.


Grant Wilson new Show Jumping coach to the Irish Eventing Team

We’ve had some good quality training in the lead up to Badminton. New Zealand Olympian, Andrew Nicholson was in Ireland recently to do some cross country training with the Irish athletes and he brought some fresh insights and ideas.

Grant Wilson, our newly-appointed show jumping coach, has completed his initial training sessions and was really well received by our riders. Grant in as International Show Jumper, but he has worked with a lot of eventers already so he understands how to combine the show jumping training system with the cross country.

Everyone is very happy with the training and Grant will be at Badminton to assist the riders, as will our full support team of Marcus Swail (team vet), Ian Woodhead (dressage coach), Nigel Perrott (farrier), Davide Focardi (equine physio) and Clare-Maria Currie (rider physio).

I’ll be there with my selectors hat on so here’s hoping for some good results.


Horse Sport Ireland Eventing High-Performance Director



Sally Corscadden was born in Leicestershire and moved to Ireland in 1988, where she met her husband Brendan and set up the now well-known and highly-regarded equestrian training facility that is Grange Farm.

Like many young equestrian enthusiasts, growing up Sally was an active member of the Pony Club, actively participating in everything from mounted games to hunter trials. She also enjoyed foxhunting and followed one of the UK’s most famous hunting packs, the Quorn Hunt of which her father was a member. It wasn’t until the age of 18 that Sally took up the sport of eventing.

Throughout her career as an international rider, Sally won events such as the CIC 3* at Thirlestane Castle, the final trial for the British and Irish European team in 1993, she also recorded wins in CCI’s at Ballindenisk and Blarney. At the 1993 European Championships in Achselschwang, Germany Sally was on the bronze medal-winning team and also placed individual 12th. Sally competed at the 1994 World Equestrian Games in the Hague, Netherlands where her team finished fifth.

Sally’s coaching career began shortly after the 1994 World Equestrian Games, when she became High Performance Coach to the Irish Junior Eventing Team who went on to win the team silver medal at the 1995 Junior European Championships in Gotland, Sweden. Sally also coached the Irish junior and pony teams that won team gold and team bronze at the European Championships in  2008 and 2015 respectively.

Sally became High Performance Manager and Chef d’Equipe of the Irish Young Rider Squad in 2011 and in her first year Irish riders claimed the Team Silver Medal and Individual Bronze Medal at the Young Rider European Championships at Blair Castle, Scotland.

Sally is now the Eventing High-Performance Director at Horse Sport Ireland and manages the Senior Irish Eventing Team who won team and individual silver at the 2018 World Equestrian Games in Tryon, North Carolina and became the first Irish sports team to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.



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