SALLY CORSCADDEN: My secret to team success

  • 1 May 2019, 11:04

Sally Corscadden’s winning formula – have the right people

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.

The Irish eventing team had unprecedented success in 2018. We’ve never had so many wins at international level, and we have never had such strong performances at 4* level. At all the major 4* events in Europe in 2018 (Badminton, Luhmühlen and Burghley) we had at least four Irish riders placing in the top 10.

Ginny Elliott really raised the bar. Irish riders started competing much more regularly at 4* star level under her tenure. Sport Ireland’s involvement has been hugely beneficial too, they are getting the riders to think more about performance planning and this has certainly led to a boost in performance.

In terms of what I have brought to the table, this probably annoys the riders but, it’s my attention to detail – not leaving anything to chance, trying to have everything in place to make our goals achievable. As a coach, I’ve come to realise that equestrian sport, and eventing specifically, is quite traditional and focuses heavily on training the horse. But it’s not all about the horse – it’s all about the people. And so that’s the biggest thing for me, that’s my recipe for success – it’s about having the right people.


As Horse Sport Ireland Eventing High-Performance Director, a big part of my role is the work I do with Sport Ireland and the Olympic Federation on strategy. I had to look at every aspect of our system here within Horse Sport Ireland and I think we have a very effective strategy in place.

Going forward I plan to do workshops with all the eventing High-Performance Managers so that we can link together better and ultimately have the riders think not just about a specific championship that happens each year, but about the bigger picture and how they can have a career as a senior athlete and represent their country at senior level.

My colleague Aileen Cartwright, who is part of the Sports Department at Horse Sport Ireland, coordinates and looks after all the administration to do with the sport of eventing – having one dedicated person ensures continuity throughout the programmes.

I have also worked to strengthen the relationship with Eventing Ireland and they have been a great help, particularly with our fundraising efforts. They are very important because they organise all national competitions and generously support the high-performance programmes.  My job is to look after stakeholders and always be reviewing what we are doing, not just for senior athletes, but from ponies the whole way through to senior.


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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