Golden day for Irish Show Jumping as GAIN Pony team crowned European Champions

  • 28 July 2017, 21:17

An incredible performance from the GAIN Irish Pony (U16) Show Jumping team has seen them crowned the new European Champions tonight (Friday), after they claimed the Gold Medal in dramatic fashion at the FEI European Pony Championships at Kaposvár in Hungary.

Gary Marshall’s team of  Wexford’s Harry Allen (Cassandra van het Roelhof), Cork’s Abbie Sweetnam (Dynamite Spartacus (ISH), Mayo’s Ciaran Nallon (Rextor d’Or), and Athlone’s Kate Derwin (Cul Ban Mistress (CP) finished on a total of just four faults after three tough rounds of jumping.

Ireland were in fifth place after Thursday’s opening round of jumping on four faults, with Britain and France out in front on a clean scorecard. However the Irish fought back over two demanding rounds of jumping on Friday and incredibly didn’t add another fault to finish the competition on just four faults to claim the Gold Medal.

Britain took the Silver Medal on eight faults with Netherlands finishing in the Bronze Medal position on 10 faults. Ten of Europe’s top Pony teams took part with France finishing fourth, Sweden fifth and Germany in sixth.

The Irish Gold medal winning show jumping team the 2017 European Pony Championships, Kaposvar, Hungary. 28-07-17

An thrilled Irish Pony Show Jumping Team Manager Gary Marshall said:

“These kids were unbelievable. I told them at the start of this week that their name was on this Gold Medal, this was their time but they had to fight for it to make it happen. It was very tight throughout the competition but they stuck to their guns. I always knew they were mentally strong, I told them they were the best five riders in Europe and they believed in themselves. Our fifth man Seamus Hughes Kennedy was here throughout the competition supporting his team mates and he and along with our other riders have a great chance to add individual medals on Sunday.”

Gary Marshall continued,
“This win is down to the Course Builders, Equestrian Centres, Coaches and Vets at home in Ireland. They deserve an incredible amount of credit for their role in preparing these riders for when they go abroad.  I also want to thank those running the HSI High Performance Programme and the staff at Horse Sport Ireland who backed me to do what we needed to do behind the scenes.”

Horse Sport Ireland interim Chairman Jim Beecher said:
“On behalf of Horse Sport Ireland I would like to congratulate our brilliant Pony team on a fantastic performance in winning the European Gold Medal. I also want to pay tribute to our Pony Show Jumping team manager Gary Marshall, the HSI high performance committee and our sponsors, suppliers and supporters. I would especially like to mention the parents of these young riders and the owners of their ponies who play such a vital role and show such huge commitment.

The Irish Gold medal winning show jumping team the 2017 European Pony Championships, Kaposvar, Hungary (Photo: Helen Revington/Focus On Horses)

Mary Delaney, head of sales at GAIN Equine Nutrition added:

“This is an amazing achievement for the Team Ireland Equestrian Pony Show Jumping team. A European Gold Medal is a superb result and Gain Equine Nutrition are honoured to be their partners.”

Irish Pony Show Jumping riders have another chance of glory in Sunday’s individual final, with Harry Allen, Kate Derwin and Seamus Hughes Kennedy all inside the top 10 heading into the deciding round.

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