Irish Pony Eventing team win Bronze

  • 30 July 2023, 10:53
The GAIN Equine Nutrition Irish Pony Eventing Team won team bronze, with Carla Williamson finishing fourth individually

The GAIN Equine Nutrition Irish Pony Eventing Team claimed the team bronze medal at the FEI European Championships for Ponies in Le Mans, France.

The team, under the guidance of High Performance Manager Jane Kinsella, got the competition off to an excellent start leading the team competition after the dressage phase on a score of 88.3. However, the pressure was on with France on 90.7 and Germany on 93.3.

Saturday’s cross-country phase proved incredibly influential with several of the top combinations picking up faults. Unfortunately, one of these combinations was Co Kildare’s Ben Connors and Cornafest Fred (CP) for Ireland, a team and individual medal winner the last two years, an early 20 penalties cost them a place at the top of the individual leader board. Following cross-country Ireland were in third place in the team competition.

Making her championship debut, Co Meath’s Carla Williamson went into the final show jumping phase in pole position following an excellent clear cross-country round. Williamson was one of only seven riders to complete the cross country inside the optimum time.

An unlucky pole down in the final phase and time penalties meant Williamson finished fourth individually. Germany claimed team gold and gold, silver and bronze individually. France finished second in the team event.

Also making their championships debuts were Co Wicklow’s Ciara O’Connor and Agharanny Minstrel (CP), Co Down’s Molly O’Connor and Coolnaleen Rebel (ISH)[TIH], and Co Wexford’s Hannah Willis and Kilnaspic Lily (ISH), who finished in 12th, 15th and 16th respectively.

Speaking about the success of the Pony Eventing Team, Philip Gilligan, GAIN Equine Nutrition, Irish Country Manager, said: “It is fantastic for the Pony Eventing team to be coming home with a team  bronze medal from the FEI European Pony Championships at Le Mans, France.

“They are a very talented group of riders and we are delighted with the result. On behalf of everyone at GAIN, I would like to congratulate Jane Kinsella and the Pony Eventing team on this success.”

Horse Sport Ireland CEO, Denis Duggan, said: “Huge congratulations to Jane Kinsella and her team of pony eventers on a fantastic achievement.

“To reach the podium at a major championship is a testament to the commitment of these athletes. I must also recognise the backing they are given from their families, grooms, trainers, our vet Tim O’Hagan from EquiVet, and everyone who plays a part behind the scenes.

“Jane has done a brilliant job with these athletes – we are very proud of them and look forward to celebrating their medal win very soon.”

Kinsella added: I’m absolutely delighted and very proud that the Irish Pony Eventing team has won bronze at this year’s European Championships. I fully expected that the competition in Le Mans would be strong and technically challenging and the riders stepped up, pushed each other forward, supported each other and worked incredibly well as a team. It was a fantastic competition from day one, really exciting, and they delivered a great result.

I would like to express my gratitude to my fantastic coaching team, Caroline Powell (Cross Country) and Heather Coyle (Show Jumping). My vet, Tim O’Hagan and the grooms Rebekah McNally and Jenny McKibbin. I would also like to thank the parents and support teams. Results like these don’t happen without their support, encouragement and guidance.

“Finally, I would like to thank Horse Sport Ireland and Eventing Ireland and our wonderful sponsors Gain Equine Nutrition, and suppliers Bucas, TRM Nutrition, Uvex, Dubarry of Ireland and Berney Bros Saddle.”

The Irish Pony Eventing team are kindly support by:

Eventing Ireland

GAIN Equine Nutrition

UVEX Equestrian

Dubarry of Ireland

Berney Brothers

TRM Equine Nutrition



Cornafest Fred (CP) – 2013 gelding by Gwennic De Goariva (CP) out of Corrnafest Nora (CP). Breeder: Thomas Grimes. Owner: Kieran Connors and Michelle Nelson. Rider: Ben Connors (IRL).

Agharanny Minstrel (CP) – 2007 stallion by Castleside J.J (CP) out of Silver Mint (CP). Breeder: Sean Hynes. Owner: Noreen O’Connor and Sharon O’Connor. Rider: Ciara O’Connor (IRL).

Coolnaleen Rebel (ISH)[TIH] – 2010 gelding by Rebel Mountain (ID) out of Crested Ten Lady (IRE)(TB). Breeder: Noeleen Redmond. Owner: Paul O’Connor. Rider: Molly O’Connor (IRL).

Galco (UNK) – 2014 gelding. Owner: Janet Williamson. Rider: Carla Williamson (IRL)

Kilnaspic Lily (ISH) – 2013 mare by Woodfield Sammy (CP) out of Our Queen (UNK). Breeder: Anneline O’Malley Neary. Owner: Laura Bowe. Rider: Hannah Willis (IRL).