The Irish Equestrian Rio invasion begins!

  • 27 July 2016, 16:12

After four years of preparation, Team Ireland Equestrian has begun it’s journey to Rio for the 2016 Olympic Games. Ireland have qualified a full Eventing team of four riders for the Games. The Event team finished fifth at London 2012 and the goal for 2016 is try and secure an Olympic team medal in Eventing for the first time since equestrian sport became part of the Olympics in 1912.

The task of getting five horses, their equipment and support staff to Rio is not an easy one. The arrangements for the week are set out below. Fans can follow the progress of the horses, support staff, grooms and athletes as they undertake the journey to Rio on the Team Ireland Equestrian Facebook and twitter pages.


Equestrian Team Leader Triona Connors, Horse Sport Ireland’s Equestrian Sport Manager, has now arrived in Rio.

Irish Eventing team Rio

Pre departure camp
The Eventing squad (pictured above) have gathered for final training in Waresley Park Stud, Cambridgeshire in the UK. Dressage coach Ian Woodhead and Show Jumping coach Comdt. Gerry Flynn, will be completing some final training with the riders before departure for Rio. Team Sports Psychologist Niamh Fitzpatrick is also in attendance for the final preparations.

Final Horse vetting
Team Vet Hugh Suffern arrived on Tuesday night along with Avalon Everett, the Senior Eventing High Performance Administrator. All horses will be inspected by Hugh Suffern this afternoon (Wednesday), to ensure they are fit to travel. Team Farrier Nigel Perrott will also be in attendance ensuring all horses feet are in order and prepared for travel on the aircraft.

Team Manager and Grooms depart
This afternoon (Wednesday), Eventing Team Manager Nick Turner and the five Irish grooms will leave for Rio from London Heathrow, to arrive at the Olympic venue before the horses are due to arrive on Friday evening.

Equipment and feed leaves for Rio
On Thursday morning, 2.5 tonnes of equipment, feed and forage will be collected from Waresley Park Stud and transported to Stansted Airport where it will be loaded onto an Emirates cargo flight. Prior to departure a full equipment and tack box check will be completed to ensure all items are labelled and listed to try and ensure they are processed quickly on arrival at Brazilian Customs. All equipment is due to the clear customs in Rio and be at the Equestrian venue in Deodora, Brazil before the horses arrive.

Horses fly to Rio
On Friday at 7am, the horses will depart the Rio Exit camp in Waresley Park Stud and head to Stansted airport where they will board the Olympic flight to Rio. The flight is overseen by horse Transport experts Peden Bloodstock and horses from other countries will also be on specifically chartered flight.
Team Ireland Equestrian Vet Hugh Suffern will accompany the horses on the flight to Rio.

Athletes depart for Rio
On Friday at 5pm, five Irish squad athletes will fly from Heathrow airport to Frankfurt, connecting to Rio. The horses are due to land in Rio at 3.20pm local time on Friday and will travel by road to arrive at the venue in Deodora where they will be reunited with their grooms and later with their athletes.

Opening ceremony
The Olympic Games Opening Ceremony takes place on the night of August 5th.

Eventing Competition dates
The Eventing competition begins with Dressage on Saturday August 6th and Sunday August 7th, Cross Country on Monday, August 8th and the decisive Show Jumping Phase on Tuesday, August 9th.

Celebrate our involvement
Irish fans can celebrate Ireland’s equestrian involvement at the Olympics during Jumping in the City in Shelbourne Park on Friday August 5th, with a Rio-style carnival atmosphere the night before our Eventers start competing at Rio 2016.

The Irish Eventing Team consists of:

Clare Abbott with Europrince (ISH), 2003 chestnut gelding by Lougheries Quiet Man (UNK) out of Miss Tullydraw. (UNK). Breeder & Owner: Dr Cormac McKay. Groom: Stephanie Abbott

Jonty Evans with Cooley Rorke’s Drift (ISH), 2006 gelding by Courage II out of Doon-A-Ree-Lass, by Rachelle Comet. Breeder: William McCarrison Owner: Fiona Elliot & Jonty Evans. Groom: Jane Felton

Mark Kyle with Jemilla, (SHBGB). 2006 bay mare by Mill Law out of Jessica XIX by Louella Moschallah. Owner: Shelagh & Richard Morley. Groom: Amy Kisby

Padraig McCarthy with Simon Porloe (PZHK) 2000 bay gelding by Sofix out of Babilonia by Czubaryk. Owner: Christopher & Sarita. Groom: Gemma Fuller

Travelling Reserve: Camilla Speirs with Portersize Just A Jiff (ISH) 2000 bay gelding by Crosskeys Rebel (CP) out of Mizen Talent (ISH), by Mizen Melody (TB). Breeder: Philip GL White, Co. Derry. Owner: Bridget & Camilla Speirs. Groom: Bridget Speirs

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