Let’s hear it for the Irish breeders and producers. I’m unashamedly whooping and hollering this week with the marvellous news that three out of four horses representing the USA eventing team for the 2024 Olympics are Irish Sport Horses. That’s such an incredible achievement and truly illustrates the ambition and reach of today’s breeders and producers here in Ireland.

Off the Record (ISH) was bred by Peter G Brady and is now competing with Will Coleman and owned by the Booth family; Cooley Nutcracker (ISH) was bred by Gary Doherty, produced at Cooley Farm and is competing with Liz Halliday Sharp; and HSH Blake (ISH) was bred by Justin Burke, produced by Mary Mangan and Kelly Hutchinson and is now competing with Caroline Pamukcu.

Olympic fever is building, and this wonderful achievement offers our community so much to be proud of. A medal for an Irish-bred horse is as much to be shouted about as the ones won by our talented Irish riders. My heart rate is already up at the very thought of Irish glory at Versailles!

Irish Field Awards, Irish Field Dressage Rider of the Year Abigail Lyle. \ Lorraine O'Sullivan

Olympic Federation

Other Olympic news to make us all smile is that dressage high performance director Anne Marie Dunphy has chosen the combination of Co Down’s Abigail Lyle and Giraldo for consideration by the Olympic Federation of Ireland (OFI) to represent Team Ireland in Individual Dressage at the Games in Paris.

Abigail burst onto the international dressage scene in just 2022 and has shone ever since. After convincing her non-horsey parents to buy her a horse following her GSCEs, this talented dressage rider who began her riding career on a little thoroughbred, now heads to the Olympics.

The individual reserves for the competition which starts on 30 July are Anna Merveldt with Esporim and Judy Reynolds with Rockman Royal NG.

Farm workshop

Teagasc are hosting a farm workshop on the topic of pasture management for equines tomorrow (Friday, 14 June) at Kenilworth House Stud, Clonmel, Co Tipperary (10am to 1.30pm). Teagasc equine, countryside management and sustainability specialists will all be joined by the stud farm hosts and by Irish Equine Centre nutrition and environment specialists.

Another helpful event is being held on Friday, 21 June at 6.30pm at Glenamaddy Equestrian Centre. Up for discussion and demonstration is the role of equine linear scoring evaluation systems for the market and for sport. Speakers include Irish Horse Centre (IHC) inspectors as well as the IHC and Mayo Roscommon Breeders Group.

Chatting to one of the organisers, Patrick Hester, said: “It is a practical event with real-time evaluation and feedback of foals and young horses. With a predicted 250 foals and young horses to be evaluated in 2024, breeders can gain insights to the trials and tribulations of the IHC automated Foal and Young Horse Evaluation system which aims to be clear and transparent as an industry standard.”