JOHN TYNAN: Reynolds continues on the up and up in dressage world

“I know there is room for improvement and I am confident I can achieve it.”

The words of dressage rider Judy Reynolds shows she has no intention of resting on her laurels, even after another notable weekend saw her win the $75,000 freestyle at the four-star show in Central Park, New York, with Vancouver K, having the previous night won the US Open Grand Prix.

“We had a four-star win in June in Austria, but to have two wins on one weekend is something we haven’t done before, so it was big in that sense,” said Reynolds, who this weekend lines out in the World Cup show in Pennsylvania, where she is hoping she can build on the momentum of her Olympic performances that saw her finish 18th. The fact she had mixed feelings in Rio, believing she deserved better, indicates a single-minded ambition to achieve greater finesse and union with Vancouver K, 14-year-old gelding, owned by Joe and Kathleen Reynolds.

“We are always improving. In this sport you are always fine tuning. Horses are animals, not machines, one specific day it might not turn out as planned, but then you work on it at home.

“Then, you can have magical times when everything comes together, which is what you are always striving for. Perfection.

“The standard is so high at this level, but my own expectations are also higher than they used to be. I’m not happy now with what I would have been happy with a year ago and so I am always trying to be better.

“I know there is room for improvement and I am confident I can achieve it,” said the 35-year-old.

Reynolds, who hopes to debut a new freestyle test before the end of the year, has made a habit of breaking her own Irish record scores and became the first Irish dressage rider to line out in a World Cup final in Gothenburg, Sweden, last March. Her goal of qualifying for the Olympics saw her also earn enough World Cup points to make the final when a number of riders pulled out. She showed she has the talent to mix it with the best when placing an impressive eighth. Qualifying for the 2017 final - in Omaha, Nebraska, next March - is a firm goal this time and, after this weekend, she is pencilling in World Cup outings in Stuttgart, Germany; London’s Olympia; and Neumunster, Germany. Unsurprisingly, she is not prepared to make any predictions

“We are definitely working towards qualifying for the final. We are continuing to improve and judges are liking what they see. We will continue to build on that, but where that will take us, well, I’m not a fortune teller.

“For me, though, it is important to also improve the reputation of Irish dressage. I really want to dispel the notion that the Irish cannot be top-class dressage riders.”

*EI president Ingmar De Vos yesterday said they have “some positive leads” in the search for a nations cup series sponsor after the €16m, four-year deal with the Saudi Equestrian Fund came to an end last weekend.

“It was made very clear in the beginning of the agreement that this was a one-time investment to preserve the FEI Nations Cup as a legacy, and this partnership has now come to an end. We are very grateful for what they have done and, thanks to HRH Prince Faisal and the Saudi Equestrian Fund, the value of the series has increased and we now have a sustainable series for the future.

“Now, it’s time to move on and it is up to us to go to the market to find new partners and, as the FEI president, I am confident in saying that we will. We already have some positive leads, and will try to finalise, as soon as possible, a new partner for the FEI Nations Cup series.”

*The US is the focus for the bet in show jumping this weekend, with Cian O’Connor, Denis Lynch, and Conor Swail lining out in the Longines Masters of Los Angeles.

The show is one of three in the series, including Paris and Hong Kong, which features the Super Grand Slam, a bonus of €2.25m for winning three consecutive Longines Grand Prix in the same season. There is also the Grand Slam, a bonus of €1m for three successive victories from one season to the next.


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