CORK eventing rider Patricia Ryan was yesterday named on the team for the European Championships, which begin today in Fontainebleau, France, while her husband Michael will contest as an individual.
Patricia, from Bandon, won this year’s World Cup qualifier in Tattersalls, with Michael runner-up.
Following a below-par performance in Gatcombe, however, he failed to make the six-rider squad for the championships, but last week he became the second rider called up by high performance manager Ginny Elliot as a result of injury to two of her initial selections.
Along with Patricia, who rides Fernhill Clover Mist, the team comprises Sacha Pemble (I’ve Been Dun), Sam Watson (Horseware Bushman) and Elizabeth Power (Kilpatrick River).
Michael and his seasoned campaigner Old Road will compete as individuals, along with Ciaran Glynn and Killossery Kruisita.
Elliot yesterday said the riders were anxious to get underway. “The training camp went very well last week and now we just can’t wait to get started,” she said.
The championships are being contested by 18 countries and will feature dressage today and tomorrow, with the cross-country on Saturday and the concluding show jumping phase on Sunday.
Meanwhile, the Belgian Equestrian Federation has said it will not follow Britain in fighting the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) decision to relegate it from the Meydan Nations Cup series.
Both countries tied at the end of this year’s series for the second relegation spot, with already-demoted Italy filling last place. At the end of August, the FEI said neither Belgium nor Britain would be demoted, but last week reversed this decision and said both would now compete in the second division in 2010.
Britain immediately said it would appeal, but Belgium yesterday said it had opted to accept the FEI decision, following consultation with its top riders. It explained that it lacked horsepower to compete adequately in the Meydan Series and the second tier Promotional League would better allow it to prepare for the 2010 Alltech World Equestrian Games in Kentucky.
In a statement, the Belgian federation said: “In our view, the Promotional League of the Meydan FEI Nations Cup offers good possibilities to prepare riders and horses for the top level.
“Through good results in the Promotional League we hope to qualify again and to return in the top series in 2011.
“The Belgian Federation will develop a plan for 2010 in which the participation at the WEG Kentucky and the promotion to the top league in 2011 will be the priorities. We will also do efforts to improve the coaching of our teams.”
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