THE Irish equestrian community has been united in grief at the tragic passing away on Wednesday of talented Co Mayo show jumper Jack Dodd (25) from injuries sustained in a car crash in Belgium last week.
Despite a very brave fight for life, Jack passed away today surrounded by his parents David and Trish and family at Maastricht University Hospital.
One of Ireland's brightest young show jumping riders, Jack was involved in a single car collision in Belgium seven days ago near Weert.
He had been in an induced coma since at Maastricht University Hospital.
Jack's untimely death has devastated his family and many friends, at home and abroad.
The hard-working young man had represented Ireland at senior level and had previously worked for top international show jumpers Cian O'Connor, Shane Breen, Cameron Hanley and had been based with Bertram Allen's yard in Germany before going out on his own earlier this year.
Jack represented Ireland from youth level up to senior Level. In 2014, Jack was a member of the Irish Young Rider Team at the FEI European Championships in Arezzo, Italy.
In 2016, he earned a place in the hugely prestigious international Young Riders Academy.
In 2017 Jack attended the FEI Sports Forum in Lausanne, Switzerland, where he spoke passionately about how important the FEI Nations Cup series is in helping Young Riders make the breakthrough at the top level.
After setting up his own base in Balen, Belgium, last autumn, Jack competed successfully hugely in young horse competitions and also in international classes throughout Europe.
Horse Sport Ireland CEO Ronan Murphy said today (Thursday): “On behalf of Horse Sport Ireland, I wish to offer sincere condolences to Jack’s family and the many friends he made at home and when representing Ireland with distinction around the world. Jack Dodd was an extremely talented and hard-working young man and was much loved by all who met him. This is apparent in the many tributes being paid to Jack since the tragic news of his passing reached us on Wednesday. Our thoughts are with Jack’s family and friends at this very difficult time.”
Irish Show Jumping Development Team Manager Michael Blake, who knew Jack Dodd for many years, paid tribute to him, adding: “I and everybody else am devastated at the tragic news of Jack's passing. I have known Jack most of his life and admired the mantra which he applied to his work, “success is the reward for effort.” Jack knew what he wanted and went after it.
"In 2007 he was part of the Irish Children On Horses (U14)) European Championship Silver medal winning team. He was on the Young Rider European Team in Arezzo in 2014. I remember thinking then how focused and professional he was, while still maintaining a genuine niceness. When Jack left Coolcronan Equestrian Centre in Foxford, Co Mayo, he was single-minded on the journey he was going to make. He knew, that to be the best, he must learn from the best and spent time in many top yards. In 2016 we nominated Jack for the Rolex Young Riders Academy and he was inducted into the Academy. Jack really learned his trade here and made a lasting impression on all whom he met. Jack recently set up his own business and was doing really well.
"I offer my heartfelt sympathy to his parents Trish and David, along with all of his family and numerous friends. Jack, we will miss you terribly, you were truly one of life's great guys. Rest in peace, Heaven has gained an angel.”