ON her final outing before the FEI Dressag European Championships, Judy Reynolds was runner-up in the four-star Grand Prix in Neustadt Dosse, Germany.

Riding the 13-year-old Westphalian Rock Forever gelding Rockman Royal Ng, owned by former Horse Sport Ireland dressage director Johann Hinnemann and Next Generation Dressurpferde, Judy scored 70.217% for second place.

It was a personal best score for Reynolds and Rockman Royal Ng who made their international debut as a combination in April this year. They recorded another personal best score of 68.681% when placing fourth in the Grand Prix Special.

The pair were last week named by HSI dressage director Anne Marie Dunphy as part of the team that will represent Ireland in Riesenbeck, Germany, next month at the 2023 FEI Dressage European Championships. She was also selected with For Fun 51 as her direct reserve.

Reflecting on her performance, the German-based Kildare native said: “I was really happy with the Grand Prix. I came here to Neustadt Dosse because I wanted to solidify our relationship after our outing in Kronenberg, The Netherlands, at the end of July. Rockman Royal was with me all the way and I was able to ride him the way I wanted to ride him.

“It is a very different challenge taking on a horse that has already been trained. Since the start of the year, I have been learning his language and he has been learning mine. We are now speaking the same language. We are finding our feet together. There were a couple of blips in the Grand Prix Special which were down to me. It is very encouraging that the ground jury noted the horse was better in the Special and is coming on all the time.

“I also had Qatari international rider Wejdan Majed A M Al Malki’s 13-year-old Lusitano gelding Faisao here in the three-star Grand Prix. He is a talented horse and despite a little spook when we went into the arena he scored a personal best of 69.435% for a top seven finish. He is not that experienced and he had to cope with a long journey and the very hot weather here. He is a class horse with a lot of potential for the future.”

Reynolds added: “I have not been on a championship team since 2019 and am really looking forward to the Europeans. Anna Merveldt is coming up to us to break her journey from Italy. We will then travel to Riesenbeck to meet up with Abi Lyle and Sorrell Klatzko. It is great that Abi and I have direct reserves for the squad.

“It will be business as usual here for the next couple of weeks and Fritz (For Fun 51) will be prepared for the Europeans in case he is needed. It is great that Team Ireland now has a squad of direct reserves and reserve horses and riders, we continue to progress and will be putting our best foot forward at the championships for Ireland.”