RODRIGO Pessoa flew into Ireland to attend the Horse Sport Ireland media day at the National Sports Campus in Dublin today (Wednesday).

Speaking to The Irish Field, Pessoa outlined what he hopes to bring to the Irish show jumping team.

“I hope the thing I am most valuable in is the experience of having put my team and myself in positions to win medals at big championships, I think that is the most important thing. Ireland win plenty of Grands Prix and plenty of good results in Nations Cups, but lack this last thing at the championships and this is where I hope I can help them."

Taking about building a good team spirit, Pessoa added: “Good, clear, simple communication is the most important thing for us. They don’t have to go on holidays together, but they have to respect their team mates and respect the entity that they are representing.”

Referring to the large prize money on offer at the Global Champions Tour, which will lure riders to compete at those lucrative shows, Pessoa said: “Planning is everything in the success of a group. What is our ultimate goal? Championships. A rider that is not going to perform in Nations Cup teams, be just on the Global Champions Tour and just show up for the championships – that’s not going to work! He will have to sacrifice some of those big purses to come and ride for his country as well.”


Pessoa also named his five-man squad for the first points scoring Nations Cup in La Baule next Friday as:

Tipperary’s Kevin Babington (48), riding the 12 year-old mare Shorapur – owned by Shorapur LLC

Tipperary’s Shane Breen (42), riding the 12-year-old stallion Golden Hawk – owned by P. Sultan & Breen Equestrian

Galway’s Michael Duffy (22), riding the 11-year-old gelding Belcanto Z – owned by Alan Burnell

Tipperary’s Denis Lynch (41), riding the 14-year-old stallion All Star – owned by Thomas Straumann & Denis Lynch

Cork’s Shane Sweetnam (36), riding the 11-year-old stallion Chaqui Z – owned by Spy Coast Farm