Irish squad for Abu Dhabi NC

IRELAND’s senior show jumping chef d’equipe, Michael Blake, named his squad for this weekend’s first Longines FEI Nations Cup of 2023, which takes place at Abu Dhabi tomorrow (Sunday).

Galway international Jessica Burke was named for the first time on a five-star Nations Cup squad along with Shane and Trevor Breen, Michael Duffy and Billy Twomey.

Michael Blake said: “I am really looking forward to our first five-star Nations Cup of 2023 this weekend. We have a very strong team and I’m looking forward to a very good result.

“It will be Jessica Burke’s first time stepping up to this level off the back of a successful weekend’s jumping in Abu Dhabi last weekend, and Billy will also be there with Chat Botte E.D, whose owner Sue Davies sadly passed away last weekend.

“Sue was a great supporter of Billy, and of Irish equestrian sports as a whole and she will be sorely missed - hopefully we can do her proud on Sunday.”

Ireland’s Nations Cup Squad is:

Shane Breen riding Cuick Star Kervec, owned by Breen Equestrian and Quirke Sport Horses Ltd

Trevor Breen riding Highland President, owned by Heather Black

Jessica Burke riding Nikey HH, owned by Liam Nicholas

Michael Duffy riding Cinca 3, owned by Johnson Horses GmbH

Billy Twomey riding Chat Botte E.D., owned by Sue Davis and Billy Twomey

The Nations Cup will take place on Sunday at 18.30 GMT in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates CSIO5* NC MEast. (Follow Horse Sport Ireland social media channels for live results and updates.)

Record numbers set for Sunshine Tour

A RECORD number of participants are due to take part in the 2023 Andalucía Sunshine Tour, with more than 1,000 riders and 3,500 horses signed up to compete across nine weeks of competition.

Dehesa Montenmedio is the largest equestrian competition site in Europe, hosting 483 classes between January 19th and March 26th, with a total of €2.5 million in prize money offered. With seven grass arenas, and 14 geotextile all-weather arenas, the indoor arena is removable and the largest of its type in the world, the complex has 966 fixed boxes and the capacity for 2,500 boxes with parking for 800 lorries over a 60 hectare site.

Attracting some of the world’s top riders, the tour generates some €60 million to the province of Cádiz, creating 1,400 jobs.

Environmental sustainability collaboration

HORSE Sport Ireland and British Equestrian teamed up on a new project which will lessen the environmental impact at organisational and industry level for equestrian sports.

In a pioneering collaboration with leading sustainability agency White Griffin, the two organisations will focus attention on the responsibility to the environment through actions and leadership practices, making this a priority for 2023.

The five-month project will take place over three phases including research, mapping exercise, analysis, recommendations and a stakeholder engagement plan.

The resulting recommendations and road map will benefit both organisations at an operational level, provide a framework for stakeholder bodies and inspire the overall equestrian community to achieve effective change long term to safeguard the environment. HSI and The BEF recognised the support of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and Sport England in this ground-breaking research project. (More online