KILDARE’S Judy Reynolds has announced the retirement of her long-time partner ‘Vancouver K’ – the greatest horse ever to represent Ireland on the international Dressage stage and who has inspired a new generation of Irish Dressage riders with his record-breaking performances across the globe.
Reynolds and the now 19-year-old ‘Vancouver K’, better known as ‘JP’, reached heights never before seen by an Irish Dressage combination and went on to represent Ireland in an Olympic Final, a World Championship Final, a European Championship Final and no less than three World Cup Finals. ‘Vancouver K’ regularly smashed Irish Dressage records and currently holds all three Irish International record scores in Grand Prix, Grand Prix Special and Grand Prix Freestyle To Music.
A breath-taking performance by ‘Vancouver K’ and Judy Reynolds at the 2019 European Championships in Rotterdam was key to helping the Irish team to make history and qualify for the Olympic Games for the very first time. Sadly, the delay to the Tokyo Games due to Covid-19 to 2021 meant that another Olympic Games was just out of reach for ‘Vancouver K’, as he approaches his 20th birthday, however his performances will leave a lasting legacy on Irish Dressage for decades to come. Ireland will still have a Dressage team at the Olympics in Tokyo, with the final combinations set to be named in the coming weeks.
Since the emergence of Judy Reynolds and ‘Vancouver K’, who is owned by Judy’s parents Joe and Kathleen Reynolds, Dressage has become Ireland’s fastest-growing equestrian discipline, with a new generation of Irish riders now believing that they can follow in the footsteps of Judy and ‘JP’ and make their mark on the international Dressage stage.
Speaking after announcing the retirement of ‘Vancouver K’, Judy Reynolds paid an emotional tribute to her horse of a lifetime: “I know I have always said that ‘JP’ would decide when it was time to retire, but I’ve had to make that decision for him. This horse has more heart than anyone can imagine and, at 19, he still tries to give me everything. Too much. I’ve decided that it’s time to stop asking. What a trip it’s been. A good horse can carry you all around the world and back again. One Olympic Final, three World Cup Finals, one WEG Final, one European Championship Final. A good record for any horse, but a great one for a horse that many thought wasn’t good enough.
“Many people may ask why I’ve waited until now to make this decision, but the fact is ‘JP’ still wants to work and we have given him every chance to be able to perform on the world’s biggest stage one more time, but alas it is not to be. It has been a massive team effort over the years to allow ‘JP’ and I to perform, my parents, Patrick, Libby, Johann, farrier Errol, my vets the late Dr Stihl, Dr Hülsey, Dr Beeke, Marcus and Davide and many, many more people along the way. ‘JP’ you legend.”
Along with his incredible performances at Championship level for Ireland, ‘Vancouver K’ scored major international wins at Achleiten and Fritzens-Schindlhof in Austria, Dortmund in Germany and at Pennsylvania and New York in the USA.
Horse Sport Ireland wish ‘Vancouver K’ a long and happy retirement – thank you for the incredible memories you have given to a nation of horse lovers.