IN this current Olympic year, where Ireland has made history by qualifying three teams in three different equestrian disciplines for Tokyo 2020, Western enthusiasts are very excited to announce that Ireland will also be represented by a Western team at the AQH Youth World Cup in the Netherlands, running from July 2-12, 2020.
Three young Irish riders are representing their country and, in doing so, are promoting the future of Western riding in Ireland and are hoping one day to follow in the footsteps of Irish Olympian, Bernard O’Sullivan.
This is the opportunity of a lifetime for these three young athletes, who have come together from Leitrim and Laois to represent their country for only the second time in Irish history at this prestigious event.
At Ireland’s first Youth World Cup in 2014, which was held in Texas, Ireland did incredibly well and won three medals. Current team manager, Ella Thomas from Ballinamore, Co. Leitrim came home with two of those medals.
Ella is using her extensive experience, which she gained in Texas, the UK and in Ireland, to manage this new team and she is keen to emulate the success she had in Texas 2014.
As per the Youth World Cup format, each country must draw a group of quarter horses that they have never previously ridden or competed before. Elite competition horses are allocated for this event and have been selected from all over Europe.
Over a period of 10 days, riders will compete in eight different classes, consisting of Reining, Cutting, Hunt seat equitation, Hunter under saddle, Trail, Ranch, Horsemanship and Showmanship.
18 countries will participate at the 2020 AQH Youth World Cup at Equestre De Peelbergen in Kronenberg, The Netherlands. The Irish Team will be represented by three athletes: Cody LeCumbre, Kristin Kilfeather and Charlotte Doyle, who will be competing in eight separate classes over seven days. Teams will arrive on July 2 to select their team of horses; the athletes will then have only three days to acclimatise to these new horses before competition commences.
These young riders are not only training hard with their horses, but are also working really hard to fundraise as there is no official funding available. Fundraising activities range from quiz nights to raffles, including a GoFundMe page. The team is actively seeking sponsors and may be contacted: www.irelandyouth equestrianteam. weebly.com; www.gofundme. com/f/get-ireland -to-the-aqh-youth- world-cup-2020; www.facebook.com/IrelandYouth EquestrianTeam/