launchOVER 150 of Ireland’s leading equestrians were in Dublin  at the French Ambassador’s Residence to officially launch Team Ireland’s participation in the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, which will take place in Normandy later in the month (23 August – 7 September 2014).

The event was hosted by His Excellency Jean-Pierre Thebault, Ambassador of France to Ireland and his wife Aurore, along with Professor Pat Wall, the Chairman of Horse Sport Ireland.

Guests included Olympic medallist Cian O’Connor and his wife Ruth along with his key patron Nikki Walker of Adena Springs Stables. Top Irish show jumping riders who are based around the world flew into the city for the annual RDS Dublin Horse Show and attended tonight’s prestigious event, including Billy Twomey, Denis Lynch, Shane Breen and Thomas Ryan, while USA-based Daragh Kenny and Conor Swail attended along with former World Champion Dermott Lennon, who was joined by this wife Sandra.

Other top riders included Captain Michael Kelly of the Irish Army Equitation School and teenage show jumping sensation Bertram Allen. As the event was hosted in the French Ambassador’s Residence, European Champion Roger Yves Bost and the French show jumping team, who are competing at the RDS, also joined the guests.

Ireland’s WEG squad Eventing riders were out in force including Camilla Speirs, Clare Abbott, Joseph Murphy with his wife Jill, Sarah Ennis and her husband Nikki Potterton. As well as the riders guests included some of Ireland’s leading business people, many of whom are horse owners. Matt Dempsey, President of the RDS joined the speeches and wished the Irish teams the very best in the upcoming Games, as did the Team Managers Robert Splaine and Nick Turner.

On arrival invited guests were treated to a champagne cocktail, the French Bellini, courtesy of Moët Hennessy.

Professor Pat Wall, Chairman of Horse Sport Ireland said:- “This is an exciting time in equestrian sport with the Discover Ireland Dublin Horse Show at the RDS in full swing and only three weeks to go to the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.

“At the European Pony Championships in Millstreet last week, the Irish show jumping team won the silver medal and Susan Fitzpatrick won the individual bronze, so the young riders are showing the seniors the way. We are extremely fortunate with the number of high calibre international riders we currently have and they are phenomenal ambassadors for the sport and for the nation. Two high performance athletes are required for success but a further vital player is the owner who provides the horse-power. We are extremely grateful to all the owners for their support as they are the ones who make dreams a reality.”

His Excellency Jean-Pierre Thebault, Ambassador of France to Ireland said:- “ Proud hosts of the 2014 Alltech World Equestrian games, France soon welcomes the international horse enthusiasts in Normandy, the heartbeat of French horse breeding and the region with strong historical ties with Ireland.  From D-Day beaches to its renowned castles and abbeys, with its delicious cuisine, wonderful Normandy extends one million “bienvenues” to Team Ireland and its friends.”