The Irish Show Jumping team finished as runners-up the Longines FEI Nations Cup at Abu Dhabi in The United Arab Emirates over the weekend.
Trevor Breen got Ireland off to a perfect start in the opening round, jumping clear with the 10-year-old gelding Escapade H.
Shane Breen and Ipswich Van De Wolfsakker had one fence down, before Mark McAuley delivered a clear round with Jasco VD Bisschop.
David Simpson and Jenson 55 were the discard score for Ireland in the opening round. This meant Ireland finished the first round on four faults, just three faults behind leaders Germany.
In the second round Breen and Escapade H had one fence down; Simpson and Jenson 55 posted a perfect clear round, while Breen and Ipswich Van De Wolfsakker repeated their four fault score from the first round. Louth native Mark McAuley looked to be heading for a double clear with Jasco VD Bisschop as they headed to the last. The 10-year-old gelding appeared to get distracted, however, and the pair fell on landing after the final fence, with neither horse nor rider injured.
The German team of Mario Stevens (Talisman de Mazure), Sven Schlusselburg (Bud Spencer), Miriam Schneider (Fidelius G) and Philipp Weishaupt (Catokia) took victory on six faults ahead of Ireland in second on 13 faults, with the UAE third on 18 faults.
Ireland’s next Nations Cup outing will come at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Florida next Saturday, March 2nd, with Ireland’s first points-scoring outing under team manager Rodrigo Pessoa in Europe Division 1 coming at La Baule in France on May 19th.
Meanwhile, at the same show in the UAE, Tipperary’s Shane Breen and the stallion Laith scored a commanding win in the two-star Grand Prix.
They were among seven combinations making it through to the jump-off where they eventually finished almost two seconds faster than their nearest rivals. Breen and the 12-year-old Laith crossed the line clear in 39.31 seconds, with Denmark’s Tina Lund and Indiana van Klapscheut finishing as runners-up with a time of 41.28 seconds.