Shane Breen, riding Ipswich, was added to the Irish show jumping team for the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games in Mill Spring, North Carolina, Sept. 11-23, since Darragh Kenny’s horse Babalou 41 was withdrawn after developing colic. The 13-year-old mare, owned by Jack Snyder, underwent surgery on Aug. 31 and is reported to be doing well.
Irish team manager Rodrigo Pessoa has also confirmed that Galway’s Michael Duffy and the 12-year-old stallion EFS Top Contender have been chosen as Ireland’s first reserve and will travel out to Tryon with the squad next week.
“On Friday we learned of the problem with Darragh Kenny’s Babalou,” said Pessoa. “This is very unfortunate as Darragh is a very solid team member. The mare has undergone surgery and is now back in rehab, and we wish them all the best in their recovery. Shane Breen comes into the team with Ipswich. They have been in really good form this year, winning the five-star Global Champions Tour Grand Prix in Monaco and were fourth very recently in a five-star Grand Prix at Valence in France. Shane is a very experienced rider and will be a valuable member of the team.
“We have chosen Michael Duffy as fifth man with EFS Top Contender. They were on the Nations Cup team in Gijon [Spain] this weekend, jumping double clear with just a time fault, and we feel Michael is a very valid fifth member of the squad. He will also be a key man on the ground which is very important for the stability of the group.”
Looking ahead to the start of competition, Pessoa is focused on the job at hand.
“We are going to Tryon with the clear objective of punching our ticket to Tokyo and the Olympic team qualification, which has eluded us for many years,” sad Pessoa. “Now that we are European Champions, why not dream big and aim for a medal as well. We are really looking forward to a tough competition, but we believe we have a great chance.”