Horse Sport Ireland, the governing body for equestrian sport in Ireland, announced today, March 15, that Brazil’s Rodrigo Pessoa has been appointed senior high performance director (incorporating the role of team manager/chef d’equipe), of the Irish Show Jumping Team.
Robert Splaine served in the role from 2005 until late last year.
A former Olympic, World Cup and World Equestrian Games champion, Pessoa is one of the most successful show jumping riders in modern history. He holds three Olympic medals—one gold and two bronze—and was the winner of the Rolex FEI World Cup Show Jumping Final three years in a row, from 1998 to 2000, with the stallion Baloubet Du Rouet.
Pessoa, 44, is the son of show jumping legend Nelson Pessoa, and both Rodrigo and his father have had strong connections with Irish show jumping throughout their careers.
In 2014, Rodrigo, who speaks English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish, was elected by his fellow riders as an athlete representative on the Fédération Equestre Internationale Jumping Committee. Rodrigo is a former president of the International Jumping Riders Club. He’s also been a coach and trainer to many top riders around the world.
“I am looking forward to working with this very talented group of riders and horses in the near future,” said Rodrigo. “At the end of August, we have the European Championships in Sweden where we want to have a strong team ready to battle for top positions. I want to thank Horse Sport Ireland for giving me this opportunity and hope that we will be successful together.”
In his role as senior high performance director, Rodrigo will focus on the delivery of the high performance plan 2017/2020 and on performance targets for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games campaign. He will take responsibility for planning, monitoring, selection and performance at international level for European, World and Olympic competition.
“On behalf of the HSI Senior Show Jumping High Performance Committee, I welcome the appointment of Rodrigo Pessoa, and I hope it augurs well for Team Ireland in our bid to qualify a team for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games,” said Gerry Mullins, chairman of the HSI Senior Show Jumping High Performance Committee.
“I wish Rodrigo the very best of luck in his new position, and we look forward to a new chapter in Irish show jumping with a shared goal of delivering medals,” added Horse Sport Ireland interim CEO James Kennedy.