Irish Winter Dressage Finals Combined with 2011 Cavan Dressage Festival

Tue, 04/26/2011 - 11:45
Irish Dressage News

For the first time in its history, Dressage Ireland will this year merge its annual National Winter Finals with the Cavan Dressage Festival, on a trial basis. The decision followed lengthy discussions by both the board of Dressage Ireland and the organising committee

of the Cavan Festival on how to make competition more affordable to members in this straitened economic climate.

With one week to go until the three-day event kicks off and some 185 bridle numbers issued, there is every indication that the decision has hit the right note with members.

The Winter Final phase begins on Friday with prize giving after the second day's competition. Saturday also represents the first day of the Cavan Festival with prizes awarded for this element after Sunday's tests. Riders were also permitted to take part in just one of the two competitions, with qualifying operating as usual, but the majority opted to avail of the combined package.

Five foreign judges will be presiding over events at the Cavan Equestrian Centre, along with five Irish colleagues. Clive Halsall makes the trip over from the UK, Marc Urban and Olivier Smeets visit from Belgium while Mary Robins and Pauline Cremers represent New Zealand and Mallorca respectively. Angeline Nicholson, David Lee, Vanda Robinson, Wouter Liekens and one other to be determined make up the Irish judging panel.

Though not wanting to speak too soon, Dressage Ireland's Chairman Robert McCormick admitted he was pleased with the reaction to the combined show. “It should be a great event, we have a number of excellent foreign judges and I'm pleased to see 10 combinations in the Prix St George Class,” he said.

Indeed, there will be no shortage of talent on display with top riders Sandra Blake Farell, Sorrell Klatzko, Yvette Truesdale, Kate Dwyer and Amanda Goldsbury all taking multiple rides. Prominent UK owner and rider Trudi Parsons is generously sponsoring a number of classes. She has a number of exceptional-quality dressage horses at her Ladytown, Co Kildare base that are sure to strengthen the Irish field in months to come.

Fresh from two-weeks training in the UK with dressage supremo Jennie Loriston-Clarke, Kilcock-based Sorrell Klatzko is the rider to watch at this year’s finals. She will compete four horses from Novice to Prix St George, all of which have showed a marked improvement in form under Loriston-Clarke’s tutelage. Klatzko is also riding high after signing a sponsorship deal with Team Woodcraft, an expert joinery company owned by Irish entrepreneur Aisling Hurley, which will allow her to compete abroad this season. She credits her sponsor’s support with making her recent training trip to the UK such a success and is ‘very excited’ about showcasing her talented rides during the three-day competition.

The combined Winter Finals/Cavan Festival takes place from April 29th- May 1st at the Cavan Equestrian Centre, Latt, Co Cavan. For more details visit

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