Judy Reynolds described her horse Vancouver K as ‘a megastar’ tonight after the pairing qualified for Monday’s Individual Olympic Final when posting a score of 74.090% in today’s Grand Prix Special at the Rio Olympics, writes Mike Dunne.

It was a personal best score, and speaking to We Live Horse tonight, the Irish rider was full of praise for her mount. “He’s a megastar,” she said. “He did a super job today. I couldn’t be happier with him.”

Having been second into the arena, Reynolds faced a wait of four hours before knowing if the pairing had done enough. Her initial feeling was that they might just miss qualification. “Being second out wasn’t easy,” she said. “I felt it wouldn’t have been quite enough. I felt I would have needed the same score as yesterday or better, but it worked out.”

Reynolds and Vancouver K finished one place better than the 18th placing required, though as it turned out 19th would have also made the cut as German rider Sonke Rothenberger, who finished 10th with Cosmo, had to give way with only three riders from each team allowed into the final. The Irish pairing will not need to make up any ground on those who finished higher today as Monday’s Final, which will be Freestyle-to-Music, is a standalone competition.

Vancouver K, owned by Judy’s parents Joe and Kathleen Reynolds, will have a day off tomorrow to get recharged, followed by a light training session on Sunday, she said.

Reynolds will be Ireland’s first ever representative in an Olympic Freestyle-to-Music Final. Anna Merveldt reached the Olympic Final in Barcelona in 1992 when the Olympic Final was the Grand Prix Special. She finished 11th with Rapallo.

Also tonight, a spokesperson for Dressage Ireland described the achievement as “an outstanding performance by Judy and a great day for Irish Dressage.”

The Team medals were settled today with Germany taking Gold, Great Britain claiming Silver and the USA winning the Bronze medal.