Ireland’s new show jumping team manager Rodrigo Pessoa will be using the FEI Nations’ Cup at Lummen on April 28th to trial some new combinations at five-star team level.

For though the Belgian venue will not yield any points for Ireland, it is historically used as a season opener, where a mixture featuring some of the country’s new and more seasoned combinations may be seen in action against other world-class teams.

It will also be an introduction to Irish team dynamics for the Brazilian, who took over the reins as Chef d’Equipe earlier this year but has not yet fielded any squads.

The Lummen squad, from whom Pessoa must choose a four-strong team prior to the Nations’ Cup clash, is:

Michael Duffy (22) with Belcanto Z
Richard Howley (24) with Chinook
Paul Kennedy (23) with Cartown Danger Mouse
Dermott Lennon (49) with Loughview Lou-Lou
Denis Lynch (40) with Echo De Laubry

Pessoa, himself an Olympic multi-medallist and three-time World Cup winner, said after the selection was announced: “We are looking forward to starting our 2017 Super League campaign. We are using a mix of young and experienced riders in Lummen and are hoping for a good result.”

Though observers will not be judging Pessoa and the governing body’s new show jumping high performance committee on this one outing, attention will heighten when the Super League begins at La Baule in France at the beginning of May and Ireland starts competing seriously for league points.

Denis Lynch – on Lummen squad

La Baule will be followed by Rome, Italy (starts May 24), Rotterdam, Netherlands (starts June 22), Falsterbo, Sweden (starts July 13), Hickstead, England (starts July 27) and then the Aga Khan Trophy at the Dublin Horse Show in Ireland (starts August 9).

Under new rules, Ireland will count its best four scores from the six competitions to determine its place in the league for 2018. Last year Ireland finished as the runner-up and therefore qualified to be one of the 2017 Super League teams alongside the Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany, Sweden, France, Italy and Spain.

Jack Burns

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