Millstreet gears up for Mighty 2016!
The Duggan Family and the Millstreet team are gearing up for one of the busiest competition seasons in recent years with the Green Glens Arena set to host a record six FEI International shows during the next eight months.
Preparations are at an advanced stage for the upcoming Millstreet International Welcome Tour which takes place from 24th March to 2nd April. Now in its fourth year, the Welcome Tour has developed a reputation as the ideal season opener due to the amount of competitions on offer. Over 100 events are due to take place ranging from Newcomer Ponies up to CSI1* and CSI2* FEI classes. The addition of CSI2* classes to the schedule will see competitors aiming to take home a share of the €25,000 prize fund on offer as well as vital LONGINES ranking points. International Course Designer Gerard Lachat (SUI) will be making his first visit of 2016 to Millstreet ahead of the FEI European Jumping Championships (YR, JUN, COH) and the event is likely to attract a number of contenders in competitions for Juniors, Young Riders and Children on Horses.
During the ten day show, Millstreet will also cater for eventing enthusiasts with Combined Training classes taking place as well as two Eventing Ireland One Day Events which will close each weekend of the tour. In a new initiative for 2016, the Green Glens Arena will host the first leg of the popular ‘Stepping Stone to Success’ young event horse league on Tuesday 29th March with the final taking place at Wexford Equestrian Centre on 3rd May.
Following the conclusion of the Welcome Tour, attention will be turned to a packed summer schedule which kicks off with the hugely anticipated World Mounted Games Championships arriving into Millstreet on 12th July. Organised by the Mounted Games Association of Ireland, the event will see teams from all over the world converge on the Green Glens Arena for four days of fast-paced competition. Two weeks later, Europe’s leading underage riders will travel to Co. Cork for the FEI European Jumping Championships for Young Riders, Juniors and Children on Horses (26th – 31st July). Ireland currently hold the Children on Horses Individual Gold Medal (Jennifer Kuehnle) as well as the Junior Team Silver and Young Rider Team Bronze. Irish athletes will be hoping their home advantage will help them add to the medal haul at this year’s Championships.
Millstreet International Horse Show (CSI3*) takes place on its traditional dates (10th – 14th August) with the Green Glens Arena set to welcome top riders from around the world. Last year, entries exceeded 7,000, with Billy Twomey taking the honours in the Millstreet International Grand Prix ensuring that the Irish held on to the title for a second consecutive year. With Ireland proving unsuccessful in their bid to qualify a showjumping team for Rio 2016, a number of Irish squad members are expected to provide a strong home challenge in the International classes. Millstreet’s commitment to supporting the Irish equestrian industry continues, with young horse classes including the Boomerang, National Discovery, Young Irelander and Millstreet Ruby set to boast strong entries once again.
Two weeks later, the equestrian action moves across the road to Drishane Castle for Millstreet International Horse Trials (25th – 28th August). Now in its second year, renowned Course Designer Mike Etherington-Smith has returned to Millstreet to develop new cross country courses at CCI2* and CCI3* level which are likely to prove popular with event riders from far and near. The feature classes will see competitors take on the 5,000m+ course on Saturday 27th August with the deciding showjumping phase taking place the following day. A strong field of riders at Junior and Young Rider level are expected ahead of the 2017 FEI European Eventing Championships for Young Riders and Juniors which will take place in Millstreet.
The equestrian season at the Green Glens Arena will come to a close with the running of the 30th annual Owners, Pony and Young Riders Charity Show from 28th – 30th October. Last year saw the introduction of FEI affiliated classes for Ponies and Young Ponies and further exciting developments are planned for this years show, which has raised over €250,000 for various good causes since its establishment.
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