Wednesday 20 September 2017

A daredevil 'flying Frenchman' who wowed the queen is set to be one of the highlights at the Dublin Horse Show

Lorenzo in action
Lorenzo in action
Allison Bray

Allison Bray

A daredevil rider who glides over hurdles while standing poker straight on the backs of two horses is among more than 150 exciting equestrian events on offer as the Dublin Horse Show returns to the RDS on Wednesday.

‘Lorenzo The Flying Frenchman’ has wowed royalty from around the world – including Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall and Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands.

And for the first time, the equestrian acrobat - real name Laurent Serre, (39)  is set to thrill Irish audiences in his unique performance based on the Hungarian 'poste' tradition.

The native of The Camargue in southern France - which is famed for Camargue horses  - an ancient breed of distinctive white horses that roam the marshland - will also showcase up to ten bareback Camargue horses that ride alongside him in the main arena.

"The dedication to the training of his animals and the bond between Lorenzo and his horses is plain for all to see in his amazing routine," a spokesman said.

Lorenzo's twice-daily performances are among 15 entertainment events that will run alongside 132 show jumping and other equestrian competitions as the world-renowned horse show celebrates its 144th year.

More than 100,000 spectators are expected to attend the show - regarded at the pinnacle of the Irish equestrian calendar - that its expected to generate around €45m for the local economy.

In all, 1,600 horses and ponies will take part in the prestigious show which will feature fourteen international show jumping competitions, eight of which carry world-ranking points.

There will be a total prize pot of €632,500 - including the prestigious FEI Nations Cup on August 11 and the Grand Prix of Ireland on the closing day on August 13, both of which carry a €200,000 prize.

Read More: Meet the people behind the Dublin Horse Show - and learn how they make it happen

World champion show jumper Rodrigo Pessoa from Brazil will make his debut at the show as the new Chef d'-Equipe for the Irish show jumping team.

The team - including veteran show jumpers Cian O'Connor and Daniel Coyle - is gearing up not only for the European championships in Gothenburg, Sweden later this month but also hoping to qualify for the 2020 Toyko Olympics.

"The Irish team hasn't had a non-Irish team manager in decades and Rodrigo is being brought in to help Ireland quality for the Olympics," the spokesman said.

There will also be five masterclasses held each day of the five-day event which kicks off at noon on Wednesday with an official opening by Dublin Lord Mayor Micheal Mac Donnacha.

Retired British showjumper legend Nick Skelton, who won gold medals for the UK at both the Rio and London Olympics and was named the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year in 2016, will give a joint masterclass alongside Irish show jumping legend Eddie Macken on August 11 and 13.

Irish champion jockey Paul Carberry will also give a masterclass alongside former British Olympic squad eventing manager Yogi Bresiner on the opening day.

There will also be plenty of glamour on Thursday when fashionistas vie for a €10,000 gift certificate from sponsors Dundrum Town Centre during the annual Ladies Day competition.

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