Horses: A new image but London gold still the goal for HSI
Horse Sport Ireland (HSI) has launched a new Team Ireland Equestrian brand which will be worn by all Irish equestrian riders across all disciplines from this year right up to the London Olympics in two years' time.
The disciplines involved include the Olympic events of showjumping, eventing, dressage and para-equestrian.
As part of the launch, Team Ireland Equestrian showjumping team manager Robert Splaine and eventing high performance manager Ginny Elliot set out their plans for the coming year.
The top priority for both managers is to secure qualification for the London Olympics for their respective teams at the World Equestrian Games, which will take place in Kentucky, USA, in September.
HSI sees the London Olympics as the best opportunity for Irish horses and riders to compete in favourable climatic conditions without any travel burden on their animals.
"This is a great opportunity for us. We now have excellent high-performance structures in place with top-class coaches involved, and we will be aiming to bring home two Olympic medals from London 2012," said HSI chairman Joe Walsh.
The centrepiece of the Team Ireland Equestrian initiative is a new leisurewear and horse accessories line created in conjunction with Horseware Ireland, which was unveiled at last Tuesday's launch.
The new initiative also encompasses a Facebook page (Team Ireland Equestrian), which already has more than 1,200 fans, a new microsite, which can be accessed through www.horsesportireland.ie, and a twitter page, teamirlEq.
"We have outstanding riders in this country and, with top-class coaches and structures in place, we can take on the world.
"It is time for people to get behind our riders, our horses and Team Ireland Equestrian," urged Mr Walsh.
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