Sophie represents Ireland!

sohpie _G3A2110Kenmare’s Sophie Daly (17) and her 11-year-old horse, Eicke II represented Ireland at the Junior Dressage European Championships in Spain last week. Seventy of Europe’s best Junior dressage riders and horses attended the championship where they performed at a world-class level. Sophie and Eicke performed solidly for their first European Championship, receiving respectable scores in both tests.
Sophie commented,”Representing Ireland has been my dream for as long as I remember but I never thought I’d get to represent Ireland at a European Championships. It really hasn’t sunk in that I’ve made it this far but it has made all of the countless hours of training and travelling to competitions worth it. I’m really excited to see what the future holds!” Sophie trains with Tipperary-based Grand Prix rider, Sue Smallman, who noted this as a remarkable achievement in this difficult sport. She began her partnership with Eicke three years ago and together they climbed up the ranks from Novice level to International Junior Level. Sophie and Eicke represented Ireland at five international shows and achieved the European qualifying criteria in Hagen, Germany. They are now ranked within the top 100 junior dressage riders in the world. She said, “I am very lucky to have such a great horse. He really gave me his all at these championships and I couldn’t be prouder of him. I am so grateful to have a very supportive team behind the scenes.” Sophie was the only Irish Junior Rider selected by Horse Sport Ireland for this European Championship. She hopes to be selected to compete at the Europeans again next year at Young Rider level. In the meantime she will compete at the Dressage Ireland National Championships after having qualified in May.