To help the riders on their way, Rodrigo Pessoa has recently been appointed as the new Team Manager for Irish Showjumping. The equestrian legend says that his goal is to transfer strong individual performances to the national team.
Speaking at a press conference in Dublin in May, Pessoa said “Ireland is a horse country, with great riders, with great depth, but the last time they were on a podium in major championships was 2001. The results individually have been very good but they have underperformed in championships dramatically, which is not good. It’s something that we are really looking forward to change. I am here to help solve this.”
Daniel Coyle said he believes disorganisation and a lack of clarity is to blame for Ireland’s failure get on the podium in team events, but that under Pessoa, the team management is now the most organised that it ever has been and that "things have changed already. His management style is more about the riders. He’s got a lot of experience and knows when to give people more of a schooling ride than having to win or prove a point."
Of course, the more horsepower available to the Irish riders, the better their chances of performing at important competitions like the European championships and WEG. The results over the coming years will speak for themselves, but Richard Howley says that he believes the horsepower will appear.
"Rodrigo’s approach is insightful without being interfering and he’s giving more pairs a chance to compete at the top levels, which will naturally raise the standard within team Ireland, eventually enabling more people to compete at better shows with the possibility of getting better owners and sponsors," Richard says.
Before the upcoming European championships, Rodrigo will be hosting a training camp for his riders. While he says that 'nothing special' happens there, he believes that spending time together as a team and understanding how they fit together and why they’re all there is the last piece of the puzzle that needs to fall into place.