LOCKYER RIDER ALL SET FOR WORLD CHAMPS
No luck needed for this Irishman as he takes on world championships
REINING: Lockyer Valley rider Ben O’sullivan hopes to inspire a new generation of riders – Irish riders.
The 50-year-old, who will represent Ireland in the reining discipline at the World Equestrian Championships, hopes to add a “new string to the bow” of his home country’s famous horse heritage.
“A place would be fantastic at the championships,” O’sullivan.
“However I have to be realistic. I’ll be up against the world’s best riders.
“Irish breed horses make up a large percentage of the world champions in show-jumping and eventing.
“So I’d love to do my part to help us become known for our riders as well – show the next generation it can be done.”
The proud Irish international found his way to Australia by a most unusual path.
“I was working and training with the Kuwait royal family when the first Gulf War broke out,” he said.
“After that little adventure I decided to move and I found myself in Australia. I love it here in the Lockyer Valley – it’s a special place.
“And I can’t thank the Southern Queensland Reining Horse Association in Gatton enough, they’ve been a huge support over the years.”
O’sullivan will head to Tryon, North Carolina, in the US in September to compete at the championships.
Qualification for the championships took him to Chile and more recently Canada.
“I scored 71.5 in Chile and 70.5 in Canada,” O’sullivan said.
“My performance in Canada was enough to secure my qualification as I needed two scores of more than 70.”
O’sullivan will compete at the upcoming championships on an American horse.
“It’s very expensive shipping a horse – almost prohibitive for someone like myself,” he said.
“I’ve been offered a number of American horses, several that I have worked with in the past.
“I’m in the process of finalising which horse I will compete on now.”
Competing on a different horse will be of little concern to the seasoned rider.
“I took up reining about five years ago,” he said.
“Prior to the that I was a three-day eventer.
“Reining is just a little kinder on the body.
“Good reining should look effortless – the horse should look as though it is being willingly guided.” What is reining? Reining is a western riding competition for horses where the riders guide the horses through a precise pattern of circles, spins and stops. Each part of the pattern is judged on precision, smoothness and finesse. Points for each manoeuvre are added or subtracted by increments of 0.5, 1 and 1.5 – a score of 70 is considered very competitive.
WORLD CLASS: Lockyer Valley rider Ben O'sullivan and Hang Ten to Yuma perform a sliding stop during the 2018 Reining Alberta Spring Classic in Canada. O'sullivan’s score at the event secured his place at the World Equestrian Games, where he will represent Ireland.