LOCKYER RIDER ALL SET FOR WORLD CHAMPS

No luck needed for this Ir­ish­man as he takes on world cham­pi­onships

Gatton Star - - FRONT PAGE - — Ja­son Gibbs

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.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

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.

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