The Future of Irish Showjumping: Children on Horses Nations Cup winners at Hagen

This is part 1 of a 3-part series dedicated to celebrating the incredible success of the three amazing youth and junior teams who recently competed in the FEI Nations Cup Competitions in Hagen. Our focus today is on the stellar performance of Team Ireland in the Children on Horses FEI Nations Cup and what an incredible performance it was.

In a spectacular display of talent and determination, Team Ireland emerged victorious at the Children on Horses FEI Youth Nations Cup in Hagen. With an impeccable score of zero and a lightning-fast time of 88.76 seconds, our young equestrians out-jumped Switzerland and Germany to secure the top spot. This achievement marks a significant milestone, showcasing the exceptional skills and tenacity of Ireland’s future showjumping stars. What a performance it was right across the board. The parents and support teams looking on must have been so proud.

Huge congratulations to James Kernan’s outstanding team: Ted Fagan, Robbie Sheehan, Charlie Flynn, and Sam Widger.

The Nerves, their Sponsors and their supporters.

Ted Fagan, a key player in this victory, shared his excitement and confidence as the team prepares for the European Championships. “I was nervous going into each round, but once I cleared the first fence, I forgot all about it and just pushed on to go clear,” Ted said. He extended heartfelt thanks saying “I would like to thank all those who supported me to include Plus Vital, Forever Equestrian, PEMF therapies, our farrier Myle Dunning, our vet Mark Fagan, Charlie Krause, Show jumping Ireland & TRM for all the gear and Mullingar Equestrian Centre”.

Robbie Sheehan expressed his delight in being part of the winning team. “I wasn’t nervous, and the jump-off was very exciting,” Robbie noted. He went on to say “Thank you to Ger O’Neill of Castlefield Sport Horses for all his help and thanks to TRM Nutrition and Showjumping Ireland for sponsoring some of the gear for the trip to Hagan”.

Charlie Flynn described the experience as amazing and emphasised the thrill of being part of such a successful team. “To win the COH Nations Cup in Hagen felt amazing. It’s great to be part of such an amazing team,” Charlie remarked. Charlie expressed his gratitude to his supporters “I would like to say a big thanks Firstly to HSI TRM & SJI for their support, To Adrian Williams @ parc stables for once again finding me an amazing animal & all his help, to Horse First Supplements for keeping my horse looking and feeling amazing, to Ballinroe Horse Transport for always helping us out to Ger O’Neill for all his help”.

Sam Widger was determined to jump clear and not let his team down. “I wasn’t too nervous, but I didn’t want to let my team down,” Sam explained. He thanked his family and then went on to thank “Ger O’ Neill for his top class help & my sponsors Bluegrass Horse Feeds. And also gave “thanks to James Kernan for giving me this wonderful opportunity”.

Those Close Matter Most for The Next Generation: The Unsung Heroes

The skill and dedication of this team extend beyond their immediate circle, involving families and mentors who play vital roles in their success. We always say “it takes a village” and all equestrians who’ve competed know the time and effort it takes. Parents are the unsung heroes of these successes. Their sacrifice, commitment and support plays a key role in making all this possible. 

Ted said “I also want to say a special thanks to my parents, my trainer Denis Flannelly, our chef d’equipe James Kernan and the best groom ever Amy Ryan”. Robbie also credited “James Kernan for giving me the opportunity to represent Ireland on the COH team” and went on to say “thanks to my mum and Dad and my sister Isobel for all their help”. Finally Sam acknowledged the unwavering support from his mom and dad “I want to thank my mam & dad for all their support” and Charlie finished by saying “but mostly to my mum and dad my wonderful horse Elia & James Kiernan for giving me these amazing opportunities and making them happen” very nicely put Charlie… 

We loved seeing these answers coming back in. What role models these 4 riders are competing at that level and understanding and appreciating who and what supported them to get there. To all aspiring showjumpers out there, take heed of the words from these 4 Rising Stars. Never give up. Dream big and work hard. The road to success is paved with challenges, but it is the journey that shapes you into a true champion.

The Children On Horses European Team 2024 with Daisy O Dea joining them at the Europeans.

Advice for others wanting to get here:

These young athletes serve as role models for aspiring showjumpers, demonstrating that success comes from relentless training, hard work, and a supportive community. Ted’s advice is, “Never give up, work hard, and enjoy the good days, especially when you win. Keep putting in good practice, and the more experience you get, the better you will become.” Robbie echoes this sentiment, emphasising the importance of continuous training and hard work. Charlie encourages young riders to “always dream big and work hard,” showing his belief in the power of perseverance and ambition. Sam adds, “Work hard towards your goals and dreams, and enjoy the journey.” As they prepare for the European Championships, let us draw inspiration from their journey.

Dream big, work hard, and cherish every step of your journey. The future of Irish showjumping is bright, thanks to the passion and perseverance of our next generation and the support they have around them.

We’re excited for what the future holds for these Rising Stars can’t wait to see how they get on at the Europeans in July. Best of luck to all 5 team members and their support groups.


The Future of Irish Showjumping: Children on Horses Nations Cup winners at Hagen

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