This is an open letter to the people of Cork, Munster and Ireland.
With the London Olympics 2012 fast approaching, we are asking for your support of Team Donegan Ryan Bandon.
As they try to secure a place on the Eventing Team which will represent Ireland in Greenwich.
Limerick born Michael Ryan and his Cork born wife Patricia are based in Bandon Co. Cork, and have dedicated their lives to competing at the highest level in the equestrian sport of Eventing.
Largely under the radar their tireless efforts have gone largely unnoticed by the general public.
However their achievements are world renowned in their chosen discipline.
Eventing is a three-phase competition which places huge demands on both horse and rider.
The first phase ‘Dressage’ is a test of the fluid motion of the Horse and the control of the rider.
It requires intense concentration and skill to recall and perform what is essentially a dance routine on a horse.
The second phase is ‘Cross-country’, which is by far the most exciting and dangerous leg of the event.
The horse and rider must compete against the clock over an arrangement of testing obstacles, water jumps, ditches, solid fences and frightening drops; at high speed the risk of injury is immense.
Nerves of steel are the requirement for the rider, the horse is the true competitor here, and it must be in top physical fitness and have great stamina.
There must also be a huge level of trust between the horse and rider, as the horse will not have seen the course before and is largely jumping into the unknown.
The third phase is ‘Showjumping’, and at top level Eventing this will be no easy task. Having completed a grueling cross-country course, the horse and rider must collect and compose themselves for a series of technical fences in a confined space. For any riders near the top of the leader board this is where the pressure of the occasion will really come to bare.
All eyes of the huge crowd gathered will be focused on their every move, there is no room for error and every stride must be foot perfect.
Mike and Trish will be competing in a series of Events throughout Ireland and Europe this year is a bid to secure their place in London.
Starting in Ballindenisk in Cork on the 24th, 25th & 26th of February please come and show your support for Team Donegan Ryan.