Para Equestrian Ireland


221719_1339115093429_1618793_nANGELA LYONS

From: Blarney, Co. Cork.

Occupation: Full-time rider.

Background: Angela competes at Grade IV level. She has been riding since she was very young, and competed in ponies at international level. A fall at the age of 15 resulted in a shattered hip and pelvis and, as a safer option, she then turned to dressage. She first got involved with PEI in 2009.

Horses: Rizaro (13yo g Hanoverian) and Latino J (18yo Dutch Warmblood).

Achievements: As a member of the high performance squad she has attended numerous international competitions and regularly places in the top 10. Angela has also won multiple national titles in able bodied competitions.



From: Dublin.

Occupation: Works for the Health Service Executive.

Background: Breda suffers from Cerebral Palsy and is classified Grade 1b. Her international sporting career began in 1998 and she has competed all over the world. Breda has represented her country at two Paralympics, Sydney 2000 and Atlanta 2004.

Horse: Master Mexico (ISH), 17-year-old gelding

Achievements: Most notably Breda won a major class at the CPEDI3* in Breda, Netherlands in 2011. She has had numerous other successes including ranking 3rd in the 1b world ranking list in 2009.


11167678_1654877888088422_6506457237202730467_nEMMA CAHILL

From: Cabinteely, Co. Kildare

Occupation: Compression Consultant

Background: Emma competes at Grade III level. She suffered a spinal injury from a rotational fall in 2010. Emma was told by told by many doctors that she would never walk following her accident, yet alone did they think she would get back riding. Emma started riding aged 10, she was a horse made child and convinced her parents to take her to riding lessons. She asked the owner of the riding school for a job and went from there. Emma used to showjump at amateur level and competed internationally as a student rider before her accident. She joined Para Equestrian Ireland in 2013.

Horse: Captiol Coin, 1996 ISH Gelding owned by Nolan Eventing and Evaristo Biolley 2004 BWP Gelding owned by Katrijn Verlinden.

Achievements: Emma first represented Ireland on the international stage at Hartpury in 2014, here she placed 4th in the Freestyle to music and 6th in the Individual test



Paralympics, London 2012HELEN KEARNEY

From: Dunlavin, Co. Wicklow.

Occupation: Full-time rider.

Background: Helen was diagnosed with Friedreich’s Ataxia at the age of 12. It’s a neuromuscular disorder that causes progressive loss of coordination and muscle strength in the arms and legs leading to full-time use of a wheelchair. Helen has been riding since the age of 10. Initially she rode in all disciplines but has focused on dressage since 2008.

Horse: Rock and Roll 2, 11-year-old gelding by Romancero H. (Hannovarian)

Achievements: In 2012 Helen won three Paralympic medals, individually a Silver and a Bronze and she helped the Irish team secure a Bronze too. In September 2011 Helen claimed Ireland’s first ever European Para Equestrian medal, winning a Bronze.




From: Mooncoin, Co. Kilkenny.

Occupation: Full-time rider living in Belgium.

Background: James has been riding since he was a child but suffered a set-back when he was diagnosed with bone cancer at the age of 16. Despite years of treatment his right leg was amputated from the knee down in 1997. He joined PEI in 2000 where he rides at Grade IV level.

Horse: Orlando, 19-year-old Dutch-bred gelding.

Achievements: James went to the Paralympics in London where he helped the Irish team secure Bronze medal. Before the Paralympics James kicked off 2012 with style winning six classes back-to-back at the CPEDI3* in Florida.



From: Tinahely, Co. Wicklow.

Occupation: Student at NUI Maynooth.

Background: Kate has been riding from a young age but an accident at the age of 3 left her disabled. Despite this she competed with the Pony Club for years at various events. She got involved with Para Equestrian Ireland in 2007. She competes at Grade II level.

Horse: Arlande, 14-year-old Belgium Warmblood mare by Orlando & Broomfield Master M (ISH), 9-year-old gelding by King’s Master

Achievements: Kate has represented Ireland at numerous internationals where she regularly places in the top 6. Against stiff competition she finished 6th in the freestyle at the 2013 European Para Equestrian Championships in Denmark. Kate also competes in able-bodied classes and in 2013 she finished 3rd at the Irish National Dressage Championships.



277427_148173835257934_6483862_oROSEMARY GAFFNEY

From: Clonmel, Co. Tipperary.

Occupation: Equine Course Director, Kildalton College, Pilltown, Co Kilkenny.

Background: Rosemary joined Para Equestrian Ireland in 2010 following a bad fall in 2007 where she had multiple fractures in her knee and leg resulting in her being classified as a grade IV rider. In 2014 she suffered from another bad fall and injured her other leg. She now rides as a Grade III

Horse: Aldham Mill Dubloon, 15-year-old stallion by Donnerhall.

Achievements: Rosemary only started to compete at Grade III in April 2015 and most recently she finished with 74% in the Grade III Freestyle to music at Hartpury in the UK. As a Grade IV Rosemary just missed out on selection for the Paralympics in London being named first reserve. She had numerous other success including winning a class at CPEDI3* in 2010 Hartpury, England.