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: Tommy 12-year-old gelding

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 II. 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.


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 II world ranking list in 2009.


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.


Achievements: Helen was Irelands sole Para Equestrian representative at the 2016 Paralympic’s in Rio where she she finished a creditable 12th individually. 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 V level.

Horse: Fleurette 12-year-old mare

Achievements: James went to the Paralympics in London where he helped the Irish team secure Bronze medal.



From: Tinahely, Co. Wicklow.

Occupation: Full time rider

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 III level.

Horse: Arlande, 18-year-old Belgium Warmblood mare by Orlando & Benjamin Button, a 10-year-od KWPN gelding by Gribaldi

Achievements: Kate has represented Ireland at numerous internationals where she regularly places in the top 6. In 2017 she was Ireland’s sole representative at the European Championships where she finished 8th individually.



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 V rider. In 2014 she suffered from another bad fall and injured her other leg. She now rides as a Grade IV

Horse: Bink, 12-year-old gelding.

Achievements: Rosemary only started to compete at Grade IV in April 2015 and has had many top 6 finish at international 3* level. In 2016 she was named as first reserve for Rio Paralympics