Horseware managing director Tom MacGuinness will contest his first World Equestrian Games (WEG), in Normandy, France at the end of the month.
The Dundalk businessman is one of only two Irish competitors that qualified to compete in the 160km endurance championship at this year’s games which will take place on August 28.
Tom, who founded Horseware in Dunalk in 1985 with his wife Carol MacGuinness, has enjoyed success in eventing, show-jumping and polo.
But the Horseware owner took up the demanding sport of endurance racing only 18 months ago.
With a second placing in the Pan-American games in Uruguay and a series of good performances in races from 80km – 160km, he secured qualification for the World Equestion Games and shot up the world rankings into the top 200.
“The past year has been one of intensive training,” said Tom, “Both at home in Dundalk and in Uruguay where my trainer and horses have been based over the winter.
“Endurance is a hugely popular sport around the world, and is small but growing here in Ireland.
“With two of us competing at WEG, I hope we can raise the profile of what is an incredibly enjoyable sport.”
Up against the world’s best endurance combinations from nations such as the UAE, Uruguay and France, MacGuinness is confident of a top 20 finish with his horse Horseware LR Artista, and hoping for a place in the top ten.
The WEG are the major international championships for equestrianism and have been held every four years since 1990. The event runs over two weeks and the location rotates to different parts of the world.
This year riders, drivers, and vaulters representing 74 nations will compete in the games. This is the highest number of entries yet and represents a 25 per cent increase compared to the previous games.