For the first time ever, an Irish dressage team has qualified for the Olympic Games.
At the FEI European Championships, which are being held in Rotterdam, Ireland grabbed one of the three qualifying slots available to countries which had not already booked their place in Tokyo.
The 'Girls In Green' team, comprised of Anna Merveldt, Judy Reynolds, Heike Holstein and Kate Dwyer, finished second of the eight nations competing for a ticket to Japan.
Going into the final round of the competition, Ireland had been in fourth place. However, a brilliant performance from Judy Reynolds aboard Vancouver K saw the Irish team qualify.
**BREAKING NEWS** IRISH Dressage team qualify for
INCREDIBLE news from the European Championships @ECRotterdam2019 - The Irish Dressage team qualify for an Olympic Games for first time ever#GirlsInGreen @Tokyo2020 @TeamIreland @SportIreland @RTESport @OffTheBall pic.twitter.com/E7DtsLgUSq
— Horse Sport Ireland (@HorseSportIRL) August 20, 2019
"I can’t believe we have actually done it," said Reynolds, who has competed at the Olympics as an individual.
"We talked about it two years ago and it was like ‘hey lets try and get a team to Tokyo’ and I was thinking in the back of my head that, this is not going to be all that feasible, because at the time we didn’t really have the back up horses to do it. But it all came together, this year especially.
"Heike’s mare improved so much and Anna got the horse and improved it so much, from doing no Grand Prix to this. I was surprised myself that we have got to this level but wow, I can’t believe it.
"I had an absolutely amazing ride. JP [Vancouver K] was just fantastic today, he was really with me, he let me ride him and just did everything I could have asked of him, he was just super."
Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile