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Riders honoured for five Badminton completions

Michael Ryan and Old Road at Badminton.

Michael Ryan and Old Road at Badminton.

Irish eventer Michael Ryan and Britain’s Pippa Funnell have been presented with the Armada Dish for completing the Badminton Horse Trials five times.

Ryan was not competing this year, but rode Old Road around on 2006,  2008, 2010, and 2011, and Ballylynch Skysport in 2010. He one of only eight Irish riders to receive the prestigious award.

The award began in the 1960s and includes some of the worlds leading eventing riders such as Andrew Nicholson, Lucinda Green and Princess Anne. Among the Irish recipients are Captain H. Freeman-Jackson (1964), Penny Morten 1965, Lucy Thompson (1999) and Eric Smiley (1995).

Ryan flew over on Wednesday and joined Funnell on Sunday to collect the award.

“It is one of my biggest achievements to have competed at Badminton Horse Trials, for me it is next to competing at the Olympics,”  Ryan said.

“Without a doubt it is one of the most challenging courses in the world and a huge test for both horse and rider. To be selected to compete in Badminton is a great result for any rider, but to complete the course on five different occasions is a testament to the standard of horses your are riding as they need have plenty of heart and skill.

“Old Road, who is now retired, was such a loyal servant and my only disappointment for him was that he was set to compete in Badminton for the fifth year in 2012, but injury ruled him out.

“I would like to thank my wife Trish, the team at home and the owners of the horses Tom and Carol Henry and John Butler. Many we enjoy many more years at Badminton.”

Pippa Funnell and Billy Beware.

Pippa Funnell and Billy Beware. © Mike Bain

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