There is a silver lining to the sad story of Horse Sport Ireland deciding not to send their first ever Olympic dressage team to the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
An individual slot has opened up for Ireland and Heike Holstein has been nominated.
Heartbreak and Appeal
The team withdrawal has triggered appeal by Dane Rawlins and James Connor, who achieved their MER scores and could have been selected on the Irish team together with Heike Holstein.
However High Performance director Johann Hinnemann chose otherwise and advised not to send a team as HSI's 68% scoring target could not be reached by those two riders.
Holstein as Individual
Although not officially posted on the Horse Sport Ireland website, Heike Holstein has received message from HSI that she has been allocated an individual starting place in Tokyo. This has been announced in the Irish newspaper, The Irish Field.
Holstein will be riding her home bred 12-year old Irish Sport Horse Sambuca (by Samarant x Limmerick). The pair made its international show debut at small tour level in 2018 and moved up to Grand Prix in 2019. They rode on Ireland's team that unlocked the team slot for her country at the 2019 European Championships in Rotterdam.
In 2020 and 2021 Holstein has been consistently scoring round 69-70% in the Grand Prix. She competed in Lier, Dortmund, Keysoe, Exloo, and Wellington Heckfield to prove for and consistency.
Photo © Astrid Appels
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