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Sixteen Irish-bred horses will compete for nine different countries in Equestrian events at the London Olympic Games - Coveney

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney TD has congratulated the breeders of the sixteen Irish horses that have been selected to represent nine different countries in the Equestrian events at the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Minister Coveney said "This is a fantastic accolade for all the Irish Sport Horse breeders involved. To breed a horse that is good enough to be selected for the Olympic Games is a great honour. Ireland is known throughout the world as a horse breeding nation and this is even further evidence of our prowess in the breeding of sport horses".

"The Irish Sport Horse sector is worth over €400m per annum to the Irish economy. It supports the equivalent of 16,000 full-time jobs and extends to every parish and village on the island. It is a vital indigenous sector and there is no better place to showcase our horses than at the Olympic Games" the Minister added.

Five of the Irish Sport Horses will represent Ireland with three representing the USA and two representing Great Britain. These include High Kingdom, which will be ridden by Queen Elizabeth's Granddaughter Zara Phillips. Irish-bred horses will also compete for Canada, New Zealand, Ecuador, Jamaica, Switzerland and Sweden. In conclusion, the Minister conveyed his very best wishes to the Irish Equestrian team and every success in the challenge of winning medals at the Olympics.

The equestrian element at the Olympic Games begins on 27th July in Greenwich Park.

Date Released: 26 July 2012