Eventing rider Cathal Daniels, Coach and course designer Aaron McCusker, and dressage rider Rachel Dowley are the recipients of the ‘George Mernagh Memorial Fund Bursary’, announced at the Tattersalls International Horse Trials & Country Fair this week.
The charitable company, The George Mernagh Memorial Fund was established in memory of the late George Mernagh who had a lifetime interest in equestrian sports and who was committed to developing these at Tattersalls Ireland.
The bursary objectives are:
To support youth participation in Irish equestrian sports;
To foster national and international sporting competition in Ireland via the provision of equestrian competition and the facilities that support this competition;
To contribute to the education and development of all participants involved in any aspect of Irish equestrianism to the highest possible standards.
The 2015 winners are:
Aaron is 36 years of age from Lurgan, Co. Armagh, with a degree in Equine Business Management.
He competed nationally for more than 20 years, and is a Senior National Course Designer with Show Jumping Ireland and he is also a Level 2 Horse Sport Ireland Coach.
Aaron aspires to become an FEI International Jumping Course Designer, and the bursary will enable him to travel and attend International shows and events. It would also help him to attend FEI seminars and courses to gain the necessary promotion.
Cathal Daniels is 18 years of age and hails from Loughrea, Co. Galway.
In 2012, Cathal was a member of the Irish Pony Eventing Team, winning both Team and Individual Gold Medals at the Pony European Eventing Championships at Fontainebleau, in France – and was presented with the Irish Field Award for “Young Eventer of the Year”.
In 2013 he moved from Pony to Junior level, winning a Team Gold Medal at the Junior European Championships at Haras d’Jardy, in France.
In 2014, Cathal won another Team Gold Medal – and an Individual Silver Medal – at the FEI Junior European Championships at Bishop Burton, in England, and he received the Captain David Foster Memorial Trophy for the highest placed Irish Junior Rider at Tattersalls, as well as the Irish Field Award for the Young Event Rider of the Year.
Cathal will use his Bursary to have dressage training with Horse Sport Ireland Coach Heike Holstein – and Show Jumping training with Ian Fearon.
Rachel Dowley is 22, and is from Carrick-on–Suir, in Co. Kilkenny, and is involved with the “Under 25 Group” of Dressage Ireland. She is in her third year studying English and Psychology at Trinity College, Dublin.
In 2008 and 2009 she was on the HSI Pony High Performance Eventing squad, and from 2010 she has won numerous Dressage Championships in Ireland, and at Hickstead, at various levels.
She has been a working pupil with Anne Marie Dunphy, Ellen Bontje, Conrad Schumacher and Richard Davison, and a member of the IURCA Student Riders Nations Cup squad in 2014 and 2015.
Just recently she won the hotly contested Advanced Medium Championship at the Dressage Ireland Winter Finals with her horse Cadens.