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Interview with John McEntee after European Pony Team Gold Success


John McEntee



We have all followed your tremendous success at the recent Pony European Championships, how did it feel to win a gold medal?

It was an incredible feeling especially after such an exciting jump off

What was the best thing about the Pony Europeans

Winning the medal alongside my teammates Max, Tom, Frano and Niamh

What pony were you competing?

Little Smithe

Tell us about him…

He is 9 years old and is owned by Vinnie and Jean. I have had him since March

How long have you been preparing for these championships?

Preparation started at the beginning of the year through the TRI Spring Tour as well as the Plusvital Spring Tour which enabled me to go to Fontinbleau

This wasn't your first trip to Europe this year to compete, where all have you competed in 2019?

The first show was to Fontinbleau in France with My Gypsy Rose owned by Terry Johnston who was 3rd in the Nations Cup and 7th in the Grand Prix. I also had Little Smite and he finished 4th, 3rd and 1st on the final day.

We also went to Wierdan in Holland with My Gyspy Rose who was 2nd in the Nations Cup and Brooklyn Du Granit owned by Dermott Lennon. Brooklyn du Granit finished 3rd in the 125 class.

Hagen in Germany was the third trip with Little Smithe and HHS Mustang Sally owned by Hughes Horse Stud. Little Smithe was on the winning Nations Cup team and was 5th in the Grand Prix. HHS Mustang Sally won both days in the 125 class.

A key figure in allowing me to gain experience and achieve these results is Gary Marshall. Throughout the year, Gary has been an influential figure at the shows which I am very grateful for.

We know it takes a team of people to keep any successful competitor on the road, which people do you  feel have been the most influential in your riding career so far.

I am very lucky to have supportive owners in Terry, Vinny, Jean, Dermott, Marion, James Kernan and Dan Walsh. Without owners, it was impossible to achieve the results.



Starting Out

What age did you first start riding – tell us about your first pony…

I competed at my first registered show when I was 5 years old on a 12.2 called Cream Socks. He was one of my first ponies alongside Redford Mayfly, I’m Otto and Super Sonic.

Do you have any sponsors you’d like to mention?

Horse First (Paddy Hughes) have supported me for some time and their products help ensure that my ponies are on top form. We also had a lot of sponsor support for the Europeans in HSI, TRM, Gain and many more.

What's next for you?

My aim for next year is to move onto horses with the goal of doing Juniors.

I would like to thank you everyone who has supported and helped me to achieve my recent achievements, it has been instrumental.

On behalf of the Ulster Region Pony Committee, we would like to congratulate you on your tremendous success this year and wish you every success in the future.