Club focus… Tommy Harty – Equestrian
Tommy Harty is a 4th year medical student from Dungarvan in Co. Waterford, has been a member of the UCC Equestrian club since starting college and has captained the club for the past two years. “I’ve been horse riding all my life and started off hunting with our local hunt the Dungarvan Harriers. We’ve always had horses at home since my mother has interest in hunting and amateur jumping and there was always a pony on the farm for me to ride.” Tommy started show jumping at the age of ten and competed at his first international competition at the age of 14. From there his interest in the sport has grown and remains a massive passion for Tommy.
“I’ve been competing with the Irish student team since my first year in college and went to my first Student Rider’s Nation Cup in September 2016, held in Ballindenisk, Cork.” Tommy typically, travels twice a year with the Irish team across Europe. “I have competed in Belgium, Switzerland, Sweden and Germany.” Student riding is great as it provides a platform for students like Tommy to compete at international level while still studying at university where he often finds difficult to commit financially the sport and from a time perspective to owning a horse of his own. In competition, all the horses at the events are provided by the host nation.
Last year, Tommy represented Ireland at the Student Riders Nations Cup in Lund, Sweden. There he was crowned overall champion, placing 4th in show jumping and 5th in dressage individually, and was a member of the team that won the overall team championship, competing against 12 other teams from Europe and North America. Fellow UCC student Liza Hurley has also represented Ireland at SRNC competition.
Representing the country has been a huge honour for Tommy. “Winning at international student level has been a highlights of my riding career. For a UCC student to be in the squad shows that UCC are capable of facilitating and supporting their students to compete at the highest level in this sport – even if it is a minority sport like equestrian.” The equestrian club at UCC caters for all students who meet at Hopp Island equestrian centre weekly. “The equestrian club has been one of the highlights of my college experience. The friends I have made through the club are some of my best friends and I will always remember the weekends away with the club competing at various competitions around the country.”
Last weekend Tommy competed in Bonn, Germany, with the Irish student riders team. The team placed 5th in show jumping and 6th in the dressage. This was a great result for the Irish team as it secured them a spot in the Gold League at the World Finals in Belgium taking this December. The team were unlucky not to medal at this competition as they were drawn against the Germans in the first round dressage who had a really strong team. “Being qualified for the gold league is a huge achievement and is one of our goals each year as it means that we are competing and winning at the highest level of student riding on an international level. We will go to World Finals with a strong team and hopefully will bring home the gold!”