Rosemary Gaffney

30 July 2021; Rosemary Gaffney during a Tokyo 2020 Paralympics Ireland announcement of four riders that will represent Ireland at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. The athletes are Michael Murphy with Clever Boy, Tamsin Addison with Fahrenheit, Kate Kerr Horan with Serafina T and Rosemary Gaffney with Verona. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile *** NO REPRODUCTION FEE ***

Rosemary Gaffney
Age: 62
Hometown: Clonmel, Co Tipperary.
Coach: Sue Smallman.
Classification: Grade IV.
Horse: Werona
Events:  Individual Test, Freestyle
Classification: Grade IV.

Rosemary is particularly delighted to make her Paralympic debut in Tokyo after being Ireland’s ‘reserve’ for London 2012 and Rio 2016. She has ridden since she was five but two major accidents have twice threatened her riding career.

She has had Werona only three years but they immediately clicked, winning the individual, team and freestyle Grade IV in the Keysoe three star in 2019, scoring 74% in the latter in what was only their third major international together. They were also third in three star events in Hartpury and Waregem in 2019 before Covid disrupted international competition.

An accident while mounting her horse in 2007 shattered Rosemary’s knee, tibia and fibula. It took her two years to return to competitive riding and she moved to compete in para-dressage. In 2014 she suffered an even worse fall, breaking 40 bones in her other leg that necessitated six operations in 10 days, yet she returned to compete, initially graded in Grade III. COVID restrictions gave her time to work on her partnership with Werona but it made her regular work, as the long-time Course Director of Kildalton Equine College in Kilkenny, harder because all her classes had to be taught online.

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