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Clare rider Coen is goin’ for glory in Europe

YOUNG Clare rider has been selected on the team to compete at the European Equestrian Semi-Finals in Poland in August, writes Conor Clohessy.
Coen Williams (15), out of Parc Stables on the Kilrush Road, outside of Ennis, is the under-16 national champion in show-jumping and achieved his highest accolade to date at the RDS National Championships 2019, prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Having trained on ponies since the age of four, he now travels to the biggest competition that he can attend at his age.
Coen’s mother Paula said: “Once he comes out of the 16s he’ll be taking part in adult competitions and looking onward to the Aga Khan and the Olympics. He’ll be going to Strzegon, in the south-west of Poland, with four others on the Irish team.
“There are 20 nations competing, and over 150 individuals. Coen will be taking part in the team and will also compete as an individual.”
The competition stretches over five days altogether and Adrian, Coen’s father, will be driving across Europe with Coen on the three-day journey along with Dun The Business, Coen’s pony.
Coen’s brother before him, Rhys, won the European Championships in the U-14 section at Fortainebleu in 2018, a medal that had not come back to Clare prior to that for 52 years; and went on to earn himself the title of world champion.
In order to be chosen for the Irish team, Coen had to go through a series of trials alongside other hopeful young riders, paving the way with back-to-back clear rounds throughout the first two weeks.
This week, Coen has a litany of press conferences and photo shoots ahead of him, as well as vet checks for his pony in Mullingar, and then will compete in the Home Ponies competition, against the finest of English, Irish, Scottish and Welsh riders.
Paula continued, “The trials leading up to it were a lot of pressure, because you can’t put a foot wrong.
“But compared to many children, he is very resilient, and he shows a huge amount of strength in situations like that.
“He is very dedicated, he does two hours of training every day before he goes to school, and another two hours after school, and then he has to find time to eat and do homework!”
When Rhys won his section at the European Championships, Paula and Adrian invested in an indoor arena for their two sons to train in, and Paula is adamant that she wishes for Coen to remain in Ireland if he pursues a career in show-jumping after he has attended college.
It is very common for young Irish show-jumping talent to move to the USA or to Britain for the early stages of their professional career, because of greater opportunities, but Paula would much prefer that her sons could reach greater heights from home.

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