Talented showjumper Max Wachman, from Goolds Cross, near Cashel, has been in great form this year and will be looking to extend his winning streak at the Dublin Horse Show this week
A Tipperary showjumper who is enjoying a busy and successful year is looking forward to competing at the Dublin Horse Show, which returns today, Wednesday, for the first time since 2019.
“I can’t wait! I haven’t jumped there since I was 15, so I’m really looking forward to competing in Dublin,” says Max Wachman, who has been chosen on the Irish squad for Friday's Aga Khan Cup along with Bertram Allen, Cian O'Connor, Conor Swail and Shane Sweetnam.
Considering his background, it’s no surprise that the 18-year-old from Goolds Cross, near Cashel, has followed a career with horses. His great grandfather was the legendary racehorse trainer, Vincent O’Brien; his grandparents John and Sue Magnier own Coolmore Stud; while his father, racehorse trainer David Wachman, can count the Irish and British 1,000 Guineas Stakes among his many successes.
His mother, meanwhile, is former eventing rider Katie Magnier.
“I’m interested in racing and I follow it, but when I was younger we went to a riding school, Thomas Ryan’s in Thurles, and we became friendly with the Ryans. They coached us for a bit and their children were showjumping and we picked it up with them. We loved it,” he says.
Max is heading to the RDS this week with Berlux Z and Quintini, two horses with which he has been successful on both sides of the Atlantic this year.
The year got off to a strong start with a win at the four-star Nations Cup at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Florida.
“That’s probably been my biggest career achievement to date. I’m very grateful to Michael Blake for selecting me to compete and giving me that opportunity.
“All the guys on the team, Eoin McMahon, Andrew Bourns and Cian O’Connor, were very supportive. Being on the team with Cian was quite special because he coaches us.”
Riding Berlux Z, Max scooped a stunning double clear, one of only five double clears in the competition.
“It was a great night and a great feeling to have gone well. He’s a very experienced horse and he competed at a very high level with his previous rider, Simon Delestre.
“He’s a new ride for me. I started riding with him last autumn and I think we’re pairing well. He’s a very straightforward horse.”
Closer to home, Max won The Holmestead Saddlery International Stakes at the Balmoral Show in May.
“I jumped Quintini there, he won that and was third in the Grand Prix. He jumped super. He’s also a relatively new horse for me, I started riding him at the start of the year in Florida. He’s very quick against the clock – he makes my life very easy!”
From there it was onto the CSI four star show in Wiesbaden, Germany, when Max took second place riding Berlux Z.
“I was very happy to have jumped clear, the horse jumped very well.”
And then it was back to reality and a quick dash home for the 18-year-old to start his Leaving Certificate.
Max is quick to credit his coach, Olympian Cian O’Connor, with his success to date.
“Working with Cian has been great, he’s very knowledgeable and a really good coach. Everything he does, he puts 100 per cent into, whether it’s coaching or competing. He’s very good on the Irish team, he always seems to deliver when under pressure.”
Last month the Irish show jumping team finished fifth in the five-star Nations Cup at Knokke in Belgium.
Michael Blake picked the experienced combinations of Bertram Allen, Cian O’Connor and Tipperary rider Denis Lynch, alongside five-star first-timer Max Wachman, who gave a wonderful display to jump clear in the first round on Berlux Z, and was only caught out by the bogey last fence in the second round.
Wachman went on to finish third in the two-star Grand Prix aboard Ikaros. He then finished fourth in the individual final for young riders at the European championship for Young Riders at Oliva Nova in Spain.
The Dublin Horse Show, which begins at the RDS today, Wednesday, continues until Sunday.
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