Although no other family members had equine interests, Ivan’s teenage years cemented his passion for horses; he spent every passing minute of his free time around them, honing his riding skills and undertaking equestrian studies at college. It was natural to assume that a career working with and devoted to horses would follow!
He quickly found employment at some of the top yards in Ireland, including Coolmore Stud, working with horses of all ages, including stallions. His duties included exercising and assisting with the breeding operation as well as the handling and breaking of young horses. This period also gave him invaluable experience in helping to run busy yards and equine management.
By 2001, Ivan was a regular on the local dressage circuit in Ireland, winning a string of local competitions as well as instructing, training and judging classes.
In 2002, Ivan was selected for an assessment day for Dressage Ireland by Conrad Schumacher, one of the world’s foremost dressage trainers who has nurtured many students to International, World Championship and Olympic level. Ivan consequently received a training bursary from the Irish Horse Board and was selected for Dressage Ireland Training.
Nevertheless, Ivan took the view that to progress from a promising Irish dressage rider to the pinnacle of the sport, it would be necessary to broaden his horizons. So in 2003, he successfully applied for a United States immigration visa along with sponsorship from one of America’s major brewing firms to help pay for him to both work and compete on the ultra competitive US dressage circuit.
Ivan was employed by New York based Crown Dressage International (CDI), founded by the Master Trainer Ronald J Postleb who holds a Masters Degree in Horsemanship (Reitlehrer FN) and who has more than 40 years of international dressage training experience, including winning numerous championships at FEI level. Employed initially as a working student, it quickly became apparent that Ivan’s skills and empathy with both clients and horses were exceptional. Consequently, he was appointed as General Manager for CDI’s competitive equestrian programme. He also taught dressage extensively elsewhere in New York State.
During his time in the US, he also competed successfully at high level in US competitions.
Ivan blossomed and it was this grounding and exposure to top quality dressage training that has enabled him to go on and work alongside some of Europe’s most sought after dressage trainers.
Over the past seven years, Ivan has been under the guidance and tutelage of Hans Schmideler, a highly respected trainer who lives near Frankfurt, Germany.
Ivan’s expert credentials are now firmly recognised by the Irish Equestrian Federation and by the equivalent international and US Federations. Since returning to Europe, he has continued to compete with distinction for Ireland, both in Europe and internationally.
Now based in the Isle of Man, where dressage is becoming an increasingly popular sport, Ivan has quickly gained a reputation as a top class trainer. His large clientele also extends to the UK and Germany.
But no rider is complete without a horse. So this biography belongs as much to Ivan’s equine partner, Don Rosario, an imposing 18.3hh Oldenburg. The pair have been an item since 2011, having competed successfully in competition in the Isle of Man, Ireland and the UK. It is with Don Rosario that Ivan is aiming to be selected for the Irish Olympic Dressage Team.
Away from his dressage commitments, Ivan is a qualified gym instructor and also participates in a number of modelling and acting assignments.