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Home: Wellington, FL
Born: January 19, 1981
Spurred by the encouragement of his horsemen parents, Shane Sweetnam began riding in his native Ireland at age 5. Born in Cork, Ireland, he attended the University of Limerick where he received his degree in computers. He began his Grand Prix career at age 16 and has since participated in classes in both North American and Europe.
He moved to the United States in 2004 and got a job working with U.S. Olympic veteran Margie Engle. Today is now considered a rider of international standing. He has achieved many key wins in his impressive career. Sweetnam has been a regular member of Ireland's Nations' Cup teams over the last two years, and with Spy Coast Farm's stallion Amaretto Darco, has had notable successes on both the European and American circuits.
In 2011 alone, he won the Spruce Meadows Derby, was part of the winning Irish team in La Baule, had a double clear in the Dublin Nations Cup, a clear in the Nations Cup in Aachen and finished sixth at the American Invitational.
In 2012 he won a WEF Challenge Grand Prix at the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington. Sweetnam and Amaretto Darco served as first alternate for Ireland’s team for the 2012 London Olympic Games.
2013 was an important year for Sweetnam as he competed Amaretto Darco at the FEI World Cup Jumping Final in Gothenburg, Sweden as well as the FEI European Jumping Championships held in Herning, Denmark. He also won the first international grand prix victory of his career after clinching the $101,000 Pennfield CSI 4* Grand Prix aboard Solerina Power at WEF. Just days later he won the $33,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.45m Speed Class with Cyklon 1083. He and Solerina went on to capture the $50,000 Kentucky Summer Grand Prix.
In 2014, Sweetnam won the CSIO Welcome Stake at WEF with Solerina. Sweetnam had two additional wins at WEF prior to clinching the $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic with Bijzonder in Kentucky.
2015 went well for Sweetnan, with victories at WEF including the $34,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.45m Speed Class with Cyklon 1083. At the Kentucky Spring Classic, he won the $34,000 Welcome Stake CSI3* with Cylon 1083 and placed second in the $20,000 Bluegrass Classic with Beluga.
At the Hampton Classic, Sweetnam won the Longines Leading Rider Challenge. He was the only rider who scored points in all 10 of the week’s open jumper classes, winning two of them. He took second and seventh place in the $50,000 Douglas Elliman Grand Prix Qualifier CSI4* with Chaqui Z and Easy Contact Humlan. He and Chacqui Z then went to a sixth place finish in the $250,000 Hampton Classic Grand Prix CSI4*.
In 2016 at WEF, Sweetnam and his new mount Buckle Up scored victory in the $35,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic. His winning streak continued with Cyklon 1083 as the pair dashed to victory in the $35,000 Illustrated Properties 1.45m Classic at WEF 5, and the $35,000 Douglas Elliman 1.45m Classic at WEF 9. Sweetnam then scored back-to-back victories at TIEC, winning the $35,000 1.50m Suncast® Welcome class with Cyklon 1083 and the $130,000 Ariat® Grand Prix CSI 3* with Cobolt. In Europe, he and Cyklon 1083 earned two victories at the Falsterbo CSIO5* including the Stiftelsen Falsterbo Horse Show Prize and Falsterbo Derby.
At the Hampton Classic, Sweetnam and Chacqui Z took sixth place in the $75,000 Douglas Elliman GP Qualifier followed by 11th place in the $300,000 Hampton Classic Grand Prix CSI4*. He and Main Road won the $10,000 GSWEC Open Jumper 1.45m, took third place in the $30,000 Boar’s Head Open Jumper Challege, placed fifth in the $50,000 LONGINES Cup, and 11th place in the $40,000 SOVARO® Speed Stake.
The first blue ribbon of the 2016 American Gold Cup CSI4*-W went to Sweetnam and Kelly Tramp after winning the $8,000 Danbury Porsche Audi 1.40m Jumpers. He continued his winning ways at the National Horse Show in Kentucky, where he and Chaqui Z won the $130,000 CP Grand Prix CSI4*.
In 2017, Sweetnam had an incredibly successful Week Eight of the WEF, earning a trifecta of victories. He began the week winning the $35,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup with Cobolt Dash. He and Chacqui Z were then vital members of Team Ireland that won the $150,000 FEI Nations Cup CSIO4*. The pair came out on top again in the $216,000 Grand Prix CSIO4*, after which Sweetnam was awarded the Niall Grimes Perpetual Trophy as the leading Irish rider during the CSIO Nations Cup week at WEF. Later on the circuit, the highly competitive duo also took sixth place in the $100,000 City of Ocala Grand Prix CSI4*.
At the TIEC, Sweetnam and Cyklon 1083 won $35,000 Tryon 1.45m Speed Stake CSI 4* and
secured the final FEI win of the week, taking the $35,000 Tryon 1.50m Challenge CSI 4*. He then scored back-to-back victories during the first week of the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival (GLEF) in July, winning both the $25,000 Welcome Stake and $50,000 Meijer Grand Prix aboard Cyklon 1083.
Sweetnam was selected to ride on the Irish team in the 2017 European Championships in Gothenburg, Sweden and he turned in double clean rounds to lead Ireland to the team Gold Medal!
Sweetnam enjoyed success at the Hampton Classic, earning several top placings in the biggest jumper classes. He came out on top in the $50,000 Longines Cup, winning the class with Main Road, and also placing ninth with Don’t Touch Du Bois, the horse he also rode to an 11th place finish in the $40,000 Sovaro Speed Stake. In the $86,000 Douglas Elliman Grand Prix qualifier CSI4*, Sweetnam had a great performance and finished with two horses in the top ten. He took sixth place with Indra Van De Oude Heihoef and ninth place aboard Main Road. Sweetnam and Indra Van De Oude Heihoef put on the pressure on the top competitors in the $300,000 Hampton Classic Grand Prix, and ultimately finished in sixth place.
Sweetnam and Indra Van De Oude Heihoef had a big win at the American Gold Cup, as the dynamic duo clinched the $86,000 Fidelity Investments® Classic CSI4* over 57 top competitors.
At the 2018 Mexico City CSI5*, Sweetnam scored Ireland’s first win of the week in Mexico, winning the 1.45m two-phase class after pulling out all the stops with Cyklon 1083 to beat 42 horse and rider combinations. The duo also stormed to second place in the 1.50m Speed Class. Sweetnam maintained his top placings at the five-star competition, taking fourth place in the 1.501.60m Global Champions League Team Final aboard Main Road.
In June, Sweetnam guided Main Road right to the top of the podium in the $132,000 U.S. Trust & Bank of America Merrill Lynch Grand Prix CSI 3* at the TIEC.
He and his wife Alison operate a training and boarding facility, Sweet Oak Farm. He also rides Spy Coast Farm’s competition horses to great success.