It hasn’t always been eventing for 24-year-old Irishman, Dominic Furnell, who is about to compete at his first Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials.
“I took out my jockey’s license at 16 and had my first winner was I was 19,” explains the laid back character. “One of my greatest memories is riding a 200-1 shot to victory.”
But in 2012 Dominic moved to England to work on Lucy McCarthy’s (nee Wiegersma) yard.
“I’d been doing a bit of work for eventers Michael and Patricia Ryan at home and I thought to myself ‘I kind of like this eventing lark’ and figured that the best place to go and learn the trade was Britain,” says Dominic.
After 18 months at Lucy’s Dominic headed home to the family farm, where his father has a herd of 100 beef cattle, in Limerick to set up his eventing business.
Meanwhile, back in 2006, Dominic found a five-year-old mare called Flower.
“I bought her for little money to do Pony Club and hunter trials with,” explains Dominic. Little did he know that Flower (Ballycahane Flower Power) would take him all the way from Pony Club to four-star.
“She’s a typical mare and a real grumpy individual,” says Dominic. “She’s very tricky to plait and she will pull faces every time you or another horse passes her stable. But if someone come onto the yard and offered me a fortune for her, I wouldn’t let her go anywhere — she owes me nothing.”
Dominic, who has never been to Badminton before, says that Flower is “a proper traditional Irish type.”
“She’s hardy and honest and tries her heart out. I’ve watched the cross-country preview and I’m going to recreate some of the fences at home before we travel over.”
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Dominic and Flower have enjoyed some solid three-star results and completed Pau four-star last year.
“I think once we get to Badminton everything will hit me,” he confesses. “I want to get around and finish the last day — but I also want to take it all in and enjoy the experience.”
Read the full Badminton preview in Horse & Hound magazine, out now