Jonny Mulligan is a 3* Irish event rider who has enjoyed a lot of success in producing 4 and 5yr old horses through the Young Event Horse series in Ireland. Below he shares his insight in producing horses for these series.
How did you begin your career in eventing?
My dad had point to pointers in training so I was always surrounded by horses. I began riding as I wanted to be a jockey and did all the usual Pony Club activities including competing in England at the Pony Club Championships. When I was 17 I left school to work with horses full time still with the aim of working in racing. I was introduced to Steven and Trevor Smith around this time and took a job with them where I stayed for 5 years producing and riding a lot of event horses.
How did you become involved in the Young event horse series in Ireland and what is the benefit in your opinion to these series?
When I first set up on my own, I was sent a lot of young horses for owners which is when I began producing event horses for the young event horse series in Ireland. I find the young event series very educational and sympathetic to 4 and 5 yr old horses. They learn so much and there is so much to take in with the environment of the finals at the National Balmoral show and Royal Dublin. They must be so well prepared physically and mentally to take in the atmosphere at these shows as young horses.
What is the most important thing to look for in a future young event horse?
Everyone will tell you something different! In my opinion, the horse has to jump. There is so much emphasis particularly in the young event horse classes on the jumping phase that you can’t get past this. Their movement and breeding is equally important but this is what I look for first.
How do you prepare your horses through the year for the young event horse series?
They have to have enough mileage prior to the young event horse classes. My horses all have varied weeks out cross country schooling, showjumping and at dressage shows so that they are prepared for the classes we then take them to. It’s important to get them in with plenty of time otherwise you end up rushing their preparation ahead of the season which doesn’t give them the best chance at the qualifiers and finals to perform their best.
What is the best piece of advice you have been given?
You get out what you put in. This applies to everything with the young horses from the work they get to everything to do with their management and feeding.
What does a typical day on the yard look like for you?
I start the day by briefing the team on what the plan is for that particular day. We then do morning stables and then I would be riding for the rest of the day whether that is at home or at a competition/training.
How many horses do you currently have in training?
At the moment I have 20 horses in the yard, they range from 3yr olds in for backing to 3* horses.
Why did you start feeding Spillers to your horses?
I have been feeding Spillers for the last 3 years. The nutritional support we receive is fantastic and we are very pleased with how the horses are going as a result.