Longford Showjumper Captain Michael Kelly has departed the Irish Army Equitation School to take up a major role at Cian O’Connor’s Karlswood Stables.
The Carrickedmond native joined the army in 2001 and started his equestrian career in the Equitation School in 2003. He went on to gain notable international showjumping success over the last 12 years.
Michael explained, “I have been extremely privileged to wear the uniform of the Army Equitation School. I was given the opportunity to compete both nationally and internationally to the highest level by the school and I will always be grateful for that opportunity.”
He said he was excited about the move to link up with Olympic bronze medal winner O’Connor at the Karlswood Stables in Tara, near Ashbourne, Co Meath.
“This is an exciting move as I will be working with an extremely professional and motivated group of people and the aim is to promote Karlswood and enhance its global status.”
Michael has enjoyed much success during 2015 and at the end of August, on board ‘Ringwood Glen’, he was instrumental in helping Ireland’s showjumpers secure a joint second place finish at the five-star Nations’ Cup in Gijon, Spain.
A week later, again on ‘Ringwood Glen’, he was the anchorman on an Irish team that included Cian O’Connor on ‘Super Sox’, at the San Marino Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup held in Arezzo, Italy.
He recorded six top twelve finishes at this year’s Discover Ireland Dublin Horse Show in the RDS, in addition to securing noteworthy victories at Balmoral and Tattersalls.
He racked up a hat-trick of victories on the Sunshine Tour in Vejer de la Frontera, Spain in March and he also recorded wins in Denmark and Poland last month.
A talented gaelic footballer with club and county, Michael featured at mid-field in Longford’s 3-8 to 3-5 win over Meath in the 2002 Leinster Minor Championship Final and he graduated to line out with the seniors in 2003 and 2004, before focusing on his showjumping career.
Cian O’Connor said he was delighted to welcome the Longford man to Karlswood.
“Our core business is coaching and developing riders, helping them manage and plan their careers and sourcing horses to match their needs.
“Michael will be key in enabling us to continue to provide an unparalleled level of service to our customers and his expertise will allow us the opportunity to expand the business and open new markets,” O’Connor said.
Karlswood is named after O’Connor’s grandfather, the legendary Irish rugby player Karl Mullen.
Facilities at Karlswood include stabling for 30 horses, an outdoor sand jumping arena, an indoor jumping arena, a large grass training field with a wide variety of fences including Derby ditches, an open water jump and some lovely trail riding pathways where horses can relax and just take in the scenery after their day’s work.