Equestrian – eventing
Mary Peters Trust athlete
Studying A Levels at Friends School Lisburn
Pony Club East Down
Achievement I’m most proud of
Team Silver and an individual 6th place in the 2022 Junior European Eventing Championships
What is your current goal
To ride around Badminton and represent Ireland in Eventing at the highest level
“It’s a full-on adrenaline packed sport – there is never a dull day,” says young eventing star Tom Rowlatt-McCormick who proudly points to a Team Silver win for Ireland in the 2022 Junior European Eventing Championships as his top achievement to date.
“It was the first time in a few years that the Irish Junior Team had won a medal at this level – it was a real team effort with all four of us jumping clear in the final phase to secure second place ahead of Germany.” Tom also attained an individual 6th place overall.
In his final year of A Levels at Friends School Lisburn and aiming to study Biology at university, Tom has been riding horses since he was three years old. His family quite literally live and breathe horses and Tom followed his elder brother Ben taking up eventing at a young age.
“Our whole family is obsessed! We breed our own horses – in fact my main competition horse ‘Mon Ami Alme’ was home bred. Dad drives us all over Ireland in a lorry, mum helps to groom and also works hard to pay for competitions. It’s a great way to spend time with my family and big brother. It means a lot – though I probably don’t say thank-you enough!”
Based in Ballynahinch, Tom (17) is a member of the Horse Sport Ireland High Performance programme and also belongs to his local Pony Club – East Down. When Tom’s not riding or studying for A Levels in maths, biology and PE, he plays rugby at school. It’s a hobby he says!
But with training each day bar Mondays, there isn’t much time for hobbies. For the uninitiated, equestrian eventing is a three-phase sport – a bit like triathlon for horses.
Dressage is a test of skill on the flat; show-jumping of accuracy and skill over a set of knockable fences; cross-country a test of speed, fitness and bravery over fixed fences covering up to 4km of galloping country.
“I’d like to give a shout-out to my three trainers; Terry Boon for dressage, Debbie Byrne for show-jumping and Jonathan Steele at Riverhill Stud who looks after my cross-country. And behind the scenes as well as my parents are, farrier Colin McCormick, vet David Turley and Hannah Anderson our equine chiropractor. It takes a lot of hard work, detailed preparation and the right people behind you to be successful.
“Funding from the Mary Peters Trust has helped towards our travel costs taking horses across Europe – we’re not a wealthy family and every penny counts.”
And of the future? Tom wants to continue to compete with his beloved horse ‘Mon Ami Alme.’ “I’d like to aim for the 2023 Junior European Eventing Championships in Italy later in the year. I also have a younger horse ‘R Ballerina’ who I think is very talented and it would be fab to see where she goes competitively this year. Ultimately I’d love to ride around Badminton and represent Ireland at the highest level on a home bred horse.
“But I’m also mindful that it is important to enjoy your sport. Not everything is about winning all of the time. My mantra is, smile and be polite and keep learning.”