Durlas Eile who took his name from his place of birth Thurles. He was bred by Father Sweeney in Tipperary better know as the sporting cleric. This was the horse that would be go on to be a Badminton winning Champion, team winner at the World Championships and individual winner at the European Championships as well as creating a world record price before the Mexico Olympics.
Durlas Eile sire was by Thoroughbred Artists Son, by the famous Gainsborough. Artists son sired many a good steeplechaser but it was for Quare Times who won the Grand National in 1955 he is most remembered for. Durlas Eiles Dam, Royal Cob by King Cob out of Royal gem came from equally good parentage and the dam at seventeen years of age gave birth to famous Durlas Eile.
Durlas Eile a big bay gelding was kept at the Sweeney’s, broken and jumped, growing to a fine 17.1 hh, and as all big horses need he was given the time to develop. He was sold at the age of five to the Army Equitation School, where Army officers it was said literally cued to take him hunting. He had an extraordinary placid temperament and was a Grade A show jumper.
Durlas Eile was bought by Major Eddie Boylan who saw greatness in this very promising horse with a view to Three-Day Eventing.
Major Eddie Boylan was a “connoisseur” of horsemanship, he show jumped, hunted hacked and did dressage, a true all rounder. Throughout the year 1964-1965 Eddie Boylan was encouraged and trained by Mr. E Schmit-Jensen, the international dressage judge whom had judged dressage in the1936 Berlin Olympic Games and was a member of the FEI’s dressage commission and friend of the famous Frenchman General de Carpentry.
Major Boylan always gave his tutor the credit for Durlas Eiles success in the dressage phase of his three-day events. In 1967 Durlas Eile scored over 84% of the dressage marks, contributing to their European Gold Medal championship wins at Punchestown. It is believed that this performance has never been equalled. It was said that “the exhibition in dressage for that was what it really was-is thought to rate as the best ever in Three-Day Event”
Durlas Eile won international competitions at all 3 disciplines (won Championship in Dublin with Army Equitation School and Prix St George at the White City in London with Eddie.)
Durlas Eile was going to the Mexico Olympics but he was sold for a world record market price for a Three-Day Eventer to a Canadian Barry Sonshine for the price of £19,000 and the extraordinary partnership between Major Boylan and one of Irelands’ greatest horses came to an end.
From the left…Irish Gold medal Team
Eddie Boylan – Durlas Eile – 3/4 TB
Virginia Freeman Jackson – Sam Weller – TB
Penny Morton – Loughlin – 3/4 TB
Tommy Brennan – Kilkenny – 3/4 TB
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