By Dan Walsh
Second Lieutenant Michaelí Byrne (24) has achieved her career ambition and is to be assigned to the Army Equitation School following the commissioning ceremony of the 96th cadet class at Collins Barracks, Dublin, on Thursday.
From Butterfly Farm, Raheen, near Camolin, Michaelí was the winner of the Mo Chroi four-year-old championship final at the 2019 Dublin Horse Show with the Capri van Overis Z mare Boleybawn Bella, then owned by Ronan Rothwell and Ger O’Neill. The mare’s dam, HHS Anna (by Andiamo Z), was purchased by Rothwell from Brendan Doyle and Tommy Kennedy when she was in foal with Boleybawn Bella.
The 2019 Dublin Horse Show Mo Chroi four-year-old championship final was judged by Great Britain’s Olympic team gold medallist Scott Brash and Dutch international show jumper Willem Greve. Speaking after the win in 2019, Ronan Rothwell said “Michaelí Byrne is so dedicated to our horses and she has done an unbelievable job producing Boleybawn Bella.”
Michaelí held an ambition to turn her childhood hobby into a career in the equestrian world and took the first steps when she was accepted into the Army Equitation School (founded in 1926 to promote Ireland and the Irish horse) in the autumn of 2019.
It is the first time in the history of the Equitation School that three female equitation officers will compete for the Army in the same year, Captain Charlene Kehoe, Second Lieutenant Chloe Foley and Second Lieutenant Michaelí Byrne.
The commissioning ceremony was attended by the Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces Vice Admiral Mark Mellett DSM.