where are they now?
Published 07/08/2011 | 05:00
(Former show jumper)
Lt Col Gerry Mullins represented the army and Ireland in show jumping between 1973 and 1996. He competed in 50 nations cups as well as two Olympic games, Los Angeles in 1984 and Seoul in '88.
Mullins considers coming fourth in the world championship in 1982 as his most significant achievement in the sport.
"In show jumping you're dependent on being invited to events," he says. "After that, they knew who you were. It was a very important milestone in my career. When you win something significant in your career, it opens up a lot of opportunities. It also gave the army confidence to support me and look for good horses for me and to continue to keep growing my career."
Perversely, that 1982 championship was also the biggest disappointment of his career. "I came fourth but only the top three got medals. I'd be more positive and try and take the positives out of it though."
He believes that the Irish equestrian team is in rude health at the moment. "Nowadays we have a fantastic bunch of riders, a lot of competitive young people with good horses winning at the top level. The current crop are more successful than we were. It was harder then to put four top horses and four top riders together." Mullins believes there are quite a few good horses at the moment that have come along at the same time as the riders, which is great for the sport.
He stopped competing in 1996 and now trains riders as well as other trainers. Looking back, he feels he stopped competing at the right time and does not regret his decision. "In life you go through certain stages, I wanted a change. I don't wake up in the morning wondering did I make the right decision. I get a lot of satisfaction from training coaches."
Mullins now works as chairman of the FEI (Federation Equestre Internationale) Development Advisory Group. He travels all over the world helping to develop coaching systems in developing nations. He is out of Ireland for up to 200 days a year working in Eastern Europe, South America, the Middle East and the Far East. "The system we developed in Ireland is now being used in all these places," he says.
Sunday Indo Sport