Sam Griffiths riding Paulank Brockagh AUS

By Louise Parkes
Photography: Louise Parkes

Some breeders inherit a legacy of success, but Paula and Frank Cullen have created one all their own. Their Paulank prefix has attracted a large fan-club in recent years, to a large extent because of the profile of the eventing mare Paulank Brockagh who was retired to the place where it all began, in the rolling hills of County Wicklow in Ireland, just a few short months ago.

It is something of a fairytale ending to the magnificent career the mare enjoyed with British-based Australian, Sam Griffiths, in the saddle. Their performances together at both the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014 in Caen (FRA) where the team finished fourth, and at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games where she helped clinch team bronze and finished fourth individually, are the stuff of legend.
Paulank Brockagh conquered Badminton (GBR) in 2014 thanks to an epic cross-country run, and had a total of 35 international outings, 12 at five-star level, and top-ten finishes at Badminton, Burghley (GBR), Pau (FRA) and Luhmühlen (GER). It’s an extraordinary resumé for any horse. For 10 years she gave her British owner, Dinah Posford, the best of times and flew the Irish-bred flag with pride. “The fun we’ve had with her and the joy she has brought us – you couldn’t make it up!” Dinah says.
It was an emotional moment when the 17-year-old mare stepped off the ramp of the lorry and was led back to the stable where she was born. But it wasn’t the first time Paulank Sport Horses welcomed home one or their own. Their story is one of taking the long view, not the short road. And their vision and philosophy about the restoration of the Irish horse to the top of the popularity parade is clear, concise and considered…..
Paulank Brockagh and Sam Griffiths following their
Badminton win in 2014
Q Why is your enterprise based here at Callowhill in Newtownmountkennedy?

Frank: Some of the land would be in my family going back hundreds of years, it’s a deep-rooted thing. They were essentially farmers and butchers, and the horse always figured in it in a small way... To read the complete article you need to be a subscriber

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