The International Eventing Forum is the result of the coming together of experts in the sport of Eventing – Eric Smiley and Jean Mitchell who between them have a wealth of experience covering all aspects of this fantastic sport. They saw the need for an informative, inspiring and yet accessible forum for riders, trainers and interested people to come together to improve their riding, training techniques and understanding of the sport.

Jean Mitchell

Jean Mitchell MBE – Jean Mitchell was born and educated in Belfast, Northern Ireland and has been involved with both the Eventing and Dressage Societies in Ireland in a variety of capacities since their inception. Jean rode and assisted in the first One Day Event in Ireland, which ran at Scarvagh Horse Trials  in 1961, and it was there that her love for the sport of eventing took hold. Through the legendary Pam Stokes, Jean was asked to become a selector for the Junior Eventing team, and in 1971 travelled with the Irish team to one of the very early FEI Junior European Championships, at Wesel in Germany. Subsequently, she became chairman of the Irish Junior selectors and acted for 7 years as Team Manager, along with the late Captain David Foster as Chef d’Equipe and Chris Heffron as the team vet.

Having started her working career as a ‘Poultry Specialist’, those who knew Jean and her passion for horses and equestrian sports were not surprised when she changed her poultry work for a total focus upon equines when she became a consultant for Spillers Horse Feeds, a position that she held for well over 25 years. With Spillers she became deeply involved with the Spillers Golden Saddle Scheme – a Bursary scheme for 14 – 18 year old riders in Eventing, Dressage and Show Jumping which ran for 27 years – surely a record for one sponsor!

In 1991, Jean was invited by the FEI to be on the Ground Jury for the European Eventing Championships at Punchestown where, together with Judy Bradwell, they became the first ladies to judge at an FEI Eventing Championship, a role which had up until then definitely been the territory of the men! In 2008 Jean was “retired” as a dressage judge by the FEI for being over 70 years of age, but during her judging career she judged all round the world and at some of the world’s greatest events – Badminton, Burghley, Kentucky, Adelaide, Pau, Luhmühlen and European Eventing Championships at Pony, Junior, Young Rider and Senior levels. Jean was also a member of the Ground Jury for the team event at the Sydney Olympics in 2000 and the President of the Ground Jury for the World Equestrian Games at Jerez in 2002.Many of Ireland’s top international events have also benefited from Jean’s experience over the years as she has acted as Event Director for Scarva, Richhill, Loughanmore, Punchestown, Necarne Castle, Ballygraffan and Tattersalls International Horse Trials.

Jean has been instrumental in the organisation and development of the International Eventing Forum since the very beginning and her motto that “Team Work is the key to success” carries across every aspect of eventing, from our team doing what it takes to ensure that the Forum is the best it can be, to your relationship with your horse – your own team working for success.

Eric Smiley

Eric Smiley – Eric didn’t go into the professional equestrian world until the age of 28. Since then he has competed at the top level for Ireland including Barcelona and Atlanta Olympic Games, 3 World Equestrian Games and 2 European Championships, where the team each time won bronze medals and Eric finished 7th individually each time. His most famous horse was the grey, Enterprise, who was also 12th at Badminton three times.

He became a Fellow of the British Horse Society in 1995 which is the highest teaching qualification. He is a UKCC Level3 coach and Horse Sport Ireland Tutor and Coach. He is a passionate teacher and has taught around the world. He does regular clinics in the USA and Denmark with students from beginner to four star level. He is an FEI International Judge and has been a Ground Jury member at many International Horse Trials including both Badminton and Burghley.

He was team coach for the Belgian team at the European Championships in 2011 and for the London Olympics in 2012 . For 18 years he was Director of the Golden Saddle Scheme, identifying talented children in all equestrian disciplines and coordinating their bursaries. He is on the training committee of the Pony Club of Great Britain.

He moved from Ireland to Dorset at the end of 2012. He has young horses, mostly homebred, which he starts off and competes up to Novice level.

Sue Smiley – For over thirty years has run Eric’s equestrian life! Was secretary of the Golden Saddle Scheme and also Necarne Castle International Horse Trials. She has organised many of the One Day events in Northern Ireland.
Dora Beacom – Dora is the Secretary. She is a very busy Events Coordinator in Northern Ireland and Irish National Show Jumping judge. She is Secretary for all the One Day Events in Northern Ireland and the event secretary of the Tattersalls International Horse Trials.

Jenny Doran

Jenny Doran – Jenny has been working with the rest of the team since late 2011 to help raise the profile of the Forum and to spread the word about this essential date in the pre-season eventing calendar. Jenny runs her own equestrian Marketing Communications Company – Halcyon Days – which provides marketing services to the equestrian industry in the UK, Ireland and further afield. Having ridden since the age of 4, Jenny has previously competed to a high level in both eventing and showjumping, but now competes primarily for fun. Through Halcyon Days, Jenny works to help equestrian companies to more effectively market their products and services and provides a full range of marketing services; from advertising creation, design and production, PR services, brochure design and print to website design, maintenance, marketing and social media management.