Aoife grew up in Co. Kildare, an area steeped in horses and racing. Having cut her teeth on the hunting field from a very young age, she took part in all sorts of pony club activities, working hunter ponies, and spent school summers working on race yards, even enjoying a winner at the Punchestown Festival. Through pony eventing and representing Ireland on two European Championship teams, Aoife really caught the bug. A Maths degree at university, various other academic qualifications, several office jobs and multiple attempts to steer her in another direction failed, and finally when a very naughty 5yr old came along when she was 25 she took the plunge to move to the UK to try and make a career out of it full-time. That naughty 5yr old happened to be Master Crusoe, her horse of a lifetime, who took all her patience and resourcefulness to find a key to. From terrifying episodes on a hunting field, trying to “educate him”, to even scarier Novice events where he had a habit of bolting to the lorry park and had to be led everywhere, to two Badminton Horse Trials and an individual 7th at London Olympics. He really kick started everything. As a shop window for her ability, owners and other rides soon followed, and she owes him everything. He is still enjoying a very happy retirement at Sycamore Farm, with the top stable in the yard.
Other notable rides include the wonderful NZ thoroughbred Vaguely North, owned by Henrietta Duchess of Bedford, an amazing cross-country horse, who finished top ten at Badminton horse Trials.He is also enjoying a lovely retirement in NZ leading young racehorses up the gallops. Also Fenyas Elegance, with whom Aoife won both Blenheim and Bramham CCI4L, two of the premier four stars in the world - the first Irish rider to do so and one of only a handful of riders to win both. In 2013 having had a top ten at Badminton, won Blenheim, and a silver medal with the gorgeous Fernhill Adventure at the World Championships for young horses, Aoife was also nominated for Irish Sportswoman of the year.
While Aoife has some wonderful owners, she was finding it difficult to make the financial ends meet up by competing and livery alone, and using some of her business background, she realised that for her, sales were the only way to make a proper living out of eventing. She has always had a great eye for a quality athletic horse, helped by her racing background and a love of the TB influence. Among the achievements that she is most proud of, is to have sourced, produced and sold horses to other five star riders that have gone on to great success.
The downside of course of sales, is a lack of horse power at the top level as the horses would be sold when they started to compete at a good level and show promise. Having taken some time out to have her son Paddy, her focus has returned to building up some strength in depth alongside the sales operation, through syndicate and investment opportunities. This has really developed over the last year and everything is now building together towards a shot at Paris Olympics in 2024.
Sycamore farm has been the base for AC Eventing last thirteen years. It is brilliantly located in Oxfordshire, at the heart of the eventing world in the UK, to take advantage of the wonderful training facilities within close proximity and a spoiling choice of events to pick and choose from. The yard’s facilities have developed over the years too, and now include a superb 60x30 outdoor arena, 3 furlong hill gallop, covered horse walker, excellent daily turnout paddocks, and a bright and airy American barn.
Most importantly ACEventing has a brilliant team, headed by Amy Marlow - competition groom and yard manager, and supported by Matteo Corsi - stable rider and young horse producer, and Hannah Gold who is who helps on admin, as well as on the yard, and with Paddy. Aoife could not do it without them, and they are a vital part of the success of the yard.