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Boomerang (horse)

Medal record
World Championships
Silver 1978 Aachen Individual jumping
European Championships

Bronze 1979 Rotterdam Team jumping

Boomerang, later Carroll's Boomerang, was an Irish Sport Horse ridden in show jumping competitions, most successfully by Eddie Macken.

  • Markings: Star, near hind sock
  • Height: 16.2 hh (168 cm)
  • Born: 1966 in Ireland
  • Breeder: Jimmy Murphy, Maifield, Grangemockler, County Tipperary
  • Owner: Eddie Macken

Boomerang was bred by Jimmy Murphy, a well-known sportsman and local politician from Grangemockler, Co Tipperary. Jimmy and his wife Mai, a successful racehorse owner, sent their Irish Draught mare, Girl From The Brown Mountain, to Battleburn, a thoroughbred sire which stood in south Kilkenny. Jimmy and his family broke the horse, initially known as Battle Boy, and recognised his prodigious ability. They hunted him with the Kilmoganny Harriers and jumped him in novice classes on the Tipperary/Kilkenny/Waterford gymkhana circuit and then sent him to "finishing school" with Iris Kellett, the 1969 European showjumping champion, at her stables at Mespil Road in Dublin. There, the horse was first ridden by Eddie Macken, then a working pupil at Kellett's. He first jumped at the RDS Dublin Spring Show, as a four-year-old in 1970. Two years later, Jimmy sold him to Ted and Liz Edgar's yard in Warwickshire, England. Liz Edgar jumped him with success and he was then sold on to Paul Schockemöhle, who took him to his stables in Mühlen, Germany and renamed him Boomerang.

Macken by this time had moved into the heartland of continental competition when he went to the Schockemöhle brothers Paul and Alwin in the Spring of 1975. A rich German owner Dr Herbert Schnapka eased the young Irishman's way into exile by providing horses for him to ride in the Schockemöhle yard.[1] Easter Parade, Macken's best horse at the time, broke his back in a freak accident on his way back from the cancelled spring meeting at Hickstead in 1975. By way of an interim replacement, Paul Schockemöhle said to Macken:
'...take my speed horse Boomerang for the time being until you get something better.'[2]

Better! Soon there was to be no better than Eddie Macken and Boomerang in the whole world. Over the period between 1975 and 1979, they were to win, or take second, in a record-breaking thirty-two major Grand Prix's or Derby events across Europe and in the USA.[1] Ireland's thirst for showjumping glory was quenched as all of the big classics that had eluded her for years, suddenly fell to the green. Boomerang helped Macken top the World Computer Ratings in 1976, 1977, 1978, while amassing £250,000 in prize money - record winnings at the time. (£911,000 in 2007 money)[3]

In 1977 Dr Schnapka gave the outright gift of Boomerang to Eddie Macken.[1]

Boomerang never failed him rather it is Macken who feels he ultimately let down the partnership. In 1978 they travelled to Aachen for the world championship where Macken hoped to avenge his narrow defeat on Pele at Hickstead four years earlier. When they reached the final four, the omens were looking positive. Then disaster struck. In the final round Macken was obliged to jump a round on each of his competitors’ horses and on one, Pandur Z, he made a miscalculation and picked up a quarter of a time fault – “like Tiger Woods missing a three-foot putt” – and the slip cost him gold. More than 20 years on, the pain remains sharp. “Boomerang deserved to be world champion,” he says. “Well, he was world champion because he was the best horse there. I wasn’t. I was the one who made the mistake.”

The Olympics frame his other great regret. When he and Boomerang were at the peak of their powers Macken was barred from competing at the Games because he was a professional and had sponsorship. Other countries, Macken noted, didn’t apply the rules so stringently. In Germany in 1976 he watched Alwin Schockemöhle return from Montreal with the individual gold medal Macken felt might have been his.

The 1979 European Championships, in Rotterdam again proved a bitter disappointment for the pair. Boomerang did not knock a single fence in the first three rounds and helped Con Power on Rockbarton, Gerry Mullins on Ballinderry and John Roche on Maigh Cullin to a bronze medal behind Britain and Germany.[1] Boomerang was in the individual lead and heading for gold when a judge made a late decision that he had hit the tape at the water jump, Macken rode back to protest but all to no avail and he finished in fourth place.

In the fading weeks of that year and, as it turned out, the fading moments of his magnificent career, Boomerang proved how great he was again and again. In September, he and Macken made their first trip to Calgary, won the main class every day and took the du Maurier Classic Grand Prix.[1] From there, in October, it was on to Wembley and their fourth win in the Horse of the Year Grand Prix. Then, at the second Dublin Indoor International in November, they won the main events on the Thursday and Friday, followed by third place in the Grand Prix. With a double clear, they were fourth in the Grand Prix at Olympia just before Christmas, and that was to be Boomerang's last major individual outing with Eddie.

But he and Macken won four consecutive Hickstead Derby's from 1976 to 1979, and also the Hamburg equivalent in 1976. They along with James Kernan on Condy, Paul Darragh on Heather Honey and Capt. Con Power on (Coolronan 1977, Castlepark 1978 and Rockbarton 1979), won the Aga Khan Trophy at the RDS Dublin (Ireland's Nations Cup) from 1977 to 1979.

In early 1980 Boomerang had to be retired because of a broken pedal bone. Then in May 1983, at 17 years of age, Boomerang had to be put to sleep and is buried at Rafeehan Stud, Kells, County Meath. His grave is marked by four evergreen trees. They are symbols of four Hickstead Derby wins, four Championships at Wembley, four clear rounds in the final of the 1978 World Championships, and four years in a row without a fence down in the Aga Khan Trophy competition in Dublin. Ni bheidh a leithéid aris ann (Irish for you won't see the likes of me again).

Major achievements

  • 1979
    • Championship, Wembley, London
    • Individual 4th, European Championships, Rotterdam, Netherlands
    • Nations Cup (Aga Khan Trophy), Dublin, Ireland
    • Nations Cup, Aachen, Germany
    • Hickstead Derby Trial, Hickstead, England
  • 1978
    • Health Trophy, Dublin Indoor International
    • Horse of the Year Grand Prix, Wembley, London
    • Hickstead Derby, Hickstead, England
    • 2nd place, Dublin Grand Prix, Dublin, Ireland
    • Nations Cup (Aga Khan Trophy), Dublin, Ireland
    • Aachen Grand Prix, Aachen, Germany
    • Championship, Aachen, Germany
    • Rome Grand Prix, Rome, Italy
    • Championship, Rome, Italy
    • Hamburg Grand Prix, Hamburg, Germany
    • Nice Grand Prix, Nice, France
    • Gothenburg Grand Prix, Gothenburg, Sweden
  • 1977
    • Brussels Grand Prix, Brussels, Belgium
    • Horse of the Year Grand Prix, Wembley, London
    • Nations Cup (Aga Khan Trophy), Dublin, Ireland
    • Hickstead Derby, Hickstead, England
    • La Baule Grand Prix, La Baule, France
    • 2nd place, Nations Cup, La Baule, France
    • 2nd place, Grand Prix, Rome, Italy
  • 1976
    • Championship, Wembley, London
    • New York Grand Prix, U.S.A
    • Helped Macken become Leading Rider in Washington.
    • Wins in Toronto gave Macken the overall award for the three shows on the North American circuit.
    • Hickstead Derby, Hickstead, England
    • Hamburg Derby, Hamburg, Germany - (8th 1975, 4th 1977, 6th 1978)
    • Professional Championship, Cardiff, Wales
    • 2nd place, Grand Prix, Lucerne, Switzerland
    • 2nd place, Nations Cup, Lucerne, Switzerland
  • 1975
    • Horse of the Year Grand Prix, Wembley, London
    • Championship, Wembley, London
    • 4 faults, Hickstead Derby, Hickstead, England
    • Hickstead Derby Trial, Hickstead, England
    • 2nd place, Dublin Grand Prix, Dublin, Ireland
    • 2nd place, Nations Cup (Aga Khan Trophy), Dublin, Ireland
    • St. Gallen Grand Prix, St. Gallen, Switzerland
    • Wiesbaden Grand Prix, Wiesbaden, Germany


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Slavin, Michael (1998). Show Jumping Legends, Ireland 1868 -1998. Wolfhound Press. ISBN 0-86327-657-1. 
  2. Horse and Hound, London: 11 February 1988: p. 36.
  3. www.measuringworth.com


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