Growing up in Westport Co. Mayo, Ireland, Tim Bourke inherited his love for horses from his grandmother. He spent his early childhood days developing his riding skills at her riding school, Knappa Beg Stables. Bourke joined the Clew Bay Pony Club, achieved his A-rating, and later attended Gurteen Agricultural College. During his years at Gurteen, he worked and rode young horses for John Craig, who has since played an integral role in Bourke’s riding career in both Ireland and the United States.
Upon graduation, Bourke was looking for a job and career direction and, through mutual friends, found himself on a plane headed stateside to the legendary Bruce Davidson’s farm. Three months turned into two years working for Davidson, and Bourke credits Davidson for starting him on the path towards establishing a life in the United States. Through Davidson’s guidance and support, Bourke learned the inner workings of producing top-level event horses and got a true taste for U.S. eventing.
While traveling to top competitions with Davidson, Bourke realized this was the space he also wanted to compete in. He and his wife (fellow professional event rider Marley Stone Bourke) headed to Ireland for the year with plans to return to the U.S. In Ireland, Bourke worked riding showjumpers for Jonathan Reape, during which time he met and started his soon-to-be top horse, Luckaun Quality. Recognizing the obsession Bourke had with the rangy gelding, the Reapes’ graciously enabled him to bring him back to the U.S.
Bourke then landed a job as assistant trainer to top eventer Sharon White. In his six years working for White, he had the opportunity to ride and compete sales horses, in addition to developing a widespread student base.
Bourke has since established himself as not only a top rider, but also a highly sought-after trainer. He was named to the Irish High Performance list and is looking forward to the development and future success of Bourke Eventing. In 2015, Bourke and Luckaun Quality (barn name Obie) completed the Rolex Kentucky CCI4*, finishing in 18th place. The pair followed that up by heading to England for Burghley CCI4*, where they were the highest placed Irish pair. Bourke has since finished in 11th at Rolex 2016, won the Bank One Trophy as the highest placed owner-rider, and followed with a 16th place finish at Rolex 2017. Following this additional Top 20 finish at the Kentucky CCI4* event, Bourke and Obie were named to the Irish World Equestrian Games Team as the Traveling Reserve.