Helen McNaught makes history in New Zealand

Helen McNaught-McFarlane made history this week as the first Brit to ever win the Olympic Cup in New Zealand’s Horse of the Year.

She bagged the top-billed, Showjumper of the Year crown on the final day of the six-day extravaganza in a head-to-head jump-off against New Zealand’s Amanda Wilson aboard Showtym Cassanova over an imposing, not unsubstantial track of 1.57m. Course-designer Werner Deeg asked questions at every turn.

Helen and the Polish-bred 10-year-old Carnutelabryere, one of seven initial clears, were the only pair to produce a treble clear to take the class in style in front of a packed grandstand. After hitting an early fence, her rival admitted defeat and retired.

“It was a great class out there, this is the show we all gear up for – this is where it’s at.”

An unusual treat at the ringside could be contributed to the success of Carnutelabryere – aka ‘Brian’ – Bananas!

“He loves them,” said Helen, who originates from Hinckley, Leics, but spent almost two decades in America showjumping and training.

She met her Kiwi husband of three years, former Olympic showjumper Duncan McFarlane, in California. They are now based in Taupo, New Zealand, and are kept busy running training clinics alongside competing.

Photo © Christine Dawkins/Cornege Photography