Nigel Coupe hailed his horse with “a heart of gold” after completing a spectacular treble on the final evening at Horse of the Year Show, Birmingham’s NEC Genting Arena. Golvers Hill, a 14-year-old bay gelding that once competed as a working hunter at HOYS, took the Leading Showjumper of the Year grand prix title.
John Whitaker had set a brilliant time of 38.88 seconds with Argento, which left Nigel no choice but to do it the hard way. Clocking 38 seconds exactly, Nigel landed the £13,200 top prize, with Robert Smith and Ilton finishing third.
It proved a pulsating finish to a memorable five days of action at the Genting Arena, but it was Lancashire-based Nigel’s night following a finale to savour.
“It’s amazing,” Nigel said. “I first came here in 1986, and we won the leading pony class in 1987, and finally to win the big one here is amazing. He is a top, top horse. He has just got a heart of gold, and there is not a lot more you can say about him. You have got to have a go in the jump-off, but you should also pinch yourself a little bit. We work hard, and this year we have had an exceptional year. He is a horse that just doesn’t get fazed.”
Despite being bumped to second in the grand prix class, John Whitaker took the Leading Athlete Award which was presented to the horse/rider combination who had accumulated the most points throughout the show.
Image credit: Julian Portch photography