Horse of the Year champ back in the saddle

By Aroha Treacher
  • North Island: East Coast

Twenty-one-year-old champion show jumper Lily Tootill is hoping for back to back wins at the Olympic Cup event in this year's Horse of the Year competition after taking it out last year. 

Winning the Olympic Cup last year with her horse Ulysses was a career highlight.

"It was definitely the biggest win of my career so far to win the Olympic Cup at Horse of the Year," says Tootill, "I was absolutely over the moon at the time and it's still definitely one of the biggest achievements I've had to date." 

Tootill is in the High Performance Futures squad and has won countless ribbons and medals over the years, with the ultimate aim of making it internationally.

"I'd love to go to the World Equestrian Games or the Olympics one day but especially with equestrian sport.  It really is a tough gig.  You've really got to be in the right place, at the right time, doing the right thing."

She'll compete in the show jumping Lady Rider event today and has also been selected for the New Zealand team to compete against Australia in the Silver Fern Stakes jumping event on Friday.

"It definitely makes you eligible to compete in more teams in the future and obviously you get bragging rights, you know, 'we beat Australia'," she says with a laugh.

After Horse of the Year she'll head to Australia for six weeks to gain valuable experience and compete in two separate competitions before heading back home.