Teenager Tim Myers sprang a major surprise when winning a World Cup showjumping qualifying event at Taupo on Saturday.
Riding his 10-year-old gelding Pick Me Up NZPH, the Manutahi apprentice farrier won at only his second outing in the top league.
The rookie combination finished fourth in the previous round at Feilding two weeks earlier.
"It's easily my top achievement," Myers said yesterday.
"The step up [from young rider ranks] is quite big and the course itself [fence height] was very big, so it was a very good win."
A member of the prominent south Taranaki horse racing family, Myers, 19, was riding horses almost before he could walk and has represented New Zealand overseas at pony club level.
Competing against far more experienced opposition, including international Katie McVean, Myers had hoped to finish second after incurring four faults for dropping a rail in the opening round then going clear in the second round.
"I thought I would finish second and I was really stoked about that," he said.
Myers was out the back of the arena, not watching, when leading rider Bernard Denton rode his second round.
"He pulled a couple of rails and we got the win. I could tell by the reaction of the crowd that I might be in luck."
The World Cup qualifying series is run in eight zones around the world with the top combination in each qualifying for the final, which is hosted by a different country each year.
"Because I missed the first two rounds this year I wasn't really gunning to win the series," Myers said.
However, with four rounds remaining, Myers has now become a contender. "I'd like to think the horse is set to go places."
Myers bought Pick Me NZPH three years ago from Tom Tarver- Priebe, of the Eastern Bay of Plenty, and opted to bypass the young rider classes to focus on the bigger league this summer.
Round five of the World Cup qualifying series is at Dannevirke on January 5 and 6.
- Taranaki Daily News
Is Ma'a Nonu returning to the Hurricanes ...Related story: Ma'a Nonu's return to Hurricanes confirmed