Rio Olympian Julie Brougham is not often out of the loop, but her induction into the Horse of the Year Hall of Fame most definitely caught her flat footed.
“I still can’t believe it,” says the dressage superstar who holds the Australasian record for Grand Prix Freestyle to Music and can lay claim to multiple national titles and awards. “I have had some surprises in my life, but that took the cake.”
She was thankful she had a couple of hours to prepare herself before the announcement was made. Brougham paid tribute to the tremendous support she had received from her family, and in particular husband David.
“For any of us athletes – and particularly equestrian athletes – we don’t do it on our own. There are so many behind us, and they are usually family.”
But none of her success would be possible without her fiery little German import Vom Feinsten. “That one little chestnut ginger nut – I wouldn’t be in the Hall of Fame without him,” she said. “I have had a lot of horses who have done well but nothing like Steiny – he is very special.”
Brougham said it was a huge honour to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
“For a moment I thought it was a bit soon because I am nowhere near finished with my competing . . . I feel so humbled to be on that board with the others.”
Brougham was just the third Kiwi rider to compete in dressage at Olympic level. At Rio, she was the oldest member of the wider New Zealand team – a title she rather hesitantly embraced.
She and the nearly 15-year-old Vom Feinsten are currently chasing selection for the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games to be held in the United States in September.
By Diana Dobson – HP Media Liaison
Photos by Libby Law/ESNZ