Photo Cornege Photography

KAWERAU showjumper Tom Tarver hoists his trophy high after he and his horse Equifibre Popeye won the Silver Fern Stakes at the Horse of the Year in Hastings.

TOM Tarver has his name on two of the top trophies in the world of New Zealand showjumping.

Competing at the recent Horse of the Year event in Hastings, the Kawerau rider collected the prestigious Silver Fern Stakes trophy.

Last year at the same event, Tarver won the Norwood Cup, which means he has just one more of the competition’s top three trophies – the Olympic Cup – to take away a clean sweep.

His results this year saw him fifth in the Norwood Cup, win the Silver Fern Stakes and a fifth placing in the Olympic Cup – all showjumping disciplines.

The Horse of the Year is New Zealand’s premier equestrian competition, featuring a range of horse and rider combinations from multiple disciplines, with over 1400 riders and 1800 horses competing.

The jump-off for the Silver Fern Stakes was action-packed, and the pressure went on with every clear round, each faster than the one before.

Tarver was last to go, and he cut all the corners, galloped where he could and raced down to the last. When he cleared that, he waved his helmet to the appreciative audience.

“I tried to stay calm, and not let it get to me,” he said afterwards.

“I do get a bit nervous, but I still had to go and do the job.

“I planned my season around this show. I didn’t jump much earlier on as I wanted to peak now.”

Tarver describes his horse, Equifibre Popeye, as “very consistent” and totally reliable.

UP AND OVER: EquifibrePopeye and Tom Tarver take the jump with ease.
Photo Cornege Photography

He’s a good guy, and special. We won the grand prix event in December and came sixth overall in the national series. Very consistent.”

The pair have a very busy schedule; they are about to head to the Elysian Fields international showjumping event in Queensland, Australia, where they collected a first placing last year at the second-to-top level. This year, Tarver and his trusty steed will take on the event’s top tier over nine days of competition.

Two other horses and riders will head to Queensland with Tarver.

Tarver’s day job is running Tui Glen Farm and his business Equifibre, which employs 28 people in Kawerau, growing and manufacturing premium forage products for export and domestic markets.

“I’m very lucky that I have a group of very good staff who look after the business while I’m away riding,” he said.

His goal in the long term is to compete in Europe, with the ultimate being the showjumping event at the Olympic Games.