New Zealand eventer Heelan Tompkins will receive a wonderful Christmas present this year when her brilliant old campaigner Glengarrick arrives at her home on North Island on 24 December.

Heelan was planning to leave the 20-year-old in Europe indefinitely after he finished seventh at this summer’s World Equestrian Games, but an English acquaintance — who does not wish to be named — offered to foot the bill for Glengarrick’s flight.

Heelan Tompkins and Glengarrick

A thrilled Heelan told H&H: “A horse lover who had followed Glengarrick’s career e-mailed me and asked how I was getting on. I said everything was great, except that I was missing ‘Nugget’. He replied and said he’d send him home for me. It’ll be the best thing to be able to look out of the window and see Nugget.”

Heelan has not yet made definite plans for Glengarrick, who was also best of the Kiwi team when seventh at the Athens Olympics, where he was the oldest horse competing.

“He’s been classed as old since he was 16, and he does age quickly in the paddock, but when he goes into the startbox he feels like a six-year-old,” said Heelan. “The pressure is different on an old horse because you get paranoid about what people think, but you do what you think is right.”

  • This news report was first published in Horse & Hound (21 December, ’06)