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Goodin: More than Balmoral Sensation

David Goodin at home riding his own Rastas Rebel Photo: Courtesy NZ Horse&Pony

NEW ZEALAND (by Sally Reid) David Goodin is one of the best-loved personalities in New Zealand’s equestrian world: a competitor, breeder and showjumping trainer, as well as mentor to many and legend to all. His name is less well known outside New and Australia, although he is – unofficially – the world’s top-ranked eventing breeder for 2016, thanks to the consistent excellence of Balmoral Sensation and rider Clarke Johnstone (NZL). Sadly the gelding is not registered with a member studbook of the WBFSH so Goodin cannot be formally recognized.

Their achievements are remarkable, nevertheless: Balmoral Sensation did not reach Europe until March 2016 and is already back in New Zealand, which makes his ranking even more amazing and the lack of public acknowledgement just a little bit sad.

Apart from breeding a truly ‘sensational’ horse, what’s special about David? A lot! Now aged 80 and suffering from Paget’s disease (exces- sive breakdown of bone for- mation, followed by disor- ganized bone remodel- ling), he still competes in showjumping, still trains young riders and still runs a 130-hectare dairy farm. It’s admirable, but it’s not what makes him so adored in his homeland: that’s down to his super-nice personality and his total lack of arrogance.

Goodin’s early days of com- petition were typical of New Zealand in the 1940s: ponies travelling to shows in cattle trucks, boys riding bare-headed and in short pants, and nothing taken too seriously. He and a won- derful part-Clydesdale called Telebrae became national showjumping superstars in the 1950s; the first NZ combination to clear six feet (1m82), which they achieved over a massive triple bar...