Thursday, September 23, 2010

New Zealand: World quest for Higgins combo - Full Article

Last updated 13:04 24/09/2010

Representing New Zealand is becoming a bit of a family affair in the Higgins household.

This time it isn't shooter Phillip wearing the silver fern. Instead, it is wife Alison's turn to do the nation proud.

On Sunday, she and their horse Twynham El Omar will line up in the 160km endurance race at the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky.

The Nelson-based combination will be one of three Kiwi combos on the starting line.

But it was Phillip who started Omar, breaking him in and riding him for the first three years.

As a shooter, Phillip represented New Zealand at both world championship and world cup level. These days, he's happier grooming for his wife in her bid for glory.

Omar is the third of the late Leo Nisbett's horses to represent New Zealand at world championship level. In the hands of Alison, he won the 2010 100-mile South Island Championship.

She's got no qualms about the world games race she faces this week, but says that starting line will be something else.

"We're used to 1am starts, when everyone is calm – we'll be in a pack with 130 or so others. It's going to be tough."

It's not the first time she has been chosen to represent New Zealand. In 2008, she and Omar got the nod for the World Endurance Championships in Malaysia but turned it down over worries about heat and humidity...

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