Bill Noble is a regular contributor to our New Zealand Horse & Pony magazine, so we were delighted when he was honoured with induction into the Horse of the Year Hall of Fame in Hastings last night.
Bill, who has won five HOY titles on three different horses, and remains the only person to have won three consecutive Dressage Horse of the Year crowns, received his award from last year’s inductee Katie Laurie.
The Waikato rider, coach and mentor has enjoyed a long and highly distinguished career in both New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Bill has worked with many riders over the years, including Sir Mark Todd, and was instrumental in assisting New Zealand to gold medal glory at the Seoul Olympics. He was humbled to be called to the stage, where he was presented with his certificate by Katie.
“Dressage in this country is improving . . . it is definitely on the way up,” he said. “While we are nowhere near the world level yet, I see no reason why we can’t get there. New Zealand has some fantastic horses, we just need to learn to ride them a little better.”
He also paid tribute to Linda Moughan, owner of Airthrey Highlander, the stallion he most recently won Dressage Horse of the Year aboard, and his wife Felicity. Between Felicity and daughter Anya, who is now competing on Airthrey Highlander, he is kept well grounded.
As well as Bill’s fabulous honour, it was great to see Central Hawke’s Bay’s Kevin Thompson honoured with the David Ross Memorial Award for his outstanding volunteer service to HOY.
His lifelong passion with equestrian started with Pony Club as a child, and covered many positions, including district commissioner, branch head instructor and more recently as a technical delegate and FEI judge.
He has been involved with HOY for many years, and when not on official duties, is likely to be found on the sideline watching his granddaughter competing at the show. Kevin extended thanks to his father for instilling a love of horses, and his wife for ‘putting up’ with him for all the years he has chased horses.