How do you make the biggest decision of your life? When do you know that the moment is exactly right? What happens if you fail?

New Zealand event rider Virginia “Ginny” Thompson has been through that agonizing thought process many times before. At the end of 2017, the now 27-year-old caught a wave that carried her from the small, relaxed pool of New Zealand eventing to the open ocean of the sport in England.

“I always knew that if I wanted to forge a real career in the sport that I loved, I would have to leave New Zealand and come to England. The level of competition in the U.K. is just so much more fierce; you are competing against the very best riders in the world at every event, week in and week out,” she says.

“After Star Nouveau [“Paige”] and I finished eighth in the CCI5* at Adelaide in November 2017, I knew I either had to sell her at home in New Zealand and use the money to build up a team, or gamble and take her to England. I knew she wasn’t going to win a championship, but she’s a brilliant cross-country horse — and now she has romped round both Badminton and Burghley. She’s allowing me to live the dream.”

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