Lady Georgina Forbes, who divides her time between the ancestoral family home at Castle Forbes, Newtownforbes, and France, has now been confirmed as the Number One owner of showjumping horses in the world as her horse, Castle Forbes Libertina finished second at the World Cup Final in Kuala Lumpur at the weekend with Antrim's Jessica Kurten on board.
This latest success comes almost twenty months after another of Lady Georgina's horses, Castle Forbes Maike, finished in the top twenty at the Olympics in Athens. Kurten's latest success at the weekend mirrored her present standing in the world rankings, number two, the highest position ever reached in the rankings by an Irish woman.
The affable Antrim woman, who is based in Germany, has never made any secret of the huge role that Lady Georgina and a string of top horses has played in her emergence in the sport. Indeed when she appeared on the Late Late Show recently, the rider was at pains to point out the huge role played by Lady Georgina.
A quiet and unassuming woman, who never courts publicity, Lady Georgina has assidiously assembled what is now arguably the finest team of showjumping horses in the world. Alongside the competition end of her equine interests, she also runs a major breeding operation and over the past couple of years has been building one of Ireland's foremost equestrian training facilities at Castle Forbes. What's interesting is that both Libertina and Maike are mares and whilst still both relatively young they will eventually feature in the Castle Forbes breeding programme.
Kurten's second place finish at the weekend's World Cup was the best Irish performance at a World Cup final since 1999 when Trevor Coyle also finished second, riding Cruising.
This latest success of the Lady Georgina and Jessica Kurten team has certainly placed Newtownforbes at the centre of the showjumping world. Remarkably the World Cup Final was also set to feature another horse with Newtownforbes connections until he was ruled out through injury at the last minute.
US rider, Richard Spooner would have been a major contender on his horse, McGuinness. This horse was bred and nurtured by Newtownforbes woman, Josephine Jordan and competed up to success at RDS level by Mohill based John McGuin-ness. At that time the horse was known as Clonguish Star and the name was changed when it was later sold to the US and joined Spooner's celebrated competition yard.