Olympian and world champ Vaughn Jefferis didn’t have to think twice about where he would like his superstar horse Bounce honoured with a special trophy. The Bounce Trophy will be annually presented to the winner of the three star at the 2014 BNZ Kihikihi International Horse Trial.

“It’s perfect,” says Jefferis. “I wanted him to be remembered through a top competition, and Kihikihi is the best in the country. This is such a great event and the Waikato is home for me. Andrew (Nicholson) and I were team mates for a long time and I have known John for most of our lives. It is fitting that Bounce’s trophy is at Kihikihi.” Jefferis also speaks highly of John and Andrew’s mother Heather. “She was just a fantastic person... everyone’s other mum.”

Thirty-one-year-old Bounce died last year, but his spirit lives on. “I loved that horse from the moment I saw him,” said Jefferis.

The two proved a formidable partnership, winning the national one and three day championships in New Zealand before bursting onto the world stage. At their first Badminton outing they were third before heading to The Hague where they won the individual title at the World Championships.

Bounce and Jefferis did three more Badminton events, for a second, fifth and 10th in 1996, 1997 and 1998. In 1996 they were part of the bronze medal-winning team at the Atlanta Olympics, and in 1998 the gold medal-winning team at the World Champs in Rome. The same year he was named European Eventing Horse of the Year.

Together they competed in European Championships and Trans Tasman events – winning accolades the world over.

“I think winning the world champs in 1994 was our most precious victory,” says Jefferis. “He had such a huge following – he was a cute little black horse with a lot of spark . . . he was always happy, and could jump anything. He was a beautiful quality athlete. He was beautifully bred – out of Western Note.... bred to gallop with a beautiful jump and gorgeous dressage.”

Their last international outing was the Sydney Olympics in 2000, and at 18 years old Bounce did his final three star at the Puhinui Three Day Event going out in style with back to back victories.

“It was a tough decision because at 18 he was so sound and well and had so much more left, but I wanted him to leave on a high,” says Jefferis.

Bounce is buried at the stables at his home in Matangi.

Photo credit: Barbara Thomson Photography

Date Added: Tuesday, 25th February 2014