Caroline Powell (nee Turner) was born in Lower Hutt in 1973, but for a long time Christchurch was home.
She moved to Scotland in 1992 to work in Clive Storey’s point-to-point yard and raced five times before “retiring”.
She then worked for former Badminton winner Ian Stark, grooming for him at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. The same year she married Richard Powell and moved to the outskirts of Kelso, where he managed a holiday park as well as breeding sheep and horses.
Powell began competing at Burghley in 1999 and at Badminton in 2000 and steadily her record built.
She made her New Zealand debut at the 2006 world championships in Aachen, Germany, when, riding Lenamore, she finished 26th.
Still on Lenamore, her trusty grey, she was 23rd at Burghley and 12th at Badminton in 2007.
Rising to another level, Powell and Lenamore were right up with the elite at Badminton in 2008, finishing fourth. She also performed well at Burghley, with an eight placing.
Powell earned selection for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, forming the New Zealand team with Mark Todd, Andrew Nicholson, Joe Meyer and Heelan Tompkins. She and Lenamore were the top performed of the New Zealand team that finished fifth. Her 73.20 points placed her 14th on the individual standings.
In 2009, she was ninth at Badminton.
She really grabbed the equestrian world’s attention in 2010, when she won the prestigious Burghley event, helped Todd, Nicholson and Clark Johnstone to a bronze medal in the world championship teams event in Lexington, United States, and finished a close fifth at Badminton.
Her Burghley performance was brilliant. She totalled just 38.7 points and won clearly from William Fox-Pitt and Clayton Fredericks. She was the fourth New Zealander, after Todd, Blyth Tait and Nicholson, to win at Burghley. Powell was second after the dressage with 38.7 points and incurred no points in either the cross-country or the show-jumping.
"When I came over in 1992 I never dreamed this would happen," Powell said afterwards. "I started here as a groom, but I took every door that was opened to me and this is what has happened. I am overwhelmed."
Powell had a consistent 2011, making the top 10 in all but one event she contested, and finishing fourth at Burghley and sixth at Badminton.
In 2012, she formed part of the New Zealand three-day evening team for the London Olympics, alongside veterans Nicholson and Todd and the rising Jock Paget and Jonelle Richards.
Powell helped the New Zealanders secure a bronze medal at Greenwich Park. They were fourth after the dressage and cross-country and improved to the bronze medal position behind Germany and Britain during the final-day showjumping. Riding Lenamore, the oldest horse in the competition at 19, Powell finished fourth of the five New Zealanders with 57.80 points. In the individual competition, she was 23rd after the first round of showjumping, but because there were three New Zealanders ahead of her, she was not eligible to contest the second round.
She relocated to England late in 2012.
Caroline's Games History
Olympic Summer Games London 2012
- Dressage Day 2: 52.20 Cross Country: 53.8 Jumping Qualifier: 4.00 Q
- Dressage Day 2: 128.20 Dressage Day 1: Cross Country: 133.4 Jumping Final: 144.40 3
Olympic Summer Games Beijing 2008
- Cross Country: 69.20 Dressage - Day 2: 48.00 Jumping - Final: 73.20 Jumping - Qualifier: 73.20
- Cross Country: 230.90 Jumping - Final: 240.90 Dressage - Day 1: 149.60 Dressage - Day 2: 136.50