NOT even a brain tumour could stop this showjumper from winning a prestigious international competition.

Rory Gilsenan beat his peers in the Charles Owen Supreme Working Hunter Championship at the Longines Royal International Horse Show.

The Irishman, who lives in Bicester, was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour at the end of last year, but still managed to grace the arena with his horse, Atlantic Slim, wowing the judges.

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Although his chemotherapy treatments and MRIs are ongoing, his victory at the show in Hickstead in West Sussex is proof that he is determined not to let the setback stop him from enjoying his craft.

The Irishman said: “I’m lucky the problem I have hasn’t knocked me back. I have the best family in the whole of England looking after me, which is incredible. And I haven’t taken one painkiller since I was discharged in December – not one thing. I’ve had the radiotherapy, obviously, and I’m still on the chemo, and I’ve had MRI scans.

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"All of our team and surrounding friends have been fantastic. Nobody could survive without it. We’re all so supportive of each other – I jumped my round and then ran down to warm up four other people. It helps everyone to feel positive.”

Atlantic Slim, who Mr Gilsenan says is a ‘king of a horse’, has been part of the jumper's life since the horse was just five years old.

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He said: “I got to ride him at the Horse of the Year Show and he won there which was incredible. Then he came back again in March, and since then he’s won three classes and been second four times, including a second at the Derby meeting.

“He’s a king of a horse – if you point him at anything he’d jump it, or certainly do his very best. He’s fabulous.”

Even though Mr Gilsenan has managed to rack up a number of appearances in the sport's most prestigious show rings, he said after riding at the iconic Longines International last month, the arena has not lost its magic.

He added: “The horse loves the crowd, and he can gallop really well. It’s the most incredible ring to ride around, it really is – we obviously watch it on telly a lot, and for us to get in there is just a slice of heaven.”

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“I’m just lucky. We’ve met some lovely people, too, and they’ve struggled – but I try to keep my outlook positive. God loves a trier.”

The competition also saw international showjumping being held alongside championship showing classes and national jumping competitions.

Other competitors came from Germany and Sweden.

Rory took home the Rocky IV Trophy, which was donated by prolific showing rider Louise Bell.