Month: October 2016


The last day of the three-day Equidays show saw the prizes being awarded for two very popular classes where horses and riders had to participate in competition for the last three days.


In the Kaimanawa Heritage Horses Stallion Challenge, trainers had 150 days to tame, geld and train their newly mustered and randomly assigned Kaimanawa stallion. Tina Fagan won the class for the second year in a row, this year with Bullwinkle. “It feels really good to come out and win it with another horse, a different type of horse. He is more energetic, he has a lot more play drive, he likes to move a lot more.”  Tina was sure that it was his personality that gave him the edge. “You can see the boy humour, he likes to get in and play and do things. People like that sparkle.”  In the future, Bullwinkle will probably do some showjumping and Tina plans on doing more liberty demonstrations with the Kaimanawa pony.


Beyond the Barriers Dunstan Ex-Factor competition is for retired racehorses. Competitors chose three of six different types of competition to show off their thoroughbred horse’s skills. DSE Sunset Pass came out the winner, ridden by Donna Edwards-Smith. The 8-year-old bay gelding, by Yamanin Vital out of Janet’s Chance, had 25 racing starts including in hurdles and steeplechases.  He has taken to his life as a sports horse very well and Donna thinks he has the potential to be a four-star eventer. “He is one of nicest, most talented horses I have ever ridden with a very good brain.”


Ex-jumps jockey, Tommy Hazlett, was on hand to see one of his favourite horses do so well. “Jason Bridgman used to train him, and I used to look after him. It is a pleasure to see horses having a great life after racing, and I am so pleased he is with Donna. He is the type of horse that should go right to the top.”


David Smith, from sponsor Dunston Horse Feeds, presented the prizes. “It is such a good event but more importantly it is so well organised by Gina and Nicky. They put so much work into it. I am only too happy be able to support them.”


Coatesville’s Trey Cadwallader riding Leeara Park First Edition won the Lisa Chittick Memorial class, for the Champion of Champions in the Northern Premier Showing Championships.  The beautiful palomino pony, with the nickname of Leo, is ten years old. This is Trey’s first season on the pony. “I don’t know how to explain it, I just feel quite grateful to even be here. All my three ponies qualified for the final, so it has been an awesome show. It is one of my favourite shows of the year.”


The judges commented that there were high quality and well presented competitors in the showing classes. “They were happy competitors too, and that is always important. Every one in the final deserved to be there, so it is hard to judge but that pony definitely had the x-factor.”


Holly Morrell also had a really good show, culminating with a win in the Isuzu D-Max Cross Country and Showjumping Challenge on her two-star eventing horse, Alani.  Holly, from Taupo, was the first out on the 2,200 metre course which included both showjumping fences and John Nicholson-designed cross country fences. “This course just suited him, it was long and loopy and he just stayed in the same rythym, and just kept going. It was a little bit hard going first, no one really knew the time so you just do it and hope it is alright.  He is actually for sale, so maybe someone will buy him now. Equidays has been a great weekend, very profitable for me!”


Spectators were treated to a superb display of jumping competitions as well as world-class seminars and clinics at today’s opening day of Equidays 2016.


The two main jumping classes came down to tight finishes with intense jump-offs against the clock to determine the winners.


In the Category A FEI World Jumping Challenge, Taupo teenager Briar Burnett-Grant took out the win on Fiber Fresh Verona.  She was one of the last to go in the jump-off, and Briar’s time was just over a second faster than second place-getter Maia Coster, on Landenfeld. Third was Nicola Hammond on Carlo I.


The FEI Challenge is a two-round contest where riders of the same level compete against other riders from all over the world. Each rider jumps the same course, and the overall Category A winners in each geographical zone will have the chance to head overseas for the world final.


Briar (16) was very pleased with her young horse, especially as she hasn’t had him for that long. “It was obviously a good choice. This is going to be my first full season on him; I had him for about two months last season. I know he is a fast horse, that is naturally how he goes, so I knew if I let him do his thing he is quite a careful horse.”


Briar has a full programme of competitions on at Equidays 2016, and says it’s an event she really enjoys. “It is great to have so many spectators watching. The atmosphere is awesome.”


Olivia Ahlborn, from Napier, was the winner of the Honda New Zealand Pony Derby riding Aorangi Ragtime, beating the other five riders who made it through to the jump-off, out of the 57 starters in the class. Olivia described her win on the eye-catching Appaloosa as “pretty awesome. It is great to do this with him as we have been together for four years. He is just such a great pony. It is really cool to do really well with him.”


Olivia has had a lot of success with this wonderful pony, including winning the Speed Pony of the Year title twice. “We are in the Equidays Pony Grand Prix tomorrow, and then the Isuzu D-Max show jumping and cross-country challenge on Sunday, so that will be fun.”


Sarah West was second on Showtym Cruiser, and Isabella Du Plessis third on the well-known Kabo Silver.


The Hyundai Derby, the feature event of the second day of Equidays, was won by local rider, Lucy Olphert on a horse she and her family bred and produced.


Eve Saint Laurent has been a nine year project for Lucy. “It is just a very special and rewarding feeling when hard work and patience pays off. It has been a tough road and a lot of people have asked me why I have hung on to her. She has not been easy, but I think the good ones have those quirks and that is what makes them so special.”


Lucy went into the tough competition with a positive mindset. “We had prepared for this as best as we could, I have a very special horse and at the end of the day, you just have to ride your heart out and she jumped her heart out.”


When asked what she was going to spend the $10,000 first prize purse on, Lucy was taking the sensible approach.  “The equipment I use, the horses’ nutrition and those sensible items, I need to put the money towards those things but maybe I will be able to upgrade my tow vehicle. We are so lucky to have incredible sponsors like Hyundai. It is a really really generous prize.”


Lucy was the only rider in the two-round competition to produce two clear rounds. Vicki Wilson on Ngahiwi Showtym Premier really put the pressure on Lucy, jumping clear in the second round after having just one rail in the first round and finished second. Taupo rider, Holly Morrell was third on Pampero and last night’s horse Grand Prix winner, Amanda Wilson on Showtym Cassanova was fourth.


The class all the pony riders wanted to win was the Equidays Pony Grand Prix and the competition was hot but in the end it was Emma Watson on Fun Time who won by going just over a second faster than Deanna Horsburgh on Showtym Endeavour in the timed jump-off.


Emma gave her 12 year old part-Appaloosa pony, who goes by the nickname of ‘Pink’, a lot of the credit. “The competition was very tight, there were some really fast clear rounds. I am lucky enough to have Pink and we took an inside turn that no one else did and so we came away with the best time!” Emma was last to go in the jump off so she knew what she had to do. “It was either make it or break it with that inside turn.”


Both Lucy and Emma were raving about Equidays.  Lucy thinks this venue is world class. “I love this show, I absolutely love it. This event is very special, it brings like-minded people together for three days of awesomeness.  It is not just the competitions, but you can learn so much from the clinicians and other people’s ways of teaching.”  Emma agreed. “This show is just so amazing, the atmosphere is just awesome.”