10 Unforgettable Olympians: Waikare

In our countdown to Rio, we take a look at 10 of New Zealand's most memorable Olympic horses

waikare sydney 2000
(Image: Barbara Thomson)

Rider: Kallista Field

SYDNEY, 2000

Kallista Field and the 14-year-old mare Waikare were our first Olympic dressage representatives, but not our first qualifiers. That honour went to Kallista’s mother, Sharon, and her NZ-bred Hanoverian, Mosaic, who qualified for – but were not sent to – Atlanta. (Ironically, Mosaic did compete in Atlanta with his new owner, Australian Mary Hanna. He performed well and finished 24th overall.)

Waikare, a dark bay by the Hanoverian Witzbold, from a thoroughbred mare, Rocklyn (Rocky Mountain), was bred by Brian and Marie Pyke. She was bought by Sharon as a weanling, trained by her to Grand Prix level, and given to Kallista for the Olympic bid.

Kallista and ‘Kerry’ won their Sydney berth with a great performance in the FEI World Challenge in Taupo, 1999, beating riders from Israel, Japan and Korea. Their score of 65.6% was 2% higher than any other, and well clear of the requisite 63%.

They had Grand Prix wins across the Tasman in the lead-up to the Games, and broke records here with a score of 67.24% at Hawera.

waikare
(Image: NZHP Libarary)

Shortly before the Olympics, 22-year-old Kallista declared that a mark of 66% would be as good as a gold medal for her. She and Waikare were magic on the day, especially in passage, transitions and changes: their score was 66.44%.

A delighted Kallista announced Waikare’s retirement before realising that they were in the final 25 and had qualified for the Special.

kallista field+WaikareThe pair returned to the ring three days later and charmed the huge crowd with a grand effort, moving up from 21st to 18th overall on a personal and New Zealand record score of 68.04%. They were just one place and less than two points from qualifying for the kür, which to this day remains New Zealand’s best international dressage performance.

Waikare returned home to Paihiatua with the Fields, and went on to have four foals; the first, Waimoana, was by Weltmeyer, and the others all by the Fields’ (now deceased) stallion, Salutation.

Kallista reports that Kerry looks “amazing” in 2016 at the grand old age of rising 30, and is still the queen, ruling the paddock, despite having no teeth. Her youngest offspring, Seraphim FE, is nine, and Kallista says he is the best of the bunch.