With a win to the New Zealanders on the first day, and the Australians on the second, the scene was set for a stellar battle on the final day and overall honours in the Trans-Tasman Young Rider competition at the Larsen Sawmilling Show Jumping Champs in Gisborne.
There was nothing but praise all round for the riders – New Zealanders Lucinda Askin (Ashburton), Matt Irvine (Takapau), Nakeysha Lammers (Taranaki) and Oliver Croucher (Rotorua), and the Australian visitors, Jamie Priestley, Jessie Rice-Ward, Madeline Sinderberry and Jessica Tripp. All riders competed on borrowed horses.
All of the New Zealanders contributed to the final result.
New Zealand chef d’equipe and trainer John Cottle was rapt with his team but also acknowledged the visitors.
“It was a good close contest,” he said. “After a not so good round on the second day, our riders stepped up today. The horses were getting tired and the riders just needed to get the job done. They have to use their instincts as they get on new horses.”
“My job was very easy – all of my riders are very talented. The Aussies had around 70 young riders apply to be on their team, so the best of theirs are here.”
John also extended thanks to those who had loaned the “nice bunch of horses”.
However, he said it was disappointing to see the Gisborne show clash with another in Hawera, depleting fields somewhat.
Australian chef d’equipe and trainer Becky Jenkins was making her second visit to Gisborne’s January champs, and had hoped her team could replicate last year’s winning efforts. However, it wasn’t to be.
“It has been a fantastic experience. I am very proud of the girls – they all dug deep. Things fell apart a bit in the first round today but they put it all back together for the second and did well.”
She felt the horses had been very even across the two pools, with riders swapping each day. “It made for a very even playing field. It shows the riders’ skills – each horse has its little quirks and the rider has to sort that all out very quickly.”
The hospitality extended to the visitors had been “amazing”, and she was heartened to see the real friendship between the two sides.
“It’s a fierce competition but there was amazing camaraderie between all the riders – each was keen and happy to share information about each horse. While each team wants to win, they are all also very good friends.”
Both chefs, course designer John Vallance and many riders had plenty of praise for the team behind the championships, and particularly the footing, which was mostly down to the dedication of Ange Dolman, who had been irrigating the grounds for a month in the build-up to the show.
Teams picked up bonus points for three clears in a single round, with five for a win and three for second.
Results – Trans-Tasman Young Rider Test
New Zealand: Oliver Croucher, La Perla (owned by Matt Irvine and Maurice Beatson) 0 0, Lucinda Askin, Petanque (owned by the Lammers family) 4 0, Matt Irvine, Centaroc (owned by Matilda Shotter-Davies) 0 0, Nakeysha Lammers, KPH Stow Away (owned by Melissa Stratford) 0 DNS.
Australia: Jamie Priestley, Kiwi Coronation (owned by Fraser Tombleson and Rachel Martin) 8 0, Jessie Rice-Ward, La Bam (owned by Danielle Maurer) 0 8, Jessica Trip, Delta Fasteux (owned by the Croucher family) 4 0, Madeline Sinderberry, Amarula MVNZ (owned by Keean Cooper) 7 0.
New Zealand: Oliver Croucher, Kiwi Coronation 4 4; Lucinda Askin, Delta Fasteux 0 0; Matt Irvine, Amarula MVNZ 4 4; Nakeysha Lammers, La Bam 0 13.
Australia: Jamie Priestley, KPH Stow Away 0 8; Jessie Rice-Ward, La Perla 0 0; Jessica Trip, Centaroc E 12, Madeline Sinderberry on Petanque, 0 0.
New Zealand: Oliver Croucher, La Bam 0 4; Lucinda Askin, KPH Stow Away 4 0; Matt Irvine, Kiwi Coronation 0 8; Nakeysha Lammers, Petanque 0 0.
Australia: Jamie Priestley, Amarula MVNZ 8 0; Jessica Trip, La Perla 8 0; Madeline Sinderberry, Centaroc 4 0.
Other results from the show
Bayley’s Real Estate Premier League: Fraser Tombleson (Gisborne) Mea I 1, Jasmine Sketchley (Whangarei) Bravado Ego Z 2, Emily Hayward (Te Awamutu) Yandoo Lady Gold 3, Tess Clark (Gisborne) Sinatra II 4, Emily Hayward (Te Awamutu) AP Ninja 5, Oliver Croucher (Rotorua) Waitangi Surf 6.
Country TV Pony Grand Prix: Emma Watson (Morrinsville) Maddox Fun House 1, Brett Horsburgh (Cambridge) Showtym Endeavour 2, Brooke Hawthorne (Cambridge) Easy As 3, Georgia Bouzaid (Cambridge) Redcliffs Bill 4, Tyla Hackett (Waiuku) The Dreamer 5, Phoebe Burns (Hawke’s Bay) Galaxy Masterpiece 6.
FMG Young Rider Series: Leeshelle Small (Auckland) AMS Ajaccio NZPH 1, Oliver Croucher (Rotorua) Waitangi Surf 2, Matt Irvine (Takapau) Wall Street III 3, Bryony Smith (Muriwai) Ngahiwi Warrior 4, Emily Hayward (Te Awamutu) Yandoo Lady Gold 5, Mikayla Herbert (Rotorua) Snow Storm 6.
Dunstan Horsefeeds & EquiFibre Junior Rider with Equitation: Tyla Hackett (Waiuku) Gin 1, Emma Watson (Morrinsville) Maddox Kiwi Silverkee 2, Emelia Forsyth (Clevedon) Leeston Eagle 3, Sarah McKinnon (Wairoa) Matilda II 4, Emma-Kate Wilson (Hamilton) Bjorking 5, Sinead Dolman (Gisborne) Kiwi Lansing 6.
Dunstan Horsefeeds & EquiFibre Pro Amateur Rider Series: Louise Bowie (Pahiatua) Kiwi Hammer 1, Rebecca Porter (Napier) Kiwi Jet 2, Karen Riddle (Rotorua) LC Talent 3, Donna Atkinson (Te Puke) Dob Em In 4, Shelley Ross (Helensville) Onward 5, Robbie McKay (Opotiki) My Bush Baby 6.
Caledonian Holdings Amateur Rider Series: Holly Baines (Gisborne) PreMo 1, Caroline Sutherland (Whakatane) Layla MVNZ 2, June Berrington (Whakatane) Kiwi Iron Mark 3, Merran Hain (Gisborne) Untouchable 4, Graeme Isaacson (Waipukurau) Pokere 5, Jenny Randall (Gisborne) Nero Bello 6.
Main-Events University Series: Todd Magner (Hokitika) Awatuna Jonesy 1, Bryony Smith (Muriwai) Ngahiwi Indigo 2, Rebecca Porter (Napier) Mr Harrison 3, Tristan Thomas (Rotorua) Airborne MVNZ 4
Purepine Shavings Seven-Year-Old Series: Oliver Croucher (Rotorua) Kiwi King 1, Jesse Linton (Hastings) Eye Wonder 2, Julie Davey (Hastings) Ngahiwi Stone 3, Natasha Brooks (Cambridge) Twerk 4, Danielle Maurer (Kaukapakapa) Henton Exchequer 5, Leeshelle Small (Auckland) AMS Mr Muscles 6.
Mitavite Six-Year-Old Series: Logan Massie (Dannevirke) Lamondo GNZ and Jesse Linton (Hastings) Vitess =1.
East Coast Five-Year-Old Series: Anna Rasmussen (Hastings) Expozay 1.
RESULTS – Show hunter
ESNZ combined junior/adult rider equitation 1m: Tristan Thomas (Rotorua) Airborne MVNZ 1, Henrike Puketapu (Gisborne) Diplomat MVNZ 2, Rosie Mottart (Gisborne) Weiti Jubilee 3, Rebecca Conole (Masterton) Private Benjamin III 4, Sage Harding (Wairoa) Sock It 5.
NRM open horse high points 1.1m: Merran Hain (Gisborne) Untouchable 1, Holly Baines (Gisborne) Hero 2, Larina Dolman (Gisborne) Floriant DHU 3, Leah Porter (Napier) De Becker 4, Rebecca Conole (Masterton) Private Benjamin III 5.
ESNZ pony rider equitation 80cm: Jessica McCann (Gisborne) Last Spring 1, Amelia Paull (Gisborne) Pine Hollow MJK Swiper 2.
Aniwell open high points 90cm C: Skye Edwards (Opotiki) My Heekin Special 1, Dylan Bibby (Onga Onga) Daisy Patch 2, Annabel Kerr (Hastings) Wemblebrook Liberty Fair 3, Jessica McCann (Gisborne) Last Spring 4.
Combined GYRO Plastics junior and ESNZ amateur high pouts HOY:Tristan Thomas (Rotorua) Airborne MVNZ 1, Leah Porter (Napier) De Becker 2, Rosie Mottart (Gisborne) Weiti Jubilee 3, Holly Baines (Gisborne) Hero 4, Eugene Black (Whakatane) Masaccio 5.
Combined ESNZ junior/adult rider equitation 1m: Tristan Thomas (Rotorua) Airborne MVNZ 1, Jesse Linton (Hastings) Vitess 2, Rosie Mottart (Gisborne) Weiti Jubilee 3.
NRM HOYQ horse highpoints 1.1m: Merran Hain (Gisborne) Untouchable 1, Tristan Thomas (Rotorua) Airborne MVNZ 2, Leah Porter (Napier) De Becker 3, Jesse Linton (Hastings) Vitess 4. Holly Baines (Gisborne) PreMo 5.
Burger King HOYQ pony highpoints 70cm B: Lucy Browne (Ohaupo) Awhero Awatea Idaho 1, Ella Rouse (Gisborne) Ruby Tunes 2, Katelyn Peterson (Whakatane) My Sweet Nevaeh 3, Janey Pease (Piopio) Pied Piper 4, Amelia Paull (Gisborne) Pine Hollow Alpha Gold 5.
GYRO Plastics junior highpoints HOYQ 1m: Larina Dolman (Gisborne) Floriant DHU 1, Lucy Win-Hewetson (Gisborne) Tangaroa 2, Tristan Thomas (Rotorua) Airborne MVNZ 3, Isabella Collier (Gisborne) Silver Coin 4.
ESNZ amateur highpoints HOYQ 1m: Merran Hain (Gisborne) Untouchable 1, Leah Porter (Napier) De Becker 2, June Berrington (Whakatane) Kiwi Iron Mark 3, Rebecca Conole (Masterton) Private Benjamin III 4, Eugene Black (Whakatane) Masaccio 5.
ESNZ Category A pony high points 70cm: Emma Bates (Rotorua) My Gemma Bear 1, Isobel Jayne Bevitt (Gisborne) Where’s Wally 2, Lily Beaufoy (Gisborne) Glenbrook Barney 3.