With just a few more sleeps to go before we head off to Hastings for the 2018 Horse of the Year Show, there’re quite a few updates to share on who will be there, what will be happening and a chance to look back on some of the history of this full-on show. Of course there is currently a cyclone warming up in the Pacific, but at this stage the weather forecasters are predicting it will arrive before the show starts. Fingers crossed!
Out with injury
Let’s get the other bad news out of the way. Two horses we were really looking forward to seeing perform in the big show jumping events won’t be coming after all.
Rose Alfeld announced a few days ago that her superstar My Super Nova won’t be contesting the Olympic Cup. Having won so many good classes in the last few seasons, including the World Cup series, he was a serious contender for the coveted title of Horse of the Year and the Olympic Cup. Rose summed it up well when she made the announcement.
“Unfortunately, this is a sport of highs and lows, and when you have so many good days you’ve got to expect some bad as well. Yesterday [3 March] I had to let my dream of jumping the Olympic Cup go for another year. My Super Nova is out for the rest of the season due to injury. We have had a fantastic run and hope to be back next season after some serious TLC and rehabilitation.” Rose will still be competing her six-year-old Cadenza NZPH at the show.
The other announcement was just a few days earlier from Claudia Hay. “Very, very disappointed to say that Centavos won’t be attending any more shows this season. He has knocked his leg on the side of a stall and essentially has bruised the lining of his suspensory ligament. His prognosis looks excellent but he needs a few weeks’ rest for now. Thanks to everyone who follows and supports Centavos and me, and we look forward to being back 100% next season.”
We hope the two horses make a full recovery, and that we will soon see them out competing again.
One of the horses we are really looking forward to seeing again is Balmoral Sensation, who is entered in the Eventing Horse of the Year three-star title class.
Clarke Johnstone reports that his Olympic horse is “quite fresh!”. Clarke has him entered in the IRT Horse 1.40m jumping class on the first day of HOY (Tuesday), which might be a good plan as the eventing dressage phase isn’t until Friday. Clarke will have a busy show: he has six horses entered, both in eventing and show jumping. He reports that, “All six are fit and well a week out, so that’s a good place to start!”
There are 24 contesting the three-star and they will have top international judges to perform in front of. Switzerland’s Christian Landolt was the President of the Ground Jury when Clarke and Balmoral Sensation won the Adelaide 4*, but this will be Christian’s first-ever visit to HOY. Englishwoman Annabel Scrimgeour is also a first-timer to this show, but she comes to the judging panel with huge knowledge and experience. She has worked closely with Andrew Nicholson for many years on both the dressage and fitness work for his horses, and we know he holds her in very high regard as a key member of his team. The third judge on the panel is Helen Christie, who has been to HOY many times and no doubt will have no problems finding all the best places in Hawke’s Bay to take the other eventing ground jury to, should they get a bit of time out from judging.
The Technical Delegate for eventing this year is Sweden’s Christian Persson. An Olympian in his own right, Christian also has considerable experience as a TD at the highest level.
Another major piece of eventing news is that there is a change of cross-country course designer this year. While John Nicholson has done the designing for many years, Chris Ross is taking over the responsibility, so it will be VERY interesting to see what changes there are. Will the riders have to go through the marquee again?
There are still a few vacancies for jump judges for the Saturday. You get free entry and a lovely lunch, so if you can help out, email email@example.com.
To add to the excitement of Friday’s Horseware Silver Fern Stakes, there will be an trans-Tasman team tussle. The Australian side consists of Brooke Langbecker, 20, riding the chestnut stallion Quintago 1, Clint Beresford, who was fourth in last year’s Olympic Cup, on Emmaville Jitterbug, Stuart Jenkins on Fairview Aliquidam and Hayden James on James Continue.
The New Zealand team consists of Lily Tootill (Ulysses NZPH), Melody Matheson (Graffiti MH), Maurice Beatson (Mandalay Cove) and Tess Clark (Sinatra II). Robert Steele (LT Holst Bernadette) is reserve with John Cottle as chef d’equipe.
There will be other competitors in the prestigious class, including Clarke Johnstone on Quainton Labyrinth, Katie Laurie on On the Point Sandy and Casebrooke Lomond, and, coming up from the South Island, Susie Hayward and Andretti.
Other South Islanders who have made the trek up to the show include Harry Feast, Lucinda Askin, Steffi Whittaker and Tegan Fitzsimon, all with teams of three, as well as Chris Harris, in-form Todd Magner, Kaikoura’s Jack Ford, sisters Jaimee and Kimberley Bird, Duncan Norrie, Georgina Dormer, Kimberleigh McCabe, Tayler Nalder, and Olivia Harkerss.
Peita Milne and Grace Manera are competing on both ponies and horses, and other South Islanders show jumping on ponies include Anna Nalder, Annabel Francis, brothers Noah and Quinn Coutts, Holly Crean, Dan Harkerss and Rosa Buist-Brown. There are probably plenty of others – that was just from a quick scan of the alphabetical list up to N!
Kirsten Beaven, Kate Cavanagh and Helen Ensor have also crossed the Cook Strait to compete in show hunter and show jumping classes, coming with good form from the Nationals and Canterbury Championships. Emma Gillies has also made the trip up with her lovely pony Amberfield Golden Charm for the show hunter classes.
There’s a big field in the Show Hunter of the Year, with over 30 entered at this stage. They include Merrain Hain, who may well get the title of the oldest competitor this year at the whole show!
For more information, do also check out our earlier article about who has entered HOY. We look forward to seeing you there; we will have our stand in its usual place by the dressage arena, and our team out and about covering as many events as we can. If you are not coming to the show, then you should be able to keep up with our reports on our website, as well as our social media postings.
Here’s a gallery of images from previous years to get you in the mood for next week’s action!