This is the second year in a row Hagley Park has welcomed show jumpers competing in the Jump for Cancer event and all for a great cause – Breast Cancer! The course looked amazing, thanks to course designers Roger Laplanche and Lex Peddie.
The VIP area was well supported and it was also great to see a lot of spectators taking advantage of the free entry and enjoying two great show jumping speed competitions in the afternoon sunshine. The ice-cream vendor was doing a great trade – it was over 30 degrees.
The horses started first, and the first combination to go, Steffi Whittaker and Ngahiwi Cruise were obviously on a mission. They cut all the corners, and while there was one little hiccup when the horse slipped a bit on a turn, Steffi spun him around and wasted little time on her second attempt. They left all the rails up and then it was up to the other 23 competitors to try and beat that.
The rest of the field gave it their best effort, and while there were some good times recorded, there were also a few rails. Harry Feast and Double J Barman were last to go and Harry got the closest to Steffi’s time, but had to settle for second.
Finishing in third and sixth was Southland’s Nicole White with LC Sampson and Lil LeRoux, with Emily Cammock and Shaw Lee in for fourth. Mary Wakeman was impressive with the lovely grey MJ Lubeck, and ended up finishing in fifth place.
But the biggest pink ribbon of the day went to Steffi. “It was probably good I was first out as I got to make the standard and also I didn’t have to watch so it didn’t make me more nervous,” Steffi said afterwards. “I knew what I had to do and he was really good. I did want to win this one. It is because it is for cancer and because it is here at Hagley Park, as we don’t normally get to jump in here.”
There were then two inspirational guest speakers, talking about their journey with cancer, and really making an impact on the crowd, especially when Carrie Broomhall talked about her experiences. Jake Bailey talked about how he expects to see a cure for cancer in his lifetime, and how everyone can help whether it be from organising events like this, through to supporting with funds or buying the raffle tickets available on the grounds.
The VIP guests, who had dug deep into their pockets to buy their tickets, were treated to great food and drinks, a course walk with the designers, and a look inside two very smart horse trucks as well as a great view of the action.
The ponies were the next and last class and once again, showed how nifty and clever they are. The competition was tight, but in the end it was Makenzie Causer on She’s a Cracker who certainly had a cracking time! Perhaps Makenzie’s round in the horse competition gave her a bit of a steer on the course and the turns – she rode Elleway GNZ in that class but finished out of the money.
Grace Manera and Tallyho Scoundrel were second, with an impressive round. Olivia Harkerss and Cocamo had set a good time early on in the competition and came in to third place with Holly Crean and Ellen Vanin Untouchable, in their last ever competition together, finishing fourth. Polly Harper and Buckle Up, first to go, were fifth, and Harriet Stock, and EB Esperenza were sixth.
Makenzie, from Tai Tapu in Christchurch, said the win felt awesome! “I’m really happy with her, she has been jumping really well so I am stoked.” The plan is to step up to pony grand prix level next year. She’s a Cracker was bred in Northland, and is by the show jumping stallion Cole. “I have had her since she was five, and she is eight now. I just came here to try my best and see what happened. I am really happy to be here and support this great cause.”
The event director, Lisa Tennekoon, pulled off another great event. “I am absolutely thrilled with today. We couldn’t have asked for better weather. It was fantastic to see the horses and ponies out here on Hagley Park, and the top riders we had here, mainly from the South Island but one from the North Island.”
There was a fantastic crowd. I couldn’t wish for anything more. Our speakers were just phenomenal, and for Carrie to share the story that she shared, well I don’t think there would have been many dry eyes in the crowd.”
At this point the organisers were not sure how much they had raised, but Lisa did acknowledge the generosity of the crowd.
As to organising the event again next year, Lisa was looking forward to recovering from this one first, but signalled that it will be on again. “Of course I will. I love it, and I am very lucky to be able to do it.”