The riders unaminously loved riding through the bigs crowds gathered at the Hastings showgrounds for the eventing competition at the Horse of the Year show.
Clarke Johnstone and Balmoral Sensation never looked like relinquishing their grip on the Eventer of the Year title (Landrover CIC3*), cruising to victory in a professional manner. Andy Daines on Spring Panorama put in a very consistent performance for second and it was good to see Pseudonym back to his best with Abby Lawrence, finishing third.
Clarke was not fazed by being a little over time, he certainly had a good buffer. “He cruised around, he was beautiful and felt super. I heard lots of clapping and yelling!”
Andy Daines also thoroughly enjoyed his ride. “It was amazing, he was so good. I did a good time. At the water I heard someone calling my name; that was so cool! As I went through the marquee, I said ‘It’s a bit low in here’ – not sure if anyone heard me.”
Abby Lawrence was the busiest rider in the eventing, with two horses in the 3* and two in the 2*. She said Pseudonym gave her an amazing ride. “He was fantastic, he was like clockwork. I had to yell ‘move’ to a couple of people as I was first out on course.” Abby had a run-out on her other horse, Song. “She jumped beautifully but that second of the combination just came up too short for her.” She also finished fifth on Indy RE and ninth on Charlton Yamani in the CIC2*
“There were thousands of people out there,” exclaimed Kathryn Van Tuyl, fourth in the 3* after jumping a clear round on Double J Sunshine with 1.6 time faults. “There were people everywhere. I heard my name a few times, that was wonderful.”
Sarah Young finished fifth with clear jumping and 4 time faults. She described SS Galaxy as a real professional. “He had no worries about the crowds.”
Chloe Phillips-Harris had just 1.6 time faults but jumped a lovely clear round. “I loved the crowd,” she said. “I loved it when you come down to the water with all those people there. I heard people all around the course yelling my name, but I had my game face on.”
Dannie Lodder on Call Me Al also led from the dressage section, right through to the end of the Hansen Products CIC2*. Aleisha Collett was second on Mi Focus, with Juliet Wood on Waitangi Pinterest third.
Dannie wasn’t sure she had done a fast enough time to secure the win. “I didn’t wear a watch as I wanted my first 2* on this horse to go right. He was brilliant, quite strong at times. I probably was a bit precious in places. He just went into the water – it was game on!”
Aleisha Collett had a strong round. “We just cruised around the first half then I pushed in the second part. I was so pleased, I got all the John Nicholson strides. I did four strides in the dressage arena, not many did. It shows she is ready to go up a level.”
Juliet Wood was another singing the praises of her horse after the cross-country. “She was awesome! She flew around, coped with the crowd, she is such a cool little horse.” It was only her second start at 2* and Juliet is going to take her next to Puhinui at Easter and hopefully Taupo at the end of the season.
The riders had lots to say about their efforts and all came back pumped after their rides around John Nicholson’s course. Donna Edwards-Smith thought Mr Hokey Pokey was “adorable” but attributed their run-out to her own messing up. “I had a bit of a woohoo at the water, it would have been a crowd-pleaser!” Donna was also very pleased with Varadero in the CIC2* despite having a sore head. “Someone in the marquee moved a chair as I went through and he threw up his head just as I was crouching forward to gallop.” Looking at the injury, we think Donna may be nursing a black eye tomorrow.
Samantha Felton fell off her horse in the CIC3* but had a good ride on Ricker Ridge Rui to finish 7th. She explained that she “saw a miss” on Ricker Ridge Escada and “he skewed over it and I fell off. I was trying to get a shorter stride to it but I should have kicked on.” She was well pleased with her 2* ride though.
Lucy Turner rode a clear and fast round on Carbon and finished eighth in the CIC2*. She was well under the time. The young rider had just ridden in the Pony of the Year Class on her lovely Tallyho Mystic, and while she didn’t finish with a ribbon, she was very philosophical. The pony has been sold and goes to her new home tomorrow. “I’m going to be very sad” said Lucy, who has competed very successfully at both eventing and show jumping on the dynamo little mare.
Danielle Wheeler was delighted that she got her three horses home clear in the cross-country. She finished sixth in the CIC3* on One Cool Dude, and her other two were also clear and under time in the 2*.
So, it was a good end to the eventing section of HOY and we look forward to next year’s competition. John Nicholson made few alterations in this year’s course, but we are expecting next year’s to change considerably.