It’s the Adelaide four-star, and we caught up with the sole New Zealand representative, Aucklander Andy Daines, after he trotted his horse Spring Panorama (‘Pete’) up for the first horse inspection, passing with flying colours. The horse looked very fit and ready to go and Andy was very happy with him. “He feels amazing, he just rocked up here and is super-calm. It’s great, I have only had to ride him once a day. He travelled super on the plane, and then on the way here he rubbed his arse a little bit, it is just superficial, he is fine.”
Andy hasn’t yet walked the cross-country course – it opens tomorrow so he has it on the plan for the day. He had seen some of the jumps though, which are not far from the stables, and there are two jumps in the main arena itself. They all look do-able, he says, but he’s not getting ahead of himself.
“I’ve never been here before. It is quite cool, it’s quite relaxed but I didn’t really have any expectations. I didn’t want to be let down, or overwhelmed, so we have just come into it like any other show. We will see what happens.”
As for the ones to beat, Andy says he hasn’t really given much time to worrying about the competition. “They are all pretty good! I have seen a few of them trotting around and thought, ‘Oh gawd!’ Obviously Shane Rose, you will have to keep an eye on him. We have been based with Will Enzinger and his horses are looking pretty phenomenal. So it’s, ‘come on Peter, step it up!’”
Andy and Pete flew in to Melbourne from Auckland, and then travelled down to Adelaide. “Spending those few days with Will, just watching him, has been amazing. He is the softest rider I have ever seen. I got to watch him train a few babies, so have picked up a few things.”
When asked what his personal goals at this event were, Andy laughed and said that finishing in the top 10 would be good. There are 10 competitors in the field!
“It is his first four-star, and mine, so I would like to at least finish, obviously, and I would like to say top six but we will just have to see what happens. I would definitely like to go clear cross-country. I’m not too worried about the time, but definitely I want to go clear, and I know he can show jump clear.”
There is a good number of New Zealanders here, or due to arrive soon. While some of them will be Andy supporters, some will play a more active role. “Penny Castle arrived today so we have our first [dressage] lesson with her tomorrow,” Andy explains. “Then Katharine Van Tuyl arrives soon, and she is going to walk the cross-country with me and help me with the jumping, and we also have the amazing Tinks Pottinger coming. I am sure if there is anything I need or want advice, there are plenty I can go to.”
As well as having his dressage lesson, tomorrow Andy plans on giving Pete a bit of a jump, and walking the cross-country. Meanwhile, the two-star dressage will be on all day. The four-star dressage is on Friday.