The first day of the Canterbury Show is certainly a busy one! So many classes to cover; it’s impossible to get around everyone, but whatever the class, there are certainly some beautiful horses and ponies on display. And if you ever get bored with horses (as if), then you can take in the wood chopping, or the shearing, or the cattle judging. And then there is the shopping, and the food halls and demonstrations, and…
But we are here to talk about horses. And ponies. All ranges of colours (and combinations) small ones and big ones, and everything in between.
The standardbreds were impressive and it must have been a hard decision for the judges when it came to choosing a champion.
Santo won in the end, a seven-year-old gelding who is owned by the De Filippi family. He isn’t ridden, instead specialising in the in-hand classes, in which he triumphed. Mandy Hamilton was in charge of Santo today, and has done a lot of shows with him. “He wasn’t fast enough to race. He’s been around for a few years and this isn’t his first champion.” What makes him special? “He is just so big, he has a bit of presence.” Here he is, competing in the All Breeds championship.
Stacey Markham won the Champion Ridden Standardbred on JD Fortune, also known as Denzel. “He was a really good racehorse; he won six races and $75,000 in stakes. I have had him four years now and this is his fourth time to Christchurch. He has won champion novice twice but never champion ridden. He mainly does showing, he doesn’t love jumping. He gets out there and loves strutting his stuff. He is easy to do anything with, easy to take out and a pleasure to have.”
Stacey, who works at Harness Racing NZ in a media and marketing role, is having an exciting week, with a horse racing yesterday at the NZ Cup meeting, finishing mid-field. She had much more success today, however, winning a number of classes before Champion Ridden Standardbred.
Tanya Davie won the Pinto Championship with RMS Inkheart, aka Poppy. who she has only owned since the winter. “It is the first time we have been in the Pinto section. She has just been broken in so, will go under saddle next season and hopefully she will be a good jumping pony.” The young mare was bred by Tessa Silcock.
Tracey Crossan was quite overwhelmed when she won the All Breeds Supreme award. There were some impressive horses and ponies in the class, from the biggest Clydesdale, down to the miniature horse.
The judges must have had a hard time deciding that title too, but in the end it they went for three-year-old Zac (show name Trevalda Mountain Storm). Tracey was still nearly speechless when we caught up with her, wondering how she was going to organise the return trip from Ranfurly for the overall show champion on Friday, as she had not thought that she and her beautiful young grey would be required.
“He is three-quarters Irish draught. He’s by my stallion Ballineen Blue Mountain and out of a mare that I imported from Australia who is half Irish. She was actually bred by the South Australian Police Force as a police horse! I’ve just started him under saddle. This is actually his first outing. I can honestly say that this is only the second time he has ever been on the float. I took him to measuring and to this. I am just so busy with the stallion all the time.”
“He is a keeper for me. He is my baby. I wanting a nice quiet gelding for myself. I only started breeding horses to breed my perfect horse for me and I think I might have cracked it.”
The Canterbury show continues on Thursday and Friday. One of the highlights will be the Christchurch Hunt in the ASB Arena in livery with their trusty hounds leading the chase in full cry. The Christchurch Hunt was formed in 1880 making it the second oldest of 26 Hunts in New Zealand. Competitors in the Renown Cup will enter the ASB Arena and complete a lap with the Hunt and hounds prior to judging. The Renown Cup is a qualified hunter competition for horses which have hunted three times in the current season. The cup itself was originally presented to the Christchurch Hunt in 1921 when HRH The Prince of Wales visited Christchurch aboard the HMS Renown.