Hillman Hunter Show Hunter of the Year

Horse Show Hunter of the Year – Abby Robinson & Hillman Hunter

Ohaupo’s Abby Robinson had never before competed in the Show Hunter of the Year class, but that didn’t stop her winning it on her six-year-old Hillman Hunter.

The judges called their top ten back for a shortened round over five fences. Abby was second to last, and made a great job of her round. Karen Riddle with her grey stallion LC Telepathy had done a lovely first round and was certainly favourite going into the call-back, but probably lost that vital mark negotiating the first fence and ended up second.

Karen Riddle LC Telepathy – runners-up in the Horse Show Hunter of the Year

Abby bought Hillman Hunter unseen when he was a weanling, from Weiti Station. When he was three she broke him in herself and has done all the training. “He is now a six-year-old and hasn’t put a foot wrong the whole time.”

She had also hoped to start him in the six-year-old class at HOY but unfortunately he was kicked in the yards and had to miss it.

Abby Robinson & Lost In Translation – 2nd in the Amateur Show Hunter of the Year 1m max

Abby has had a good show, notching up wins in other classes on her other horse, Lost in Translation, and finishing runner-up in the Amateur Show Hunter of the Year. That was won by Stephie Joustra-Smith on Disney.

Amateur Show Hunter of the Year, Stephie Joustra-Smith & Disney (Image: Take the Moment)

Category B Ponies

Maddie Smith was “so excited” when she and Starlight India won the Category B class. It was certainly the biggest prize she has ever won and this is only her second time at HOY.  Maddie (aged 13) and Starlight India (aged eight) have been together for about 18 months, and also do show jumping and dressage. The pony is leased from Starlight Stables and, according to Maddie, loves jumping, especially eventing and cross-country.

Maddie Smith and Starlight India

Darrell, Maddie’s dad, stepped in as her groom when her mum had to spend some time in hospital and wasn’t able to attend the show. “I’m learning the ropes,” he said. “We came here hoping for a ribbon – any placing would have done, so it is a nice one to win it!”

Maddie and Starlight have a great relationship

It was also extra-special, as only 18 months ago Abbey was kicked in the face by a horse and lost eight teeth. “She has come back more into it than she was before,” Darrell said. Her two brothers are not so focused on horses, far preferring motorbikes.

Woodford House Category A Ponies

The Category A ponies were certainly a cute lot, but it was Maddi Davidson and Rhythm N Gold who the judges chose as their winners.

Coach Leigh, mum Debbie and dad John with Maddi and her lovely pony, Rhythm N Gold

Maddi has done all the training with ‘Bess’ herself and has, according to her coach Leigh Watkins, worked very hard in the last couple of years.

“Maddi has a very strong relationship with her pony and has really done the yards and stepped up to the mark, learning to ride the pony, campaigning effectively, not too many competitions and then ridden the pony beautifully today,” said Leigh.

Rhythm N Gold originally came from Taupo, but no one seems to know the 14-year-old’s breeding. Debbie and John, Maddi’s parents, who farm just out of Te Awamutu, were very proud of their daughter’s accomplishments today, with Debbie getting quite emotional. “I bawled my eyes out when it was announced,” she confessed. John has ridden ‘a bit’, and his mother and sister competed in the past, but he reckons they were not really a horsey family. Despite that, Maddi got her first pony when she was just 14 months old. Debbie, who had no experience with horses, remembers her daughter being horse-mad from a very young age. “The neighbours had ponies, and she just loved them. She had a very natural seat. We didn’t know what show hunter was until we went on Leigh’s clinic in Taupo.”  Leigh soon realised she had a talented pony and rider to work with and has been a major influence in their rise to today’s success.

Maddi was amazed that she had won, despite having done well before. She has competed twice, finishing 10th the first time and ninth last year. “When I first got her three years ago she couldn’t go on a circle without running away, and she kept stopping.” There were certainly no signs of stopping today.

Bria Fitzgerald and My Scooter

The second-placed pony, My Scooter, is approaching his 22nd birthday. Unfortunately he has developed cancer, so Bria Fitzgerald from Kapiti is treasuring every moment with the lovely boy. He’s taught a lot of children a few tricks about riding and has been a very well-performed pony over the years.


Show Hunter of the Year
1 Hillman Hunter Abby Robinson 531
2 LC Telepathy Karen Riddle 529.5
3 Wishing Crown Jesse Linton 523
4 Kiwi Motto Chloe Hansen 517
5 Country Vogue Melanie Dudding 486.5
6 Jacks a Heartbreaker Kirsten Hence 486
7 Enja MVNZ Chloe Hansen 477.5
8 Eye Wonder Jesse Linton 477
9 Tribute OL Devon van Til 475
10 Fortissimo Lynette Jackson 377
Amateur Show Hunter of the Year
1 Disney Stephie Joustra-Smith 516
2 Lost In Translation Abby Robinson 509
3 Royal Penny Emily Fladgate 499.5
4 Zactac Night n Day Helen Ensor 480
5 Thornfield Athenry Kate Ward 471
Open Championship 1.15m-1.20m
1 LC Telepathy Karen Riddle 82
2 Wishing Crown Jesse Linton 79
3 Kiwi Motto Chloe Hansen 78
4 Cameo KSNZ Emily Twort 76
5 Crackerjack Catherine Dixon 45
Virbac Equine Junior Show Hunter of the Year
1 Kinnordy Go Girl Claudia Thomas 525
2 Bizzie Beware Isobel Vokes 487
3 Waitangi Twitter Megan Pearce 467
4 Kiwi Dula Mollie Moffett 463.5
5 Caballo Marino Sophie Fisher 463
Woodford House Category A Pony Show Hunter of the Year 70cm
1 Rhythm N Gold Maddi Davidson 524
2 My Scooter Bria Fitzgerald 522.5
3 Fortification Penhellagon Hollie Falloon 516.5
4 Glynmerlyn Magical Miss Rosa Wilkinson 510
5 Spots Galore Jessica Blackburn 502
Harrison Lane Category B Pony Show Hunter of the Year 80cm
1 Starlight India Maddie Smith 527
2 Acclaim Anna Nalder 516
3 Phoenician Soho Hollie Falloon 502
4 Moon Spirit Jitterbug Amelia Newsom 501.5
5 Starlight Indrani Samantha Maguire 497
Pryde’s EasiFeed Category C Pony Show Hunter of the Year 90cm
1 Hes Pryceless Rebecca Williamson 536
2 Triple Star Picture Puzzle Harriet Laing 532
3 Sweet Cappuccino Olivia Adams 502
4 Gold Class Georgia Alexander 468
5 Pendell Silver Secret Eden Ward 467.5