Entries for the 2018 Horse of the Year Show closed on February 1 and while there may be a few late entries still to come in, the fields are already looking good for the big classes.
There are 26 combinations entered in the Horse of the Year (Olympic Cup), including the unstoppable Maurice Beatson, who has two horses: Argio and Mandalay Cove. At the other end of the scale, young Harry Feast is entering for the first time on Double J Bouncer and even-younger Briar Burnett-Grant is in on Fiber Fresh Veroana, also her first appearance in this class. Katie Laurie has won this title plenty of times and she is back to have another go, on the beautiful white stallion, Dunstan Casebrook Lomond. We are also pleased to see another gorgeous stallion entered, Euro Sport Centavos, with Claudia Hay. This pair have won the title once before and have had a bit of a break from competition, so we are looking forward to seeing them again. Last year’s winners, Lily Tootill and Ulysses NZPH, have entered, and will no doubt be aiming to head everyone else off.
Thirty seven combinations have entered Pony of the Year, so that will be a hot competition! Last year’s winner, Steffi Whittaker, has graduated to horses and will be competing in many other events, including Lady, Junior and Young Rider of the Year. A few riders have two ponies entered, including Grace Manera, Peita Milne, Luke Myers and Sophie Scott. There are three Redcliff and Showtym ponies up for the 2018 title: Redcliffs Bill, Redcliffs Colour Me Quick and Redcliffs Kodak Moment, and Showtym Highlight, Showtym Endeavour and Showtym Boss, plus two Tallyho ponies: Tallyho Mystic and Tallyho Scoundrel.
The Pony Club teams event promises to be a big competition as well, and it’s great to see that Canterbury have a team there among all the North Island ones.
One pony class that has a huge list of entries is the Emerging Rider 12yrs & Under, show jumping over 1.00m. There are 48 entered in this class, some of them with very good show jumping bloodlines – riders, that is!
In the Show Hunter of the Year, there’s a field of over 30, including last year’s winner, Abby Robinson on Hillman Hunter. There are also excellent entries in the pony show hunter classes.
Dressage is also well supported, and we look forward to seeing two combinations who have had recent international experience: Julie Brougham and Vom Feinsten and Wendi Williamson and Dejavu MH. Both are both competing at the top level, as is John Thompson with JHT Antonello. Last year’s winning pair, Abbie Deken and K H Ambrose, are back to defend their title too.
There are a number of South Islanders making the trip north, and they’ve entered a wide range of classes including the showing ones. Maddi Thompson and Hugo are just one example, hoping to do well in the working hunter classes after having good results at the Canterbury Show. Another South Islander at the other end of the showing scale is Annabel Dampier-Crossley who will be competing in the lead rein classes with her pony Greenwood Magnum Opus.
Eventing also has good entries in the two classes at two- and three-star level. There are 22 in the two-star, and 21 in the three-star – which must be a record in recent times for a three-star class! In among the three-star entries are none other than our latest four-star winners, Clarke Johnstone and Balmoral Sensation. Clarke has also entered Quainton Labyrinth in the show jumping Horse of the Year – could he pull both titles off?
A crowd favourite for the three-star is sure to be Mr Hokey Pokey, who features on the cover of our latest magazine. Donna Edwards-Smith also has DSE Tangalooma entered, and Samantha Felton is going to be even busier as she has three in!
There will be lots of other action to watch, including pintos and pleasure horses, standardbreds and sport horses, warmbloods and Welsh ponies.
So, Hastings, Hawke’s Bay, will be the place to be from March 13 to 18. Let’s hope for better weather than last year – the mud was fun for some, but we’d rather not have it again!
Our trade stand will be there again, and a crack team of journalists and photographers to record all the triumphs, fun, challenges, near-misses and history being made!