All eyes were on the hack ring at the Land Rover Horse of the Year Show on Thursday, with the first of the main showing titles decided.
Enjoying much cooler conditions, the park hacks were the first into the ring in the morning, with the stunning young mare Rosehill Park Sapphire dominating, taking out both the Park Hack Horse of the Year and Paced & Mannered Park Hack Horse of the Year title classes in the hands of Fiona Honeyman of Mercer.
Last year as a four-year-old, the mare by Burren-dah The Wizard was in the pony ring and took out the of the Large Saddle Hunter of the Year in just her first season under saddle. She grew, and moved up to the park hack section this season, and continues to mature with every show. “She has been very lightly campaigned. She is just a young horse, so to go out there and do this is just wonderful,” says Fiona.
Amanda Gray and her eye-catching eight-year-old gelding, Phoenician Rock The Town, finished runner-up in both, backing up from winning the Rising Star Park Hack of the Year title first up this morning.
Next, it was the turn of the riding horses, with Natacha Otto making a successful return to the winner’s circle after a nasty fall which saw her sidelined. Riding the lovely five-year-old thoroughbred gelding by The Way You Are, Normandy, she took out both the Rising Star Riding Horse of the Year and the Riding Horse of the Year titles.
“I am more than stoked; I am absolutely thrilled,” says Natacha. “We always knew he was good enough, but I have had to work very hard to get back again this season.”
Rotorua’s Kelly Sheely was over the moon making it back-to-back titles by winning the Paced and Mannered Riding Horse of the Year with her mum, Mary Sheely’s 11-year-old Volksraad gelding, To The Max, with Auckland’s Jayna Dinneen and Sansibar, runner-up.
In the ponies, Brooke Cadwallader continued the Coatesville family’s outstanding form at the Horse of the Year Show, winning both the Small Paced and Mannered Pony of the Year on the palomino Leeara Park First Edition, and the Small Paced and Mannered Saddle Hunter Pony of the Year aboard the 16-year-old grey gelding Nanteos Autumn Guardsman.
Not to be outdone, older brother Trey secured the title for the Large Paced and Mannered Saddle Hunter Pony of the Year, riding Karen Peart’s grey gelding Willowmead Court Jester.
Ashburton’s Natasha Waddell backed up from winning The Wonder Memorial Junior Equestrian Turnout yesterday to take the Large Paced and Mannered Pony with Uptown Charlie Brown, while Chloe Roach won the Medium Rising Star Show Pony of the Year on Brookfields In Your Dreams, and the Small Rising Star Show Pony of the Year went to Airlie Holley on Linden Song & Dance.