All About Fun for Dad and Daughter
Dad and daughter Mark and Clara Haines are both on debut at the Horse of the Year Show . . . albeit at different ends of mounted games.
Sixteen-year-old Clara is lining up in the under-17 pairs event at HOY, which also doubles as the national champs, while her 52-year-old father is in the Turangi veterans’ team.
For both, it is all about fun.
Mark admits he hadn’t even heard about mounted games until Clara took it up last year.
“It looked like a lot of fun,” says the property maintenance worker.
One thing led to another and Clara is now breaking in Huckleberry for her dad, although he’ll be aboard the borrowed Dek, an old roping horse, for HOY.
As a youngster Mark rode at Pony Club and he’s chuffed he doesn’t seem to have lost any of his ability in the ensuing years.
“I am still learning the games but am really loving it,” says Mark. “I want to be able to vault. I can do a sort of a lady’s vault which impressed a few on camp, but Clara will probably call it a fish flop! Riding came back to me better than I thought it would. It is something that feels so natural and you get so much enjoyment from it.”
He’s done two competitions to prepare for his HOY debut and says the sport gets more enjoyable with each outing.
“I’m not worried about breaking any bones either. Mounted games is such fun – it gives you a buzz and makes you feel young . . . not that I am going that fast.”
Clara loves that she is sharing a sport with her father.
“It makes him ride and he didn’t used to do that much before. I am very proud of him,” she says. “He is doing so well.”
She’s no stranger to horses and riding, and is competing at HOY aboard a Kaimanawa rescue pony called Kathy she produced herself.
“She could only wear a halter and that’s about all when I got her two years ago.”
Clara was introduced to the sport through Pony Club.
“I like that mounted games is not judged on what a horse looks like. It is all about whoever is over the line first wins.”
She has paired up with Piper Marshall for the under-17 pairs section.
“This is our first year at HOY so we just want to have fun . . . that is the main priority.”
Mark, Clara and Piper are all members of the Wellington branch – New Zealand’s newest mounted games branch.