Author Archives: Horse of the Year
Four-time Olympian, veteran equestrian Blyth Tait is about to add his star power to this year’s Land Rover Horse of the Year Show, announcing he will ride off against eventing ‘power couple’ Tim and Jonelle Price.
The March event which attracts over 1,400 of the country’s top riders has never seen such a star line-up compete and it marks the start of a new ascendancy for the country’s most premier equestrian showpiece.
“We hit the jackpot when Tim and Jonelle announced they were coming and now to have that bolstered again by Blyth’s appearance is absolutely fantastic and will help steer the event in an exciting new direction,” says Event Director Dave Mee.
Since pulling the silver fern on for the first time since 2004 at the World Equestrian Games last year, the two time Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials winner is riding a new wave of momentum.
“I’m looking forward to competing at Land Rover Horse of the Year as I have not participated in its current format before. I hope it will act as an exciting introduction to competition down under that will set my young horses on the road to future success.”
It won’t be the first time Blyth has been up against the in-form Prices. The three are familiar rivals, having competed against one another around some of world eventing’s most formidable courses.
“Tim and Jonelle are dominant on the world stage right now. I admire all that they have achieved and am proud of their successes. It has not been an overnight sensation, they have worked extremely hard. Having been based in the UK for 15 years now, they are now enjoying the rewards of their efforts,” says Blyth.
For Halberg Sportswoman of the Year nominee Jonelle Price the tougher the course and the competition, the better.
“We’ve certainly had a lot of our success when the going gets tough. Both Badminton and Burghley were won on a tough day of sport, it’s in keeping with the Kiwi mentality; when the going gets tough the tough gets going. So it will suit us if the course is what we think it will be,” says Jonelle.
Course designer/builder Chris Ross is assuring spectators plenty of thrills.
“I have some tough challenges in store for these world champions, but I am sure they will be at home over the Burghley jumps as they are just so good at the game. I have designed the track to be challenging and technical all the way around, keeping it interesting for the crowd and sponsors over the whole park and through the arenas. It’s a seriously gutsy sport so it’s going to be fascinating to watch,” says Chris.
The four-star event takes place at the Hawke’s Bay A&P Showgrounds’ Discovery Gardens on Saturday 16th March.
New Zealand’s premier equestrian showpiece the Land Rover Horse of the Year Show held in Hawke’s Bay is set to host its biggest line-up ever this March, boasting some of the hottest names in world eventing.
The ‘power couple’ of world eventing – current Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials winner Tim Price and his Badminton winning wife Jonelle are returning home with the help of The True Honey Co. to spur on the crowds at the event’s new Burghley Day.
Burghley Day (March 16) Presented by Höpt Soda will see Hastings’ Discovery Gardens transformed into a ‘Baby Burghley’ featuring iconic Burghley cross country Jumps, British food trucks, a Beefeater Pink Gin Bar, pop-up Höpt Soda ‘Hoptail Bar’ and authentic Burghley theming.
Anticipation is already building to see two of the world’s top ten eventers in action. Tim Price is currently 3rdin the world FEI Eventing rankings while wife Jonelle sits 7th– her podium finishes earning her a Halberg Sportswoman of the Year nomination.
It’s the first time the pair has returned home to New Zealand to compete since 2004 and their inclusion in the line-up was a ‘must have’ for event director Dave Mee.
“It could be argued many Kiwis underestimate the talent of our top eventers. The cross-country fences these guys and girls face would question anyone’s courage. To have such a dedicated and talented young couple like Tim and Jonelle flying our flag on the world stage is great for New Zealand and great for the sport.
“We thought, let’s celebrate their achievements by bringing them home to compete. This is our chance as a country to salute and really make a fuss of what they’ve accomplished.”
VIP entertainment across the week of March 12-17 is highly sought after and includes the glamourous Hall of Fame cocktail party, Bayleys Business Lunch, family fun Friday night Hastings Heart of Hawke’s Bay Extravaganza and finale events the G.H. Mumm Chamgpagne Cross Country Lunch (Saturday 16thMarch) and Cup Day (Sunday 17thMarch).
55,000 people will make an annual pilgrimage to the show, to take in its shopping, wine and food villages and salivating assortment of hospitality experiences. Along with world-class equestrian competition, this six day spectacle is an event like no other.
Homecoming horse-powered eventing stars Tim and Jonelle Price are expecting a cross country course up there with some of the world’s toughest when they step out to compete at the Land Rover Horse of the Year Show’s ‘Burghley Day’.
The returning Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials winner Tim Price and Badminton winning wife Jonelle are gearing up to take on New Zealand’s toughest competition, at the premier event’s new Burghley inspiredInternational 4 Star competition in Hawke’s Bay, next month.
Far from expecting a soft ride, the pair is hoping Kiwi course designer/builder Chris Ross will deliver a cross country track full of robust questions and technical elements.
“Chris is a very good course designer, very well respected he’s been to all the top events and assisted at places like the Rio Olympics,” says Tim.
“We’re expecting stiff competition and a stiff course but we’re into that, that’s what we want – the bigger the course the better. We don’t for a second think we’re coming to an easy competition but we’ll give it a good go.”
According to course designer Chris Ross, the course is taking shape nicely, and it’s going to be one exciting day out.
“I have some tough challenges in store for these world champions, but I am sure they will be at home over the Burghley jumps as they are just so good at the game.
“I have designed the track to be challenging and technical all the way around, keeping it interesting for the crowd and sponsors over the whole park and through the arenas.
“I know the best of our talented resident riders will certainly be getting ready to measure themselves against the champs prior to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
“It’s a seriously gutsy sport so it’s going to be fascinating to watch,” says Chris.
Halberg Sportswoman of the Year nominee Jonelle Price is used to overcoming hurdles, creating world headlines with her comeback to top-level eventing by winning Badminton nine months after giving birth last year.
“We’ve certainly had a lot of our success when the going gets tough. Both Badminton and Burghley were won on a tough day of sport, it’s in keeping with the Kiwi mentality; when the going gets tough the tough gets going. So it will suit us if Chris delivers the course that we think he might,” says Jonelle.
The Prices both currently sit in the top ten World FEI Eventing rankings – with Tim number 3 and Jonelle ranked 7.
Their appearances at the Land Rover Horse of the Year Show mark the first time they’ve competed on home soil in fourteen years.
For Event Director Dave Mee, their inclusion in the line-up heralds a new and exciting era for the show.
“Tim and Jonelle leaving their UK preparations for Tokyo to come home to compete shows a huge commitment to New Zealand and growing the sport. We look forward to their contribution and seeing more of our top UK based kiwi riders following suit”, says Dave.
All eyes will be on the pair around the show’s Burghley Day inspired 4 Star cross country course, at the Hawke’s Bay Showgrounds on Saturday, March 16th, 2019.
The pair famously refers to themselves as ‘the best of friends and fiercest of competitors’.
“We’ll be giving it a good nudge and I don’t mind if Jonelle comes second,” jokes Tim.
Tim and Jonelle will be available for a press conference with their Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials and Badminton Horse Trials trophies following the competition.
Land Rover Horse of the Year attracts in excess of 55,000 spectators every year over six days of competition, with over 1,400 riders and 1,800 horses competing and camping onsite at the Hawke’s Bay A&P Showgrounds.
Photo credit Libby Law Photography.
Land Rover Horse of the Year 2019 is excited to announce a taste of the world famous Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials is coming to Hawke’s Bay and you won’t want to miss any of the action.
Burghley Day Presented by Höpt Soda will see Hastings’ Discovery Gardens transformed into a ‘Baby Burghley’ featuring iconic Burghley Jumps, British food trucks, a Beefeater Pink Gin Bar, pop-up Hopt Soda ‘Hoptail Bar’ and authentic Burghley theming. But the major drawcard is sure to be the star appearances of current Burghley Horse Trials champion Tim Price and wife Jonelle who are back to compete for the first time on home soil in 14 years.
Since winning the UK’s Burghley Horse Trials and Badminton just months apart last year, Tim Price and wife Jonelle have been dubbed the new ‘power couple’ of world eventing.
Winning Burghley propelled Tim Price to 3rdin the world FEI Eventing rankings, and Badminton winning wife Jonelle to 7th– her podium finishes last year earning her a Halberg Sportswoman of the Year nomination.
The tenacious pair has made no secret that their sights are set firmly on the Tokyo Olympics, so don’t miss this rare opportunity to see two of the world’s best eventers in action.
Brought here by Hawke’s Bay-based The True Honey Co., Tim and Jonelle will battle it out across a new-look Burghley themed cross country course at the Land Rover Horse of the Year Show this coming March, Saturday 16th. Course designer Chris Ross is set to challenge our horse and riders with the biggest course yet, ensuring plenty of action and thrills for the crowds.
In its 21styear in Hawke’s Bay, the Land Rover Horse of the Year Show is a ‘must see’ on any event-goer’s calendar, with something to satisfy everyone. Over 200 retail and trade sites, wine and food villages and a salivating assortment of hospitality experiences, all alongside top-level equestrian competition make this six-day spectacle an event like no other. VIP entertainment across the week includes the glamourous Hall of Fame cocktail party, Bayleys Business Lunch, the family fun Friday night Hastings Heart of Hawke’s Bay Extravaganza and the finale events the G.H. Mumm Champagne Cross Country Lunch (Saturday 16th March) and Hopt Soda Cup Day (Sunday 17th March).
Photo credit Libby Law Photography
Two Kiwi stars of the world eventing stage have announced they will head home to compete at New Zealand’s most prestigious equestrian showpiece, the Land Rover Horse of the Year Show in Hastings.
Tim Price and wife Jonelle will be the headline acts of the show’s new Burghley Day themed Cross Country competition in March that annually attracts a bevy of top Kiwi riders, all vying for lucrative titles and prizemoney.
Since winning the UK’s Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials and Badminton Horse Trials earlier this year, Tim Price and wife Jonelle have been dubbed the new ‘power couple’ of world eventing. They became the first married couple to win equestrian’s two most prestigious world titles in the same year, since Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips emulated the feat back in 1971.
Winning the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials in September propelled Tim Price to 3rd in the world FEI Eventing rankings, and Badminton Horse Trials winning wife Jonelle to 7th- her achievements made the more remarkable just nine months following the birth of the pair’s first child Otis. It’s the first time the pair has returned home to New Zealand to compete since leaving to live in the UK in 2004.
Their inclusion in the event’s line-up was a ‘must have’ for event director Dave Mee, after attending the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials & Badminton Horse Trials to watch the duo in action, first-hand.
“It could be argued that many Kiwis underestimate the talent of our top eventers. The cross-country fences these guys and girls face would question anyone’s courage. To have such a dedicated and talented young couple like Tim and Jonelle flying our flag on the world stage is great for New Zealand and great for the sport. “We thought, let’s celebrate their achievements by bringing them home to compete. This is our chance as a country to salute and really make a fuss of what they’ve accomplished. “It’s no secret that New Zealand is a breeding ground for eventing talent with Kiwi horses and riders consistently punching above their weight. Tim and Jonelle are two of the top ten eventers in the world, which is impressive by any sport’s standards,” says Dave.
The couple, who refer to themselves as “the best of friends and fiercest of competitors” are excited to headline New Zealand’s pinnacle equestrian event. “We’re thrilled to be asked to compete at the Land Rover Horse of the Year Show. It’s been an incredible year for us both and we want to come home and show our supporters that Kiwis (like us) can take on the best in the world,” says Jonelle.
“I just have to prove that I can keep up with the missus again! No pressure,” jokes Tim.
Securing the current winner of the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials is a dream come true for General Manager of Jaguar Land Rover NZ Stephen Kenchington.
“The Land Rover Horse of the Year Show is proving it’s world-class status and to attract two international riders the calibre of Tim and Jonelle’s is a giant stride in the right direction for the event.”
Kiwi fans can catch the pair in action around the show’s Burghley Day themed 4 Star cross country course, at the Hawke’s Bay Showgrounds on Saturday March 16 th , 2019. Tim and Jonelle will be available for a press conference with their Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials and Badminton Horse Trials trophies following competition.
There will certainly be celebrations in the Australian ranks tonight at the 2018 Land Rover Horse of the Year.
A tough track in the Horseware Silver Fern Stakes incorporated the Trans-Tasman senior test match between Australia and New Zealand and the Aussies were on form, posting three clears in each of the first two rounds to force a jump off.
None of the Kiwis managed a clear in the first round, with Melody Matheson and Lily Tootill having two rails apiece aboard Graffiti MH and Ulysses NZPH respectively, while fellow team member Tess Clark had just the one down on Sinatra II. The fourth member of the Kiwi team, veteran Maurice Beatson, looked to be heading for a clear but a rail at the second to last and an unfortunate fall at the final fence put paid to that.
In the second round the Kiwis added more rails which put paid to their plan for a home country win, leaving the field wide open for the invaders to take both the individual trophy and the team honours.
Four went into the jump off, with double clear rounds from Australians, Stuart Jenkins and Fairview Aliquidam, Brooke Langbecker and Quintago and Clint Beresford and Emmaville Jitterbug. No matter what, the trophy was heading over the ditch, with the fourth double clear coming from New Zealander Katie Laurie who relocated to Australia in March 2017 but is back to contest the Olympic Cup once again. Aboard the lovely grey stallion Casebrooke Lomond she tried her best but couldn’t quite catch Beresford, who did one better than his second place in 2016 and took away the 2018 Horseware Silver Fern Stakes. Jenkins slipped into third with a rail in the final jump off relegating Langbecker to fourth.
Young rider Brayden Aarts was fifth with LT Holst Aunty Annette with a four fault total after two rounds with Tess Clark and Sinatra II sixth as the fastest eight faulter.
The Bayleys Real Estate Young Rider of the Year went to Te Awamutu teen Emily Hayward, the only double clear of the day on Yandoo Lady Gold. The class for under 21 year old riders is always hotly contested and the young lady was thrilled to take it out. Hayward has won the national young rider series multiple times but had yet to lay claim to the HOY title, and can now add the award to her long list of other victories. Kimberley Bird and Cera Cassina seem to like second place taking out the spot behind Emily after their second placing in the Ultra Mox Lady Rider of the Year yesterday. Third went to Nakeysha Lammers and Resolution while Cambridge’s Nicola Hammond and Carlo I were fourth.
In the eventing, Rio Olympians Clarke Johnstone and Balmoral Sensation wowed in the dressage phase of the Land Rover CIC 3* to be in top position heading into the second phase. The thrilling cross country will take place from 9.00am at the show on Saturday morning.
Twice a Lady for Cubitt
It was a special day for two long time patrons of equestrian sport as they were inducted into the Horse of the Year Hall of Fame on Thursday evening.
63 year old Julie Brougham and 69 year old Ross Coles were both inducted thanks to their many years of service to the sport they are so passionate about.
Brougham was the oldest competitor at the 2016 Rio Olympics with her chestnut stallion Vom Feinsten, and has recently been selected to represent New Zealand once again at the 2018 World Equestrian Games in the USA later this year.
Her contribution to dressage is significant and her success at the highest level of the sport is impressive – she is just the third Kiwi to have competed in dressage at an Olympic Games while also scoring higher than those who came before her.
Fellow rider Ross Coles comes from the show jumping side of things but his career is no less stellar. Having represented New Zealand internationally as a younger man, he was chef d’equipe for the New Zealand show jumping team at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
Coles hunted with Pakuranga Hunt for 25 years, was clerk of the course at Ellerslie Racecourse and still plays the part of technical delegate at shows all around the country. His service to Horse of the Year has spanned decades and his passion for the event and for the sport of show jumping is undeniable.
Out in the Premier Jumping Arena, the competition is starting to heat up with today seeing the Ultra Mox Lady Rider of the Year crowned. 30 started the all-female class and the two round competition was exciting right down to the very end.
She’s won it before but this win was pretty special for Cambridge based professional rider Lisa Cubitt. On Matawai Sentana, a horse she has only been riding for six weeks for owner Jacqui Wright, she was clear in the first round. A bit of a stumble over the second fence in round two saw the rail come down and she put her foot down to be the fastest four faulter.
A couple of seconds separated Cubitt from second placed Kimberley Bird on Cera Cassina, who also had a rail down in the second round to follow their clear in the first. Her fellow South Island rider Tegan Fitzsimon settled into third just behind her with the lovely Double J Monarch and Waikato based Emily Hayward was fourth with Belischi HM.
Cubitt was understandably thrilled with the win, putting it down to good preparation. Her solid plan had been for a second clear round but the early rail meant she had to ride for time and her flying finish over the last fence was certainly impressive to watch.
Thursday also saw the first pony class in the Premier Jumping Arena with the final round of the Pony Championship Stakes, standing at approximately 1.25m.
26 ponies started the second round with several South Islanders in the mix and it was a mixed bag right from the start. Of the seven clears eventually posted there were four sitting on double clear when the points were added together, and a four way jump off commenced.
First out was Emma Watson on Maddox Fun House, a combination which has dominated the Pony Grand Prix classes all summer long. Their time was the quickest of the group but a rail down meant they settled for third place with Sophie Scott and Grace Manera jumping clear for first and second aboard Benrose Playtime and Tallyho Scoundrel respectively.
The other major title awarded was the GJ Gardner Pro-Amateur Rider of the Year which went to James Cottle and Oracle WT. The son of well decorated show jumper John Cottle, James has recently returned to the competition arena with much success. Second place went to Sally Clark, the partner of Dannevirke’s Maurice Beatson, riding Victoria’s Secret.
Friday will see the Hastings Heart of Hawke’s Bay Friday Night Extravaganza as well as the Horseware Silver Fern Stakes including the New Zealand versus Australia senior test team match. All eyes will be on the Kiwi team at 6.00pm as they defend the nation against the visiting team.
Golden Day for Tom and Popeye
Wednesday brought the first of the major show jumping titles as well as another picture perfect day of Hawke’s Bay sunshine.
The FMG Norwood Gold Cup was hard fought this afternoon with the honours eventually going to Tom Tarver-Priebe and Popeye. A tricky jump off was set and Tom was third out to post the first clear, and none could catch him. Australian young rider Brooke Langbecker came the closest on Quintago with a slow and steady clear round for second place, while last year’s victors William Willis and Dollar Roll MS were relegated to third with a brick falling off the wall in the jump off.
Earlier in the day the amateur riders had their time in the Premier Jumping Arena with the Wade Equine Amateur Rider of the Year final. 30 combinations had qualified the previous day and a beautiful course was set at a maximum of 1.20m by German course designer Werner Deeg. The course accentuated the flowing but technical track and of the 30, five horses and riders jumped clear and into the jump off.
She was the trailblazer in the first round and she had to do it all again in the jump off, but the pressure clearly didn’t faze South Islander Kate Cavanagh in the slightest. The Geraldine based full time rider rode Wallflower to the win in the final to take away the Wade Equine Amateur Rider of the Year ahead of second placed Anna Stephen and Lollipop SP.
Cambridge rider Rachel Malcolm piloted Monte Carlo MVNZ to a stunning win in the AHD Ltd Six Year Old Horse of the Year on Wednesday morning, coming in a full four seconds faster than runner up Samantha Peters on Cadillac NZPH. It was an impressive 11 horse jump off from 41 original starters and Malcolm was understandably thrilled with the victory on the horse she rides for the Tauranga stud Mount View Sport Horses.
Over in the Premier Dressage Arena, Vanessa Way had her second triumph of the show with NSC Pronto taking away the competitive Level 5 Title. They hit the 70% mark and are looking like a promising combination for the future. In the Level 4 Title Rebecca Rowlands was victorious with her Salutation gelding Solo.
The week continues with the Ultra Mox Lady Rider of the Year on Thursday as well as the Cape Kidnapper’s Hall of Fame Cocktail Party in the evening. Later, the Hastings Heart of Hawke’s Bay Friday Night Extravaganza is sure to draw the crowds with an Australia versus New Zealand senior test match as part of the Horseware Silver Fern Stakes. The weekend looms with the big titles up for grabs including the Farmlands Pony of the Year and Premier Stakes on Saturday, and the Olympic Cup, Land Rover 3 Star Eventing and GJ Gardner Homes Grand Prix Freestyle on Sunday.
Sun Shines on Day One
The Hawke’s Bay might have had a bit of rain on Monday night but Tuesday morning dawned bright and sunny for the first day of the 2018 Land Rover Horse of the Year.
The South Island riders proved that they weren’t at the show to make up numbers, with Cantabrian Harry Feast taking out the IRT Horse 1.40m class aboard Double J Bouncer. Sixty-three combinations lined up for the first class in the Premier Jumping Arena, used by many riders as a warm up for the bigger and more prestigious jumping to come.
Eight horses and riders came back for the jump off after jumping clear in the first round with Feast best of the bunch with a second clear round in 50.88 seconds. Australian Clint Beresford was the only other clear in the jump off but he and horse Emmaville Jitterbug weren’t quite fast enough to catch Feast. Young rider Briar Burnett-Grant proved she’s won to watch this year with the excitable Fiber Fresh Veroana coming home as the fastest four-faulter in the jump off. She was followed by Northland’s Amanda Wilson of Keeping Up With the Kaimanawas fame riding Showtym Cassanova in fourth place as best of the eight faulters.
The pony area teams event, the Saba Sam Shield, was dominated by the Canterbury team made up of Grace Manera, Rosa Buist-Brown and Holly Crean. Named after the iconic mount of Graeme Hansen, the Saba Sam Shield was donated in 1971 when Hansen decided an incentive was needed to prepare young riders for teams events ahead of them. Saba Sam himself was repurposed as a show jumper after a disappointing racing career and together with Hansen represented New Zealand at the Tokyo Olympics in 1964. The Otago-Southland team kept up the South Island domination this year by coming a close second with their team of Ella Wylie, Noah Coutts, Jordan van Miltenburg and Pippa Collins.
The first class in the Premier Dressage Arena, the Donut Express Level 5 5C, was taken out by Vanessa Way and NSC Pronto with a score of 69.9%.
With good weather expected for the remainder of the week there will be plenty of excitement leading into the weekend. Hospitality ticket sales have been tracking well with the expectation of selling out of several of the speciality events including the Friday night Fish ‘n’ Chips evening and the Cross Country Brunch on Saturday.
Eventing – Raising The Bar
Horse of the Year is used to international visitors, but the 2018 line up is looking particularly diverse. The week-long event in March will play host to a number of global equestrian superstars who will further define the show as a truly international event.
The eventing discipline is looking especially star-studded, with both the CIC2* and CIC3* classes important for rider ratings at the international level. There are few opportunities in New Zealand to gain these points, with HOY providing an excellent chance for riders to make a mark on the charts of the international equestrian federation.
No stranger to eventing at the highest levels, 3*/4* judge Christian Landolt is looking forward to his first time at Horse of the Year, though he already has his own connection to the Hawke’s Bay. In addition to his judging career Landolt also rides himself, and his eventing mount is none other than Toblerone NZPH, bred and born at Ocean Beach stud NZ Performance Horses. Landolt is a regular feature judging at the world’s most prestigious events, including Badminton and Burghley Horse Trials, and was a member of the ground jury at the recent Adelaide 4* where Kiwi Clarke Johnstone triumphed. His experience at the absolute upper levels of the sport will be invaluable to competitors and spectators alike at HOY where the Swiss native will be a judge and member of the ground jury.
Landolt will be joined on the ground jury by Annabel Scrimgeour who also holds the highest qualifications as a 3*/4* judge. Scrimgeour flies in from the UK where she works closely with Kiwi rider Andrew Nicholson and many others at the top of their game. South Islander Helen Christie will head the ground jury as one of few New Zealanders with the top qualifications. Christie has been involved with HOY for years, fitting her home country event into a calendar packed with international expectations, including officiating at the World Equestrian Games.
Finally, eventing brings their superstar line up to a close with technical delegate (TD) Christian Persson. An Olympian in his own right, Swedish visitor Persson is also headed to his very first HOY and couldn’t be more pleased with the opportunity. A previous member of Sweden’s eventing team at the 1984 Olympics, Persson has been involved with eventing for decades and has been the TD at a number of major international events.
HOY organisers are looking forward to raising the bar on the eventing discipline.
“The next generation of Kiwi eventers are ready to break into the international circuit, so it’s important to get them in front of international judges, and for them to ride in an international atmosphere,” eventing director Erika Herries says. With New Zealand history steeped in eventing success at an Olympic level, it’s a discipline that deserves to be front and centre of the country’s biggest horse show.