HOY by Numbers

28 Feb

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HOY by Numbers

There’s plenty that goes on at the Farmlands Horse of the Year Show . . .

  •  it pumps $12.5 million into the Hawke’s Bay economy each year.
  • 2016 is the 64thd  HOY – the 18th consecutive show in Hawke’s Bay.
  • Hawke’s Bay has actually hosted 21 HOY shows, and it will stay in the Bay for the next 11 years.
  • 1800 horses will compete over the six days of the show – that means 7200 hooves. In 1999 there were fewer than 900 horses at the show.
  • There are 1400 riders taking part in HOY.
  • There are more than 7000 entries across the disciplines.
  • On average, each rider brings 2.5 people as support crew.
  • 15 arenas of competition.
  • 14 disciplines – from showjumping to dressage, eventing to showing, mounted games to Pony Club and more.
  • It is estimated more than 50,000 people will pour through the gates over the six days.
  • There will be over 150 trade sites at HOY – in 1999 there were 16.
  • It takes an army of workers 20 days to set the grounds up for the show.
  • Around eight crates of apples will be consumed by people and horses at HOY.
  • Food stalls are expected to sell 12,000 cups of coffee.
  • 3000 metres of temporary fencing is put up at the showgrounds, along with 1300 metres of crowd control barriers and 650 metres of picket fencing.
  • More than 400 volunteers work tirelessly to bring the whole show together, coming in from all over the country.
  • The Olympic Cup has a prize purse of $116,000, with $37,000 going to the winner.
  • Katie Laurie (McVean) has won the Olympic Cup five times on five different horses. John Cottle holds the record for the most Olympic Cup wins with his six titles, won over 32 years.
  • The Silver Fern Stakes is the second richest class of the show, with $46,000 on offer, followed by the $20,000 GJ Gardner Dressage Kur – the musical freestyle.
  • More than 700 trucks from all over New Zealand turn the Hawke’s Bay Showgrounds into a mini-city during the event.
  • More than 68 judges from all over the world will cast their eagle eyes over competitors and their steeds to name the best of the best.
  • 58 stewards will ensure the rings and arena all run smoothly throughout the show.
  • It takes 20 announcers to keep everyone informed over HOY.

Tickets Marching out the Door

26 Feb

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HOY Tickets Marching Out The Door

Friday, Saturday and Sunday are proving the big days for ticket-buyers heading to the Farmlands Horse of the Year Show.
With just days until the show gets under way, ticket sales are up on last year and organisers are confident that trend will continue. More than 50,000 people are expected to flow through the gates over the six days of the show, which starts on Tuesday (March 1).

Jeremy Janjic (Australia) rides Django of Cacharel in the CDI3* FEI Grand Prix Freestyle Dressage, Horse of the Year 2015, Hastings, Sunday, March 22, 2015. Credit: KAMPIC / Kerry Marshall

Jeremy Janjic (Australia) rides Django of Cacharel in the CDI3* FEI Grand Prix Freestyle Dressage, Horse of the Year 2015, Hastings, Sunday, March 22, 2015. Credit: KAMPIC / Kerry Marshall

It’s no surprise punters are keen on those three days – the Friday Night Extravaganza is always a popular event and with a fantastic line-up in the wings.
The show follows the CSI2* $46,000 McMillan Silver Fern Stakes which includes most of the nation’s top riders. Star of the extravaganza is extreme free rider Alycia Burton and her horse Classic Goldrush, but there is also the exciting Equissage Slalom Sweepstakes that sees riders go head to head over a short showjumping course whittling the field down to just two for the final.
There’s plenty more to celebrate at the extravaganza, but organisers are urging people to buy tickets beforehand and be at the grounds early to ensure good seats. The McMillan Silver Fern Stakes gets under way at 4.30pm and marks the start of an exciting and entertaining evening.
Saturday (March 5) is People’s Day at HOY and a chance to feel the excitement of the adrenalin-packed cross country competition, the third and final phase of the CIC2* and CIC3* classes.
It’s also one of the busiest days at HOY, so make sure you get there early. Pack a picnic and bring the family. The lake in the middle of the Waikoko Gardens is the place to be – combinations come through here a couple of times. The best seats in the house are at the VIP marquee on the island.
Sunday is the marquee event of the show, the CSI2* Olympic Cup, for Showjumper of the Year,. This is the best of the best battling it out for the $116,000 prize pool and bragging rights for the year ahead. Top Australian rider James Arkins has made no secret of his desire to take the top title back across the Tasman. Sunday is also the big day for dressage, and punters can expect a lot from the fields this year.
Two riders in particular are chasing not just crowns, but valuable qualifying scores that will make them eligible for selection for the Rio Olympics.
Julie Brougham (Palmerston North) and John Thompson (Hamilton) are both eyeing the Dressage Horse of the Year crown. Brougham and Vom Feinsten are defending their 2015 title, while it will be Thompson and JHT Antonello’s first outing at HOY as a combination.
Antonello is no stranger to the show though, having done extremely well there over the years with his previous owner, Olympian Louisa Hill.
Thompson and Antonello were recently crowned Grand Prix champs at the Dressage National Champs.
Last year at HOY Brougham set an Australasian record for their musical freestyle with their 76% efforts, and a New Zealand record for the Grand Prix Special.
Watch out for the freestyle to music just before the Olympic Cup on Sunday.
Parking is free at the polo grounds.
General admission, multi-day and VIP tickets are still available through www.hoy.kiwi .

Showing off the Standardbred

26 Feb

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Showing Off the Standardbred

Standardbreds are back at HOY and they’re attracting plenty of attention.

Entries have been solid for the section, and a joint sponsorship venture between the New Zealand Standardbred Association and NRM means winners and place-getters will get a little extra for their efforts.

There are 14 classes in the standardbred section with some attracting 10 and more entries, some of whom are travelling from Christchurch for the show.

standardbred ridden

Standardbred Gotham Bromac. Photo by Christina Bird Photography

The titles being tussled for are the Inhand Standardbred of the Year and the Ridden Standardbred of the Year.

HOY first hosted standardbred classes in 2012 where they had just two classes. Section coordinator Claire Madden said plenty had gone in to bringing an entire section to the show.

“It has been a huge collaboration between the North Islands Standardbred Association and the Standardbred Breeders Association.

“The SBA affiliated the breed to the Royal Agricultural Society for us and we have been working closely with them to get classes at HOY . . . it has finally paid off,” said Madden, who is also the secretary of the North Island Standardbred Association.

“We have a great group of people who are very passionate about the breed, promoting them as a sport horse and showing what they can really do.”

Madden is very much, one of those people. She got involved with standardbreds when living in Christchurch. She worked for Nevel R Stud before moving to Bromac Lodge where she prepared yearlings for the sales, and then to harness racing trainer Ken Barron.

However, it wasn’t until she moved to Auckland six years ago that she got a standardbred for a riding horse. For a woman who had competed for most of her life, it was quite a change.

“My partner is a harness racing trainer and driver, as well as a farrier.”

They breed a few mares, race two and Madden now has three standardbreds in the competition arena. She juggles that with her duties with the NISA, the Kumeu Trotting Club where she is also secretary, and as a committee member for the Auckland Trotting Owners Association.

“You could say I am quite deep in standardbreds!”

Gotham Bromac is her main horse. Ironically, she first met him as a yearling she prepared for the sales when working for Bromac Lodge.

“He was bought by my partner’s father as a two-year-old, and just last year had his first season under saddle. He’s gone from strength to strength, clearing maidens and taking many champions.”

He also took all the ridden showing awards at the NISA prize-giving, and was novice champion at the North Island Side Saddle Champs – in his first outing in side saddle. He’ll be at HOY along with Major Ouch, who was given to her by Lincoln Farms after finished his racing career.

Madden and her partner got him back to racing where he won the Taranaki Cup. That sits proudly alongside his prizes as an in hand and ridden show horse, and a 30-kilometre endurance horse.

Standardbreds at HOY will be judged on a variety of things, including best senior mare and gelding, manners, movement, showmanship and a raft of ridden classes too.

The classes are all held at the Polo Grounds on Friday (March 4), starting at 10am.

A standardbred horse is one that is bred to race as a trotter or pacer.



Olympic Cup in Olympic Year Arkins’ Goal

26 Feb

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Olympic Cup in Olympic Year Arkins’ Goal

James Arkins has unfinished business at the Farmlands Horse of the Year Show.

The 24-year-old Aussie raider is already making his presence felt on this side of the Tasman, winning both of his starts amongst some pretty smart company in Auckland and Hamilton.

However, it’s the big prize he has his sights on, aboard his Kiwi bred warmblood/thoroughbred cross Rosthwaite Vigilante II (by Voltaire).

james and vigilante by ana

James Arkins and his Kiwi bred horse Rosthwaite Vigilante II. Photo by Ana Rattray/Cheleken Photography

He is one of 1400 riders heading to Hastings for the 64th Horse of the Year Show. More than 50,000 spectators are expected over the six days, where they will see the very best in New Zealand battle it out for the most prestigious crowns and their share of around $300,000 in prize money.

Included in the line-ups are Rio Olympic hopefuls John Thompson and Julie Brougham in the dressage, and Clarke Johnstone in the eventing.

Arkins also has his eye on making the Australian team for Rio. It’s a big year for him, who hails from just outside of Sydney. While it is the Olympic Cup he wants to claim here, it is the Olympic Games he hopes to be at later this year.

This will be Arkins third time at HOY – he’s started in the Olympic Cup before but not won a ribbon. His first visit to HOY in 2012 saw him place second in the Young Rider of the Year class on the back of a very successful Long White Cloud Tour. He returned in 2014 for his début show with Rosthwaite.

But this year – he figures – is different.

“I want to win the Olympic Cup and Silver Fern Stakes and completely believe the horse is good enough to do it,” says Arkins.

The prize money on offer – $116,000 and $46,000 respectively – would go a long way to helping with his fast-approaching European campaign.

“The money would be great, but winning the Olympic Cup is something you would carry with you for a long time. This is the biggest and richest event in the Southern Hemisphere and that counts for a lot.”

His efforts in the Australian FEI World Cup Series, in which he finished second overall and placed constantly throughout the season, have earned him a spot at the final in Sweden in March, along with an invite to the very prestigious 5* Saut Hermes au Grand Palais Show in the middle of Paris.

He estimates the European campaign will cost around $150,000, and it comes with a mix of emotions.

“I am excited but there is also a fair amount of uncertainty,” he says. “There is the stress of going off to do something I have never done before. So many people tell you different things but I need to work out what is best for us without knowing what is ahead.

“I am leaving everything behind at home where things are going so well and I have everything at my fingertips.”

He was planning on just taking Rosthwaite Vigilante but is now considering taking a second mount.

But in the short term he’s firmly focused on HOY.

And while he may carry an Aussie passport, there is more Kiwi in this camp than first meets the eye. His trainer is former world champ Vaughn Jefferis, who he has been staying with since he arrived here several weeks ago.

“He has been the most influential person in my career,” says Arkins, “and is an incredible mentor to me.”

And it was Jefferis who found Rosthwaite Vigilante for him.

The two met in 2012 when Arkins first crossed the Tasman to compete, but it wasn’t until 2014 he got the horse. Jefferis had seen it as a five-year-old and been impressed.

“He looked amazing,” said Jefferis. “I saw him again as a seven-year-old and we bought him.”

The horse was turned out and when he came back into work he reinforced Jefferis’ belief in him.

“He has turned out just as good as I thought he would be. He is one of the nicest horses I have ever sourced for a client over the years, and James and Vigilante are the perfect match. We certainly haven’t see the best of these two yet.”

Jefferis will accompany Arkins and Vigilante to Europe for the early part of their Rio campaign.

Arkins will be saving the 10-year-old for the big classes at HOY, doing a warm-up on the Tuesday, the McMillan Silver Fern States on the Friday and the Olympic Cup on the Sunday.

“Hopefully this will be the perfect lead in to Europe for us,” says Arkins.


WHAT: Farmlands Horse of the Year Show

WHEN: March 1-6, 2016

WHERE: Hawke’s Bay Showgrounds

TICKETS AND INFO: www.hoy.kiwi

Diana Dobson HOY Media Liaison 021 222 0145

Canadian Fossils Firing for HOY

24 Feb

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Canadian Fossils Firing for HOY

There are a couple of ‘fossils’ travelling half way across the globe to be part of the 2016 Farmlands Horse of the Year Show.

But don’t be fooled into feeling sorry for Canadian mounted games riders Lesley McCoy and Michelle Cruikshanks . . . these two are here for business.

They have been working their own ponies through freezing temperatures, ice, sleet and snow in preparation for the show.

“We’re hopeful of being assets to the team, assisting our New Zealand hosts at HOY,” says Cruikshanks.

Michelle and Talula - sword MG

Michelle Cruickshans and Talula in full flight.

She and McCoy are being hosted by Betty Larsen in Turangi. They arrive in the country late this month, and will ride borrowed ponies in the team championship at HOY, with Cruikshanks also lining up in the pairs.

“We’re very excited,” says Cruikshanks. “Lesley and I have been riding mounted games as a pair and as members of a US/Canadian fossils (mature riders) team for a couple of years. Here in Ontario, we have a fairly small but enthusiastic group of mounted games riders of all ages who compete in a number of competitions.”

They also travel to teams competitions in North Eastern United States.

The two live about an hour’s drive from each other north of Toronto in Ontario – McCoy in Newmarket, which has a population of around 80,000, and Cruikshanks on a farm just north of the village of Cannington, which has just 1900 people.

McCoy works at the Ontario Equestrian Federation and in collaboration with national organization Equine Canada, administers the equine drug-testing programme. Cruikshanks is a recently retired elementary school principal. The two were Pony Club mums for several years and became involved in riding games when their own children were competing in Pony Club Prince Phillip Games.

Cruikshanks has been riding mounted games since 2000 and comes from a background in lower level eventing with a few other disciplines along the way. McCoy had ridden Prince Phillip Games for a year in her youth and returned to it as an adult four years ago.

“We don’t have international rankings but rank ourselves pretty highly whenever the games go our way and our ponies reflect their training!”

Their team won the national championships fossils division in Virginia making the 14 hour drive worthwhile.

“We manage to put together decent results and enjoy the camaraderie of the sport and the joys of riding a well-trained, athletic pony.”

Their trip came through Hawke’s Bay mounted games mum Kate Wiltshire when the women were at the under 17 championships in Ocala, Florida in November. Cruikshanks was coaching the Canadian team, Wiltshire the Kiwis and McCoy was there to watch her own pony on the Canadian team.

“Our enthusiasm and commitment to make it happen if we could was quickly solidified. New Zealand is the one country in the world to which I have always wanted to travel – the country sounds idyllic and anyone who has travelled there comes back with stories about its beauty and the incredible friendliness and hospitality of its people.”

And already, before they have even landed in the country, the women say the hospitality has been phenomenal.

“Betty has set us up with ponies along with herself and two other riders for the team competition. When she was contacted by Kate about the possibility of helping form a team and find ponies for two complete strangers from Canada, her response typified what we have hear of New Zealand hospitality,” says Cruikshanks.

The story behind the silverware

23 Feb

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HOY Trophies

Ever wondered where those top cups and trophies awarded at HOY have come from? Some of the stories behind them are what make up New Zealand’s equestrian history. This is by no means meant to be complete nor definitive, but interesting all the same.




Olympic Cup

The Olympic Cup was donated by Bessie Fullerton-Smith MBE.

For decades she would be at HOY to present the trophy, compete with fresh red roses, until ill heath prevented her attending. In latter years, carrots were added to stop the horses eating the roses.

Fullerton-Smith died at 101 in 2008, and is remembered as a charismatic pioneer in the world of sport. She was a champion golfer who played for New Zealand in Australia and Europe, won the amateur championship in 1932 and 1934, and the national stroke play title in 1937 and 1938.

The Olympic Cup. Photo by Sarah Alderman/KAMPIC

The Olympic Cup. Photo by Sarah Alderman/KAMPIC

On the hunting field, she was master of the Rangitikei Hunt – the first female to do so – and patroness of the New Zealand Hunts’ Association. She hunted well into her 80s.

Fullerton-Smith (nee Gaisford) was an immediate enthusiast for what was then called international showjumping. So much so that she donated the magnificent Olympic Rose Bowl – now the Olympic Cup – to the winner of the Victor Ludorum jump at that first Horse of the Year Show in 1953. That person was Peter Holden, who is still a huge supporter of equestrian in New Zealand.

In 1972 Fullerton-Smith was awarded the MBE for her services to equestrian.


Norwood Gold Cup

Sir Walter Norwood was the son of Sir Charles and Lady Rosina Norwood. His father was a pioneer in the New Zealand motor industry. In 1912 Sir Charles established The Dominion Motors which imported many American cars. Sir Walter joined the company in 1926 and played a prominent part in the development of the business, through to pioneering the assembly in new Zealand of the first Morris vehicles which were imported in completely knocked down form.

He was in England when Harry Ferguson launched the Ferguson TE20 tractor and successfully bid for the New Zealand distributorship.

The Norwood Gold Cup. Photo by Libby Law Photography.

The Norwood Gold Cup. Photo by Libby Law Photography.

The Norwood family business was sold in 1978 to Dalgety.

Sir Walter was the owner of 1971 Melbourne Cup winner Silver Knight, who also won the New Zealand St Leger.

Historically, the Norwood Gold Cup is the first major trophy to be contested at each HOY.

Hansen and Saba Sam were presented the gold cup by Queen Elizabeth for winning the main event at the Royal Horse of the Year Show in Auckland in 1963.

But that is just one highlight in a career that spans so many shows in around 12 years.

Saba Sam was bred by Bill Iorns in the Wairarapa – by Sabaean and out of Patter, a Nigger Minstrel mare owned by Iorns. His lineage traces back to the Blue Peter line.

His dam, who was 32 when he was born, died immediately after having him and Saba Sam was hand reared by Nancy Williams of Te Pari Stud in Masterton.

As a yearling he was bought by Sam Gudsell, Hansen’s uncle, and after a disappointing racing career he was retired.

In May 1957, as a four-year-old, he was given to Hansen. Maurice Beatson is the most successful rider, having won the cup four times. Only four horses have won the cup twice – Big Red with Adrian Yorke, Gospel with Robert Steele, Windrider May Day with Harvey Wilson and HO with T Cruse.


Saba Sam Shield

Graeme Hansen donated the Saba Sam Shield in honour of his mighty little horse who captured the hearts of a nation in the 1960s, much the way Charisma did so many years later.

Hansen rode Saba Sam at the Tokyo Olympics and the partnership were also successful in Australia. Saba Sam also competed with Pat Pharazyn in England before coming home to Gisborne.

Hansen and Saba Sam were presented the gold cup by Queen Elizabeth for winning the main event at the Royal Horse of the Year Show in Auckland in 1963.

The Saba Sam Shield. Photo by Kerry Marshall/KAMPIC

The Saba Sam Shield. Photo by Kerry Marshall/KAMPIC

But that is just one highlight in a career that spans so many shows in around 12 years.

Saba Sam was bred by Bill Iorns in the Wairarapa – by Sabaean and out of Patter, a Nigger Minstrel mare owned by Iorns. His lineage traces back to the Blue Peter line.

His dam, who was 32 when he was born, died immediately after having him and Saba Sam was hand reared by Nancy Williams of Te Pari Stud in Masterton.

As a yearling he was bought by Sam Gudsell, Hansen’s uncle, and after a disappointing racing career he was retired.

In May 1957, as a four-year-old, he was given to Hansen.

And it didn’t take long for this combination to show they were a duo going places.

Hansen later said there were three main highlights – the gold cup, the Olympics and the 1963 Masterton Show.

It seems an odd addition to such a prestigious line up but in those days Masterton was one of the big shows on the circuit.

That year Saba Sam won champion hunter on Friday morning, the champion round the ring jump in the afternoon, champion hack on Saturday morning, after cleaning up all the way there, the grand prix after lunch and topped off the show with the puissance at 1.95m in the last class of the show.

The combination first represented New Zealand in 1959 at home, followed by 1961 in Australia, 1962 back in New Zealand, 1963 Australia, 1964 Tokyo, 1965 England and 1967 Australia. He was retired in 1968. In 1960 and 1968 there was no national team and in 1966 he had a year off.

He won champion hack and hunter of the year at the Horse of the Year show and the puissance three times in a row, but the grand title of Horse of the Year always eluded him.

Hansen first presented the Saba Sam Shield for the winner of the area pony jumping teams event in 1971 after deciding the competition would be a good way to get young riders prepared for tougher challenges ahead.


Lisa Cubitt, a proud winner of the Merrylegs Cup for Lady Rider of the Year. Photo by Libby Law Photography

Lisa Cubitt, a proud winner of the Merrylegs Cup for Lady Rider of the Year. Photo by Libby Law Photography

Merrylegs Cup

Merran Hain and Katie Laurie (nee McVean) are the most successful riders in the Lady Rider of the Year, who receive the Merrylegs Cup, having each won it four times on four different horses.

The cup was donated by EM Lowry and first presented in 1958.


House of Blackmore Cup

The cup, donated by Mr H Blackmore, was first presented for the winner of the six bar class at HOY, but that changed to the Speed Championship victor in 1991.

Megan Stacey aboard Shimmer Man and Nicole White aboard Cricklewood Ace have both won the speed crown twice, while Katie Laurie (nee McVean) has won it twice on tow different horses, as has Anna Stephen.


Nationwide Cup

Maurice Beatson donated this cup in honour of one of his star horses, Nationwide. The horse won the Olympic Cup back-to-back. Folklore has it that former HOY director Kevin Hansen was dropped three times by Nationwide at Taihape Show and came out of the ring offering to sell him to anyone nearby. Beatson took him up on the offer and went on to do very well with him.

The cup is presented to the showjumping rider with the most points at HOY. Vicki Wilson has won it seven times, four of those back-to-back. Beatson himself has claimed it four times.

Molly Buist-Brown with the Somerset Fair Cup for Pony of the Year. Photo by Libby Law Photography.

Molly Buist-Brown with the Somerset Fair Cup for Pony of the Year. Photo by Libby Law Photography.

Somerset Fair Cup

Archie Millen donated the Somerset Fair Cup for the Pony of the Year winner. First presented in 1959, it is the ultimate prize to chase for pony riders at HOY. Misty Morn is the most pony, having won it three consecutive years from 1983-1985 – twice with Daniel Webb and once with Fraser Webb. Several other ponies have carried two different riders to victory – Millbrook, Solitaire and Kizzy.




Olivia Robertson with the Big Red Cup for Young Rider of the Year. Photo by Sarah Alderman/KAMPIC

Olivia Robertson with the Big Red Cup for Young Rider of the Year. Photo by Sarah Alderman/KAMPICBig Red Trophy



Big Red is named after Joe Yorke’s fabulous showjumper of the same name. The horse won many a top prize, including the Olympic Cup, the Norwood Gold Cup, the Pilmer Plate and Rutherford Cup, among others. Yorke took the horse to the 1976 Montreal Olympics where it competed with a damaged splint bone – an injury that was not picked up until after the games.

It is presented to the Young Rider of the Year, but previously went to the Junior Rider of the Year.


Lowry Medallion

The Lowry Medallion, donated by Mr JN Lowry, is for the rider with the most points across HOY. The honour was first awarded as the Presidents Spurs Trophy by WR Duncan, but then as the Lowry Medallion from 1962.

Merran Hain has won the honour nine times, including six times on the trot from 1981-1986. Vicki Wilson has also been very successful, having won it five times including a hat-trick of medallions to her name from 2009 -2011.


Tom Gadsby Memorial Trophy

Tom Gadsby was living his dream as an eventer in the UK when his life was cut short after a fall during the cross country at an event in August 2013. His family donated the trophy in his memory, to be presented to the winner of the Premier Stakes at HOY.

Vicki Wilson and Showtym Cadet MVNZ won the inaugural trophy in 2014.


Ian Nimon Memorial Grand Prix

Ian Nimon’s involvement with equestrian was one that made a big difference across the board. He was a chairman of showjumping, and well respected former director of the Horse Society.

Nimon was a farmer and contractor from Havelock North whose passion was showjumping.




A St H Vallance Challenge Trophy

Tony Vallance always believed very strongly in the concept of show hunter, and in 1991 donated the A St H Vallance Trophy for the Open Show Hunter of the Year winner. Olympian and World Champion Vaughn Jefferis has won the title four times on three different horses, while more recently, Chloe Akers and Kiwi Motto have won it four times. Kiwi Motto has actually won it five times, as Chloe’s sister Lucy took the ride for her after a fall in 2010. Double O Eight has also won the trophy four times, but with three different riders.




Rigoletto Trophy

Presented by Mrs Pam and Mr GGH Gilmour in 1977 and awarded to the Grand Prix Freestyle winner.

At that time, Gordon Gilmour was the managing director of WD and HO Wills, who were a major of HOY.

Bill Noble – the only male to win the trophy – has stamped his mark on this one, having won it five times. His most recent victory was in 2014 with Airthrey Highlander, who is now being campaigned by his daughter Anya. Noble won it three times with Vincent St James and once with Icarus Allsorts.

Some of New Zealand’s greatest dressage horses feature on the trophy, including Tiny White’s Rigoletto for whom the trophy was named, Gaye Withers’ Kaihuna, Merran Hain’s Smiley John, Marcia Bayley’s Kentucky and Louisa Hill’s Olympic horses Gabana and Bates Antonello, among others.


The Auf Weidhersen Trophy

Julian Aaron presented this trophy as a tribute to the mare Auf Weidhersen who won both the HOY and national level two titles. It was first presented in 2014 and is for the Level Two Dressage Horse of the Year. Aaron and his wife Elizabeth, who moved to New Zealand from the UK, are avid supporters of dressage in New Zealand and still involved in projects with Dressage New Zealand.


Pam Weal Memorial Trophy

The Pam Weal Memorial Trophy is presented to the Dressage Young Rider of the Year. Weal, the mother of top New Zealand dressage rider Christine and eventer Judith. She was heavily involved in the national equestrian scene, including as a team manager of the New Zealand Pony Club Inter-Pacific team. She died in 2001. Sue Hobson and Marcia Bayley donated the trophy in her memory.


Judith Simpson Memorial

First presented in 2010, the Judith Simpson Memorial is given to the Grand Prix Horse of the Year. Simpson’s contribution to the sport of dressage was huge. She was the chef d’equip for the first dressage team to Australia, which won the inaugural Trans Tasman Trophy. Simpson also accompanied teams to World Equestrian Games and Olympics.

Many consider her to be the first ‘steward’ before stewarding was even formalised.

Vanessa Way and KH Arvan have twice won the memorial trophy.


Dressage NZ Advanced Plate

Louisa Hill and Kallista Field share the honour of most wins of the Dressage NZ Advanced Plate, which was donated by the federation discipline. Hill has won the plate – presented to the Advanced Dressage Horse of the Year – four times with her horses Gabana, Rockafella and Witzstein, while Field secured a hat-trick of wins with Waikiwi FE and earlier with JK Lots of Fun. Marcia Bailey and Rubicon also had three back-to-back wins in the mid 1990s. The plate was first presented in 1990.

Nothing like HOY for the Barkes

22 Feb

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Nothing like HOY for the Barkes

HOY is a rather addictive habit for husband and wife dressage riders Peter and Debbie Barke.

Peter and Debbie Barke portrait (1) low

The whole team . . . Peter Barke with Aachen II, his wife Debbie with Mzungu, Pom the English Pointer and 16-year-old Maude the cat. Photo by Tracey Robinson

The Rotorua couple, both of whom hold the British Horse Societies Instructors certificate, will again line up at the prestigious show. Debbie, who is also part of the Sport New Zealand Bay of Plenty Performance Coach Programme, first competed there in 2002, missing just two.

She has had plenty of success over the years, including winning championship titles for level 2, 4 and advanced with Mzungu. Lucrative SW has been reserve champion of level 5 but this year will compete at level 8 aboard Lucrative SW and level 2 on RM Limbo.

She has high hopes for Lucrative SW going forwards.

“Lucrative SW missed selection for the national squad last year due to lack of competing but has some great scores this year. He is looking like he is developing well.

”All going well at the HOY we hope to be selected back onto the national squads and fingers crossed maybe even the ESNZ High Performance Squad, but time will tell.”

The priority for this combination is to develop strength and confidence in grand prix work and pay attention to detail.

Peter, by his own admission, has had “lots of entertaining rides” at HOY. Debbie says his former level 6/7 horse often struggled with the big HOY atmosphere. This year he will compete in level 4 at HOY aboard Parkridge Donnamour.

“She is getting braver but finds the music and atmosphere a bit stressful there,” says Debbie.

Parkridge Donnamour and RM Limbo are the younger ones on the team but both progressing nicely.

“Both have really stepped up well this year. We are hoping Donnamour will gain a couple of good scores at nationals or HOY which will full fill the criteria to enable her to be considered for the Young Horse Development Squad.”

RM Limbo, who turns six at the end of January, has won three champions at the three regional championship shows he has done this year.

“It will be his first HOY and he has quite a ‘sense of humour’,” says Debbie, “so it will be an interesting week for him.”

And they have plenty more horses at home where they have stabling for 14 and indoor and outdoor arenas.

There they produce their own competition horses as well as coaching and training and schooling horses.

As excited as Debbie is for HOY and her current competition horses, she says there is some serious talent in the wings.

RM Susie Q – who is by Statue Quo and out of a San Rubin/Salute mare – is one that catches her eye.

“She is simply beautiful,” she says.

Astek Glamorous RM – who is by Gym Bello and out of an Anamour mare – is another, and one she describes as “a dream young horse”.

They also have two yearlings, including one who is related to Lucrative SW, and some lovely foals from the current season.

“We have lots to do,” she says.

They do most of the work themselves but know when to call for extra hands.

“We have some very special people who have worked with us over the years and are brilliant at helping out at busy times or when we are at HOY.” It’s an event they love.

“It is a chance to catch up with so many friends and sponsors there,” says, who admits to more than just a few nerves about where the horses will be stabled.

“I don’t sleep for a few days before we go worrying about it. It’s hard work with two of us competing and often quite a distance between truck, horses, facilities, different arenas and THE shops, but it’s great to be there and watching and helping our clients who showjump, event and show as well as dressage.

“It is a wonderful feeling riding in The Oval, especially when the horses do cope and rise to the occasion . . . sometimes you have good luck with the noise from the nearby showjumping main arena sometimes you don’t, but that’s just HOY.”


International Assessor in NZ for Warmblood Classification Tour

22 Feb

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Categories: Feb 2016

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International Assessor in NZ for Warmblood Classification Tour

New Zealand owners of warmblood horses have the perfect opportunity to have their horses classified at HOY.

In an effort to increase the quality of national breeding stock, the New Zealand Warmblood Association are holding a classification day on Sunday, March 6, to coincide with the show.

warmblood 1

The Classification Tour 2016 includes accredited German assessor Gerd Kust, who has a long association with the Holsteiner Verband and ZDFP.

A classification is an approval of a horse for breeding purposes. The NZWA always bring international experts to the country for the classification process, which they strive to hold at least every three years.

The current tour will start at HOY before heading to other major sites around the country, ending at a classification event at the South Island Warmblood Championship Show at McLeans Island on March 13.

Having a classification is an indication of quality as well as adding value to the horse. Not every horse passes, ensuring the high standard is maintained.

The Warmblood Association was started in New Zealand in the 1970s and was initially focused on getting “desirable performance traits” into warmblood mares. The ‘modern’ warmblood contains warmblood, thoroughbred and Arab blood only.

“Way back when warmblood breeds were being started, they crossed a hot breed with a cold breed,” says Zielazo. “Centuries ago they were using draft horses for war but found they weren’t agile enough but when they crossed with a hot breed, they were better suited for war.”

The NZWA is the oldest and one of the largest breed associations in the country. They have around 400 members, but thousands of horses registered.

The HOY classification is the first time it has been run in conjunction with the show and Zielazo is hopeful competitors will take full advantage of the opportunity.

“Part of the classification is us looking at the quality of the horses and getting an understanding of where the breed is in New Zealand.”

Everything will be looked at – from foals to mature horses, as well as geldings, stallions and mares. Registered derivative warmbloods – with a minimum of 25% warmblood mixed wtih any other breed – are also welcome to be classified.

“There are such amazing bloodlines coming in, this is certainly the place to be at the moment!”

Anyone interested should email president@nzwarmbloods.co.nz .There is a cost involved in the classifying and horses need to be eligible for registration. Registrations are essential and can be done through  http://nzwarmbloods.co.nz/classification.php .

For more information, head to www.nzwarmbloods.co.nz .


People’s Day at HOY Not To Be Missed

21 Feb

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People’s Day at HOY
Not To Be Missed

There’s nothing like being an arm’s reach away from an eventer at full tilt.

That’s just what those at People’s Day (on Saturday March 5) can expect – heart-stopping, adrenalin-bumping and just all-round inspiring stuff, just metres away from the action in the CIC2* and CIC3* classes.

It’s one of the busiest days at HOY, so anyone keen to be there should get in the gates early. Prime spots are snapped early, but with acres of land at the Showgrounds, there is always a possie to be had.

The lake in the middle of the Waikoko Gardens is the place to be – combinations come through here a couple of times. The best seats in the house are at the VIP marquee on the island.

The VIP area on the cross country course is a popular place to be for People’s Day. Photo by Libby Law Photography

The VIP area on the cross country course is a popular place to be for People’s Day. Photo by Libby Law Photography


Combinations jump through the lake in both directions – it’s incredible to watch the power of the horse and skill of the rider.

It is eventing that New Zealand is so celebrated for on a global stage. Our riders are recognised as some of the most accomplished and successful in the world, and particularly Sir Mark Todd and Andrew Nicholson, both of whom have been based in the UK for many years. Last year, rising star Jonelle Price was ranked number two in the world, and was the highest ranked woman, but her husband Tim is currently New Zealand’s top-ranked eventer at number three.

As we head towards the Rio Olympics, all eyes will again be on the Kiwis to see if they can reclaim an Olympic gold medal – they won a team bronze at London in 2012.


There’s standing room only at some of the spot around the cross country course on People’s Day. Photo by Libby Law PHotography

There’s standing room only at some of the spot around the cross country course on People’s Day. Photo by Libby Law PHotography

Included in the CIC3* field at HOY is New Zealand’s only on-shore based high performance eventer, Clarke Johnstone (Matangi) who will line up with his Rio hopeful Balmoral Sensation.

They won the event in 2014 and an injury saw them not even make it to the show last year, but a win would be the perfect send-off for Johnstone, who was a member of the bronze medal winning New Zealand team at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in 2010.

The internationally-celebrated John Nicholson – brother of former world number one eventer Andrew Nicholson – is tasked with designing the course. It comes with plenty of challenges and it is not until just before the first horse heads out onto the course that everything is in place.

Emily Cammock and Dambala power through the water in the CIC3* at the 2015 show. Photo by Kerry Marshall/KAMPIC

Chloe Phillips-Harris & Cor-jet power through the water in the CIC3* at the 2015 show. Photo by Kerry Marshall/KAMPIC


Nicholson travels the world designing courses and teaching other aspiring designers under an FEI scheme. Since the 2015 show he’s travelled the world, invited to design courses in

the United States, Sweden, Australia and more.

His own event – the Kihikihi International Horse Trial – is widely regarded as the best in the country.

Two years ago, in a world first, he had competitors galloping right through a marquee, and took that one more step in 2015 when they twice went through tents.

“I do look forward to HOY each year but it is also a very challenging event to design for,” says Nicholson. “I am very conscious of the proximity of the crowd and about looking after everyone.”

In full HOY mode, the showgrounds are chocker.

“The shortage of room and just how much is going on around the grounds means I am very limited in what I can do,” he says. “I try and create a course that is good for people to watch but that tightness of space means it can’t be the most technical of courses.” That closeness brings with it an exciting new experience for horses and riders.“Eventing in New Zealand just doesn’t have that anywhere else. Everything is right in the riders’ faces for most of the course.”

HOY comes to a halt to give the two eventing classes their time in the spotlight.

The fields in both the CIC2* and CIC3* are stacked with some of the best onshore talent New Zealand has, including many up-and-coming stars. Competitors will have already completed their dressage tests (Thursday), and the showjumping (Friday).

The most exciting place to watch the cross country from will be in the Waikoko Gardens where they gallop through the lake just metres from the crowds. It’s heart-stopping and adrenalin-pumping and you won’t want to miss a minute of it.

The gates open at 8.30am so nab a spot early to avoid missing out, or guarantee one of the best seats in the house in the Hospitality Tent, positioned next to the water jump in the Waikoko Gardens, and enjoy, a buffet lunch, canapés and drinks. Get tickets here Buy Now

Hicks’ Hot Topic Back to Horses

20 Feb

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Hicks’ Hot Topic
Back to Horses


The Hicks family got more than they bargained for when they headed to the 2014 Horse of the Year Show as spectators.

Glen and Jo had both previously competed in showjumping, dressage and eventing – but that stopped 18 years ago when they opted to focus on their careers.

Things in the Hawke’s Bay household are a whole lot different this year – Glen, Jo and their eight-year-old son Reef are all competing.

Reef’s twin Ritchie is just starting his riding career while the older two Lachlan and PJ are not interested in competing, however Lachlan is thinking about going hunting in the coming season. PJ, the eldest, did a small horsey stint as a youngster. Those not riding competitively still head to shows with the family and earn pocket money helping with chores.

It’s a family thing for the Hicks family, captured here at the Hawke’s Bay Hunt at Whakamarumaru. Photo by Sarah Alderman/KAMPIC

It’s a family thing for the Hicks family, captured here at the Hawke’s Bay Hunt at Whakamarumaru. Photo by Sarah Alderman/KAMPIC

Jo and Reef have both been competing in show hunter, and slowly adding more showjumping to their schedules, while Glen is loving being back out in the arenas he did so well in years ago.

He’s chasing the amateur series this year and is hopeful things will go his way in the title class at HOY and the series final in Masterton in April, while Jo pursues the amateur show hunter crown.

“This time last year we had just one horse but now there are seven,” says Glen, who rode for New Zealand in the international businessmen’s team in Japan several times. “At HOY a couple of years ago we caught up with a lot of good friends and got the bug back. We started doing a little hunting and built the team up from there.

“We really missed the sport and are loving being back in it and giving things a good old crack!”

The couple own East Bay Finance and Jo also takes care of the 500 bulls on their 600-acre farm which is 45 minutes from their city base in Hastings.

Initially when they gave up riding nearly two decades ago, they “chased the big cheques” around the country in competitive sports fishing competitions.

“It was fun but there isn’t the comradeship of shows and horses,” says Glen. “That is what is so good for this sport.”

They still have Hot Topic, the 10-metre Senator boat, but the competitions have gone by the wayside. All four of the boys are named after Hawke’s Bay fishing spots.

Graham and Ashley Hart have been instrumental in helping the Hicks family put together their team, which includes Kiwi Hope, Kiwi Storm, Bambino NZPH, Weiti Aubergine and King Ted the pony.

It’s pretty busy with three of them riding competitively and Glen says it has taken some getting used to.

“It’s been a challenge getting our heads back around it really,” he says. “We used to do it with big teams years ago. We’ve got some help to make it work a bit easier as we head towards the end of the season.”

And he’s hopeful that will lead to a successful second début at HOY this year.

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