HOY 2017 Deconstructed!

23 Mar

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HOY 2017 Deconstructed!

Horse of the Year is over for another season and it certainly will go down in history as one of the wettest HOYs ever. While the weather provided a disappointing backdrop, the show went on to crown the big show jumping titles on Sunday with Karaka’s Lily Tootill walking away with the prestigious Olympic Cup.

The crown jewel of HOY, the Olympic Cup is the class that show jumpers all over New Zealand dream of winning, and it was young Lily’s time to shine with her fabulous horse Ulysses NZPH. Fondly known as Ronald at home, the chestnut gelding bred by NZPH stud jumped well in very wet conditions and went double clear to take the win. The field was impressive indeed with twenty-one of the top combinations in the country lining up, and 2016 winners Helen McNaught and Carnutelabryere showed their consistency coming in second behind Lily. Helen had her big win of the week with the Aarts’ family’s LT Holst Aunty Annette taking out the Silver Fern Stakes on Friday afternoon.

Earlier that morning the Farmlands Pony of the Year was announced with South Island combination Steffi Whittaker and Moonlight Glow the only double clear. International course builder Werner Deeg built tough but fair courses under the conditions, taking into account the rain and wet ground.

The dressage title was hard fought and beautifully won by Abbie Deken on her gorgeous KH Ambrose, who was all smiles as the combination skipped around the Land Rover Premier Arena for their victory lap. The decision to cancel the cross-country phase of the eventing was made early Saturday morning due to the dangerous conditions and wet grounds making ambulance access difficult and meant that there was no Eventer of the Year crowned for 2017.

While the mud made for cancelled classes and shuffled timetables, it also heralded a massive mud fight on Saturday much to the delight of riders and spectators. The innovative Wilson sisters of TV series ‘Keeping Up With the Kaimanawas’ fame instigated the filthy fun and many joined in for a good laugh. Tractors were working overtime to pull trucks and cars out of the camping grounds but an overwhelmingly positive vibe stuck around despite the wet weather. It’s only the second time Horse of the Year has seen that much mud in the nearly twenty years it has been based in Hastings and though it makes for a difficult competition, trade was booming and did a great day on Saturday while it was too wet to ride.

Though Saturday may be remembered for the cancellation of the cross country and other show jumping classes, it also heralded dessert chef Adriano Zumbo’s debut at the event. His dessert degustation was a huge success with the VIP tent packed full of those keen to experience his creations alongside Harney and Sons Fine Tea. The five course dessert menu was beautifully complemented by delicious teas and the feedback was truly fantastic.The team is now looking forward to debriefing and getting stuck into the 2018 show.

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