Treble The Way To Go

4 Mar

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Treble The Way To Go


Vanessa Way’s “magic year” is continuing.

The dressage queen from Taranaki today won three titles, each on horse that already also holds the North Island and New Zealand national titles in their various levels.

NSC Pronto took out the Level 2 Horse of the Year crown, NRM Andreas the Level 3 Horse of the Year and NRM KH Arion the Level 4.

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Champs . . . Vanessa Way aboard the 2016 Level 4 Horse of the Year Champion NRM KH Arion. Photo by Jan Sutherland/Take the Moment

Way started in 11 classes at HOY, and won 10.

She has had NSC Pronto just over a year.

“He’s a horse I bought with my long term sponsor National Saddle Centre for the dream of being my Grand Prix champion of the future,” she said.

They were comfortable winners, scoring 74.84% and 78.929% in their two tests.

“He’s had a couple of 78 tests actually and is undefeated throughout the season,” said Way.

She first noticed Pronto as a two-year-old on Trade Me but he was already sold when she called to inquire. She then headed to Europe to find her new superstar but “after a couple of failed vet checks and eye-opening experiences”, she came back to “safer ground”.

‘I am really pleased to have a New Zealand bred horse, it’s good for the sport.”

Six-year-old NRM KH Arion has been with Way since he was two and is a full brother to KH Arvan, the very special horse she lost last year.

It’s even more special as Way worked at the stud as a child doing all the in-hand work.

“Arion is the last of the line and was an orphan foal.”

However, that hasn’t hindered him in the competition arena.

“Arion was undefeated at nationals but had a big training session with (trainer) Peter (Storr) last week left him a bit flat for HOY, so we were nicely pushed along by my pupil Sharlene Royal and Sonic Spirit,” says Way.

“I do love my pupils beating me it means I am coaching good and raising standards. It means I am doing a good job!”

But she is perhaps most excited about NRM Andreas, an eight-year-old who has been with her for just six months.

“He is a magic horse.”

Andreas was owned by Mandy Littlejohn, a Burkner medal winner, who would work with Way.

“I had been helping her with him for a couple of years but he has a lot of attitude and personality, and would come often to boot camp with me only to go home and challenge his mother.”

Way bought the horse but says Littlejohn’s mother Pam still owns the tail and Beth and Tony Bielski own his heart.

“He was outstanding here,” says Way. “He is an absolute freak. He does all the grand prix moves with ease.”

He impressed the judges too, garnering just under 80% from one international, and because of his age, Way plans to push him hard.

“Next year he will have to step it up to Prix St Georges.”

Missing from Way’s line-up at HOY is her Grand Prix horse NRM Arawn.

“He keeps challenging me,” she says. “He had three mild injuries to his and while I was doing everything the vet said with the box rest but it was becoming a curse because he is so explosive.”

He will be brought back into work in May. Meanwhile, with her own classes done and dusted, Way gets to support her pupils at HOY, including Abbie Deken and her “two superstars” Lucarne Dolley and Molly Lumb.

Every winter Way heads to the UK where she trains with dressage supremo Carl Hester and she also has input from Peter Storr, who travels to New Zealand three to four times a year to train her.

Her team of six horses at home – as well as students and other commitments – have meant less time for her offshore.

“I am very excited to have Carl coming out to visit me later in the year.”

And she’s hopeful her whole team will be on song for the World Cup Final in New Zealand in 2017.


Results –


Level 2 Horse of the Year: Vanessa Way (Taranaki) NSC Pronto 1, Debbie Barke (Rotorua) RM Limbo 2, Holly Leach (Hamilton) HP Fresco 3, Rebecca Rowlands (Christchurch) Solo 4, Alix Campbell (Albany) Astek Robina 5, Willa Aitken (Waipawa) Alpha Beta 6.


Level 3 Horse of the Year: Vanessa Way (Taranaki) NRM Andreas 1.


Level 4 Horse of the Year: Vanessa Way (Taranaki) NRM KH Arion 1, Sharlene Royal (Greenhithe) Sonic Spirit 2, Christine Weal (Te Awamutu) Stoneylea Lord Locksely 3, Jutta Rosenblatt (Wanganui) Volrath Lauretta 4, Mihi Shepherd (Whangarei) Hot Chocolate MH 5, Lauren Haig (Darfield) Grandioso BH 6.


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