Bug on Fire in Pro Amateur
It was only a few years ago that Emma Gaze was carefully nursing Fire Bug back to health after an almost career-ending paddock accident, but today the Ohaupo combination won the GJ Gardner Homes Pro Amateur Rider of the Year (Part of the Let’s Bale Pro Amateur Series).
Six of the 28 starters came back for the jump-off where Gaze’s 46.93 second round proved untouchable.
It was her first-ever HOY title, and one very dear to her heart too. Ironically the radiographer qualified second on her other horse Woodland Bug and had taken a rail with Fire Bug, but opted to start the 10-year-old.
Woody is a little spooky and Gaze thought the atmosphere in the Land Rover Premier Arena would be too much for the horse, and it helped that Fire Bug is sitting higher on the series leaderboard.
But three years ago, Fire Bug was badly hooked up in a deer fence.
“Some people said she should have been put down,” remembers 31-year-old Gaze.
However, she and mum Wendy carefully nursed the mare back to health and today they were well rewarded for their patience.
The mare is quite opinionated and Gaze says she has to “ask her nicely” to do everything. Today was clearly a good day.
“When she is on form, she is amazing.”
As Gaze warmed up she says she dared dream about winning the class, but quickly pulled herself back into line and had to force herself to concentrate.
“You put all the work in but you never really know how things will roll out on the day,” she said.
Fire Bug is out of Bush Bug, as are a number of Gaze’s horses, including Jitter Bug, Woodland Bug, Lady Bug and Kowhai Bug.
“I got Bush Bug from Maurice (Beatson) when I was 17 and just fell in love. She was a quirky little thing and tried so hard. Mum wanted to get into breeding and things just skyrocketed from there.”
Bush Bug had all the boys, and the rest are through embryo transfer.
“Everything we do is for the love of the horses – and on the smell of an oily rag!”
Key for her whole operation is that the horses are happy.
“I want them to be enjoying their jobs.”
She hopes her good form will continue, and she now has her sights set on the 1.3m speed class.
“I am just over the moon! It is so exciting when you get the results.”
Gaze and her partner Brendan have just bought their first property together, so it has been a busy year for the couple.
GJ Gardner Homes Pro Amateur Rider of the Year (part of the Let’s Bale Pro Amateur Series): Emma Gaze (Ohaupo) Fire Bug 1, Bob Bleakley (Cambridge) Airthrey Resolution 2, Rosie Commons (Auckland) Athena GNZ 3, Tim Pearce (Marton) Oracle WT 4, Louise Bowie (Pahiatua) Kiwi Hammer 5, Kelly Smith (Foxton) Corlinka 6.