Jacqui Symes And Takapoto Sienna (amateur) )
Jacqui Symes and Takapoto Sienna, winning the Show Hunter Amateur Rider of the Year crown. 2024 Land Rover Horse of the Year. Copyright: Michelle Clarke Photography.

Some things are just meant to be . . . like Jacqui Symes winning the Show Hunter Amateur Rider of the Year crown.

It’s been 20 years since the relief teacher from Waipuk has competed at the Land Rover Horse of the Year Show and back then it certainly wasn’t in the show hunter arena. But a lot can happen over the years.

Four years ago she bought a horse she says had a real specialness about her. She’s talking about Takapoto Sienna who had a talent for show hunter. Jacqui was a showjumper looking to get back into the sport.

“I just fell in love with her,” she says of the now eight-year-old she bought from Takapoto. “She is so beautiful and has a really good nature. She had been backed and Jaime Campbell had done a little with her as a four-year-old.”

Their win in the show hunter title class is their first ever. “It is really cool. I am lucky I have a nice horse and was a bit lucky. She just has a lot of presence and a really good technique.”

They also finished second in the series. “I am just thrilled. It all has to come together on the day though!”

But there is another rather special link to show hunter for Jacqui. Her late sister Anne had a dealing yard in Belgium with John Gray and they were the biggest European sellers of show hunter to the United States.

“She would have been thrilled with us winning a show hunter title.” 

Jacqui is hugely appreciative of the input and guidance she’s had from Oliver and Brooke Edgecombe.

LRHOY is a favourite for Jacqui, who lives on a lifestyle block just out of Waipukurau. “The best thing is running into so many people you haven’t seen for years.”

She and Sienna also won the Rising Star Working Hunter of the Year and placed third in the Working Hunter of the Year.

For full results, head to https://www.evoevents.co.nz/resultClass/2135886027/146/9