Land Rover Horse Of The Year 2024, Wednesday, March 06, 2024
Cindy Kershaw and Kiwi Vision win the Wade Equine Coaches Amateur Rider of the Year title at the Land Rover Horse of the Year 2024, Tomoana Showgrounds, Hastings, New Zealand. Wednesday, March 06, 2024 Copyright Photo: KAMPIC / Kerry Marshall

It’s been a few years since Gisborne relief teacher Cindy Kershaw has competed at the Land Rover Horse of the Year Show, actually, last time it was when she was riding ponies in showing classes.

This year she made her debut in the jumping classes at HOY, and today rode off with the Wade Equine Coaches Amateur Rider of the Year title. The win was made all the more special as she had her mum Christine, nine-year-old daughter Rose and a large contingent of Gisborne mates there to cheer her on. Fittingly, she was also awarded the trophy, donated by fellow Gisborne equestrian and Defender Arena gate steward Blake Keane.

“I am absolutely chuffed,” said a rather emotional Cindy. “The plan was just to go out and have fun.”

Twenty-nine started the class with eight coming back for the jump-off. Cindy and Kiwi Vision were first out and she rode into the premier arena with coach Andrew Scott’s advice ringing in her ears, “ride the corners” he told her.

She did that, setting a pace none could match. Her double clear in 46.65 seconds took the win, with Suzanne Black aboard Castellane AF second in 48.84, and fastest four faulter Jeremy Clark aboard Dynavyte Ipso Facto third in 41.

“It is so special,” said Cindy. Vinnie – as he is known at home – had been faultless in the Amateur Rider class. “I had nothing to lose out there.”

She is continually grateful for the support of mum Christine. “Even though I am 40 years old she comes to every shot to help me.”

Cindy rode as a child but gave up after uni. She and her husband lived offshore for a period and it was only when she came back to New Zealand five years ago that she got back into riding. “Mum had a horse I rode for a bit and then I bought Vinnie from Fernhill Stud. He just had a beautiful nature and was light on his feet with lovely paces.”

They bonded immediately. Cindy puts a lot of time into flat schooling with training from Phillip Oxenius and Andrew Scott, who she credits for their fantastic win this afternoon.