By Diana Dobson

It was a big day for the Kiwi Young Rider team, Fraser Tombleson and Emma Watson at the Larsen Sawmilling Showjumping Championships in Gisborne.

The Kiwis won the Trans-Tasman test, Tombleson set the record straight with his classy double clear victory in the Bayley’s Real Estate Premier League, and Watson was stoked to have her gorgeous pink pony back on track.

Everything was locked up heading into the final day of the Trans Tasman, but the Kiwis hunkered down to take the victory.

Tombleson and his lovely grey homebred mare Mea I headed off nine other combinations to take the honours in the premier league.

Six combinations were clear in the opening round of the class – Tombleson, Emily Hayward (Te Awamutu) aboard Yandoo Lady Gold, Oliver Croucher (Rotorua) on Waitangi Surf, Tash Brooks (Cambridge) on her former racehorse Kapattack, Tess Clark (Gisborne) and Sinatra II and Jasmine Sketchley (Whangarei) aboard her imported stallion Bravado Ego Z were clear but picked up a single time fault.

Nine combinations came back for the second round, carrying their faults.

There Sketchley was again clear but picked up another time penalty to finish on two faults. Hayward and Yandoo Lady Gold took a rail at the big oxer to sit on four faults, coming home in 51.68 seconds. Brooks looked on track to go clear until the second last fence, and ended up with a disappointing nine faults and out of the money.

Clark and Sinatra II took a rail to finish on four faults in 55.53 seconds. That left it all up to Tombleson, who was having a little de ja vu moment.

At the Spring Show in October he was in exactly the same position – needing double clear to take the class. Unfortunately, it didn’t go well that time and both he and Mea I ended up on the turf. He wasn’t about to let that happen again.

“I was feeling a little nervous but still confident she would jump well,” he said.

It was their first premier start, meaning fences on the John Vallance-designed course were at 1.4-1.6m in height. Tombleson and eight-year-old Mea won the 1.4m earlier in the show, so he knew she was on form . . . but untested at the higher height.

“I love John’s courses – he’s very good and we are to lucky have him (at the show).”

He’s now setting his sights on the Horse of the Year Show where he will contest the 1.3m then the prestigious Norwood Gold Cup before heading south to a wedding in Wanaka.

“I am really happy with her,” said Tombleson. “We haven’t done a lot this season because I’ve been busy farming, so this is really great.”

Also purring after the class was Sketchley, who was on début at premier level too. She brought her chestnut stallion home from Australia as a two-year-old.

“I had no expectations coming into this class.”

She was over the moon with the double clear efforts of her eight-year-old.

“I am not so worried about the time faults – you can always go faster, it is the double clear you want,” she said.

Sketchley is hoping to head back to Australia to compete at the end of next season. This season has been a busy one for her, and included getting engaged.

Meanwhile, Emma Watson is stoked to have her pony back on form.

It’s been a funny couple of weeks for Watson and the popular Maddox Fun House, but today it all got back on track with victory in the Country TV Pony Grand Prix.

The opening round saw just Watson (Morrinsville) aboard Fun House and Brett Horsburgh (Cambridge) on Showtym Endeavour leave everything up. There were plenty of bogey fences around the John Vallance (AUS) designed course for the rest of the field.

Nine of the 10 starting combinations came back for the second round, all carrying their respective faults.

In the second, running in reverse order, it came down to Horsburgh and Watson. Horsburgh was aboard Showtym Endeavour – the chestnut who won the very same class in the hands of his sister Deanna last year. This is Horsburgh’s first season with the well-performed pony but that didn’t stop them setting a slick pace and applying plenty of pressure to Watson.

But she stuck to her plan.

“I was just to ride off my natural ability and not worry about what the others were doing,” said the 14-year-old. “I was just riding for myself.”

Just as well, as there were plenty of faults being accumulated by others as they did their best.

“There were plenty of hairy moments in the second round but we got there. I am just so happy that Pink is jumping good again – she hasn’t been going as well as usual in the last few weeks.”

The pony is part quarter horse and part appaloosa – the former coming in handy in a jump off.

“She can turn on nothing and I can feel the real power from behind – it comes in handy sometimes!”

Horsburgh stopped the clock at 53.87 seconds, so Watson knew there was no room for error. She slid round corners where none had dared, and came home in 51.07 seconds.

“I knew we were going fast but I wasn’t 100% we had gone fast enough. I really had to work for it out there today. It’s a pretty special win for me.”

Watson has had 12-year-old Pink for three years. Fittingly, it was at this same show four years ago that she first saw the pony with her previous rider Matt Irvine.


RESULTS – Showjumping

Bayley’s Real Estate Premier League: Fraser Tombleson (Gisborne) Mea I 1, Jasmine Sketchley (Whangarei) Bravado Ego Z 2, Emily Hayward (Te Awamutu) Yandoo Lady Gold 3, Tess Clark (Gisborne) Sinatra II 4, Emily Hayward (Te Awamutu) AP Ninja 5, Oliver Croucher (Rotorua) Waitangi Surf 6.

Country TV Pony Grand Prix: Emma Watson (Morrinsville) Maddox Fun House 1, Brett Horsburgh (Cambridge) Showtym Endeavour 2, Brooke Hawthorne (Cambridge) Easy As 3, Georgia Bouzaid (Cambridge) Redcliffs Bill 4, Tyla Hackett (Waiuku) The Dreamer 5, Phoebe Burns (Hawke’s Bay) Galaxy Masterpiece 6.

Trans-Tasman Test: New Zealand (Olivier Croucher, Matt Irvine, Nakeysha Lammers and Lucinda Askin) 1, Australia (Jamie Priestley, Madeline Sinderberry, Jessica Trip and Jessie Rice-Ward) 2.

FMG Young Rider Series: Leeshelle Small (Auckland) AMS Ajaccio NZPH 1, Oliver Croucher (Rotorua) Waitangi Surf 2, Matt Irvine (Takapau) Wall Street III 3, Bryony Smith (Muriwai) Ngahiwi Warrior 4, Emily Hayward (Te Awamutu) Yandoo Lady Gold 5, Mikayla Herbert (Rotorua) Snow Storm 6.

Dunstan Horsefeeds & EquiFibre Junior Rider with Equitation: Tyla Hackett (Waiuku) Gin 1, Emma Watson (Morrinsville) Maddox Kiwi Silverkee 2, Emelia Forsyth (Clevedon) Leeston Eagle 3, Sarah McKinnon (Wairoa) Matilda II 4, Emma-Kate Wilson (Hamilton) Bjorking 5, Sinead Dolman (Gisborne) Kiwi Lansing 6.

Dunstan Horsefeeds & EquiFibre Pro Amateur Rider Series: Louise Bowie (Pahiatua) Kiwi Hammer 1, Rebecca Porter (Napier) Kiwi Jet 2, Karen Riddle (Rotorua) LC Talent 3, Donna Atkinson (Te Puke) Dob Em In 4, Shelley Ross (Helensville) Onward 5, Robbie McKay (Opotiki) My Bush Baby 6.

Caledonian Holdings Amateur Rider Series: Holly Baines (Gisborne) PreMo 1, Caroline Sutherland (Whakatane) Layla MVNZ 2, June Berrington (Whakatane) Kiwi Iron Mark 3, Merran Hain (Gisborne) Untouchable 4, Graeme Isaacson (Waipukurau) Pokere 5, Jenny Randall (Gisborne) Nero Bello 6.

Main-Events University Series: Todd Magner (Hokitika) Awatuna Jonesy 1, Bryony Smith (Muriwai) Ngahiwi Indigo 2, Rebecca Porter (Napier) Mr Harrison 3, Tristan Thomas (Rotorua) Airborne MVNZ 4

Purepine Shavings Seven-Year-Old Series: Oliver Croucher (Rotorua) Kiwi King 1, Jesse Linton (Hastings) Eye Wonder 2, Julie Davey (Hastings) Ngahiwi Stone 3, Natasha Brooks (Cambridge) Twerk 4, Danielle Maurer (Kaukapakapa) Henton Exchequer 5, Leeshelle Small (Auckland) AMS Mr Muscles 6.

Mitavite Six-Year-Old Series: Logan Massie (Dannevirke) Lamondo GNZ and Jesse Linton (Hastings) Vitess =1.

East Coast Five-Year-Old Series: Anna Rasmussen (Hastings) Expozay 1.


RESULTS – Show hunter 

ESNZ combined junior/adult rider equitation 1m: Tristan Thomas (Rotorua) Airborne MVNZ 1, Henrike Puketapu (Gisborne) Diplomat MVNZ 2, Rosie Mottart (Gisborne) Weiti Jubilee 3, Rebecca Conole (Masterton) Private Benjamin III 4, Sage Harding (Wairoa) Sock It 5.

NRM open horse high points 1.1m: Merran Hain (Gisborne) Untouchable 1, Holly Baines (Gisborne) Hero 2, Larina Dolman (Gisborne) Floriant DHU 3, Leah Porter (Napier) De Becker 4, Rebecca Conole (Masterton) Private Benjamin III 5.

ESNZ pony rider equitation 80cm: Jessica McCann (Gisborne) Last Spring 1, Amelia Paull (Gisborne) Pine Hollow MJK Swiper 2.

Aniwell open high points 90cm C: Skye Edwards (Opotiki) My Heekin Special 1, Dylan Bibby (Onga Onga) Daisy Patch 2, Annabel Kerr (Hastings) Wemblebrook Liberty Fair 3, Jessica McCann (Gisborne) Last Spring 4.

Combined GYRO Plastics junior and ESNZ amateur high pouts HOY: Tristan Thomas (Rotorua) Airborne MVNZ 1, Leah Porter (Napier) De Becker 2, Rosie Mottart (Gisborne) Weiti Jubilee 3, Holly Baines (Gisborne) Hero 4, Eugene Black (Whakatane) Masaccio 5.

Combined ESNZ junior/adult rider equitation 1m: Tristan Thomas (Rotorua) Airborne MVNZ 1, Jesse Linton (Hastings) Vitess 2, Rosie Mottart (Gisborne) Weiti Jubilee 3.

NRM HOYQ horse highpoints 1.1m: Merran Hain (Gisborne) Untouchable 1, Tristan Thomas (Rotorua) Airborne MVNZ 2, Leah Porter (Napier) De Becker 3, Jesse Linton (Hastings) Vitess 4. Holly Baines (Gisborne) PreMo 5.

Burger King HOYQ pony highpoints 70cm B: Lucy Browne (Ohaupo) Awhero Awatea Idaho 1, Ella Rouse (Gisborne) Ruby Tunes 2, Katelyn Peterson (Whakatane) My Sweet Nevaeh 3, Janey Pease (Piopio) Pied Piper 4, Amelia Paull (Gisborne) Pine Hollow Alpha Gold 5.

GYRO Plastics junior highpoints HOYQ 1m: Larina Dolman (Gisborne) Floriant DHU 1, Lucy Win-Hewetson (Gisborne) Tangaroa 2, Tristan Thomas (Rotorua) Airborne MVNZ 3, Isabella Collier (Gisborne) Silver Coin 4.

ESNZ amateur highpoints HOYQ 1m: Merran Hain (Gisborne) Untouchable 1, Leah Porter (Napier) De Becker 2, June Berrington (Whakatane) Kiwi Iron Mark 3, Rebecca Conole (Masterton) Private Benjamin III 4, Eugene Black (Whakatane) Masaccio 5.

ESNZ Category A pony high points 70cm: Emma Bates (Rotorua) My Gemma Bear 1, Isobel Jayne Bevitt (Gisborne) Where’s Wally 2, Lily Beaufoy (Gisborne) Glenbrook Barney 3.