By Diana Dobson
Jo Craddock is heading home to Waimauku a happy woman, with two show hunter of the year titles in the truck.
A former international swimmer, Craddock took up riding as an adult, buying her superstar Dawn just two years ago from Emma Buckingham.
Yesterday that very special partnership delivered, with victory in the Prydes EasiFeed Horse Show Hunter of the Year and Amateur Show Hunter of the Year title classes.
“It is still sinking in,” said Craddock. “I am feeling a bit overwhelmed to be honest.”
But the two headed into HOY in good form.
“She has been super consistent and been doing an amazing job for me this season,” said the mum of three who is trained by Tors Rattray. “We have had some good success this season and really are best friends.”
The “gorgeous” chestnut mare, who is by Dream Boy out of Antipodes, always gives her best for her doting rider.
“She turns her head to me every time before we go into the ring. We are really connected and she tries her little heart out every time.”
Craddock admits she was extremely nervous heading into the call back for the amateur title.
“I felt I was going to vomit! When we pulled it off it was like ‘holy cow’, so we went into the open a little more relaxed. She jumps well when the height goes up and it was a real fun ride. There was a bit of pressure but we had a great round and were lucky to win it.”
Craddock bought her first horse when she hung up her swimming goggles.
“I always wanted a horse but it wasn’t until I retired from my swimming career that it happened.”
Her swimming, which included New Zealand titles, Oceania Champs and World University Games, now seems like a lifetime ago.
“I have a different focus now and just love my horses.”
It helps that she shares that love with her 12-year-old daughter Jaimie, who with Minks placed fourth in the AHD Category A Pony Show Hunter of the Year.
Pryde’s EasiFeed Horse Show Hunter of the Year: Jo Craddock (Waimauku) Dawn 1, Abby Robinson (Ohaupo) Hillman Hunter 2, Kate Cavanagh (Geraldine) Vibrance 3, Katelyn (Cambridge) GT 4, Helen Ensor (Nelson) Zactac Night n Day 5, Emily Twort (Henderson) Cameo KSNZ 6.
Junior Show Hunter of the Year: Sally Ward (Waipukurau) Paradox 1, Claudia Thomas (Rotorua) Time’ll Tell 2, Claudia Thomas (Rotorua) Kinnordy Go Girl 3, Katelyn Harper (Cambridge) GT 4, Georgia Allison (Oxford) Samari Lady 5, Emily Twort (Henderson) Cameo KSNZ 6.
Amateur Show Hunter of the Year: Jo Craddock (Waimauku) Dawn 1, Laura Van Velthooven (Palmerston North) Sirocco Daisy 2, Stephie Joustra-Smith (Kinloch) Disney 3, Chloe Van Den Boorn (Auckland) Mirrabella Piper 4, Elliot Muller (Hawera) Arli TM 5, Laura Madden (Auckland) Sedbury’s Wholly Moses 6.
Category C Pony Show Hunter of the Year: Harriet Laing (Leeston) Triple Star Picture Puzzle 1, Victoria Mitchell (Kumeu) Nickelodeon 2, Michaelee Head (Cambridge) Chantilly Lace III 3, Chantelle Smith (Palmerston North) Finch 4, Sarah Fisher (Waiuku) Summer Eclipse 5, Penny Borthwick (Masterton) Galaxy Gold Rush 6.
Category B Pony Show Hunter of the Year: Penny Borthwick (Masterton) Ashbury Robin Hood 1, Amelia Newsom (Tauranga) Moonspirit Jitterbug 2, Georgie Wilson (Taupo) Summer Fiesta 3, Molly Smith (Timaru) Bexley Lodge Tinkabella 4, Charlotte Guy (Auckland) Tuff Enuff III 5, Tayla Munt (Auckland) Painterman 6.
AHD Category A Pony Show Hunter of the Year: Molly Smith (Timaru) Little Mindy Lou 1, Jessica Blackburn (Rotorua) Spots Galore 2, Sinead Gordon (Waipu) Shadow Moonshine 3, Jaimie Botha (Waimauku) Minks 4, Katie Vennell (Hunterville) Ty Gwyn Quick Silver 5, Emma Bates (Rotorua) My Gemma Bear 6.