It would be a dream come true for Cantabrian Emily Cammock to notch back-to-back wins in the NRM CCI3* Open National Championship at the Three Day Champs this week but she knows it will be a big ask.
Cammock comes into the 17-strong field looking forward to three strong days of competition, with the dressage scheduled for Friday, followed by Chris Ross’ cross country on Saturday and the showjumping on Sunday.
“Our preparation was going well until a couple of weeks ago when Shaw Lee was kicked just before the South Island One Day Championships,” says Cammock.
The horse is recovering well but she says it was certainly a bit of a hiccup in the plan.
“It is always easier to win the first time when there is no pressure and no expectations. I do feel he has improved a lot since then – and certainly on the flat. He has always been a great jumper but we have got to nail the dressage and make sure we do our job for the following two days.”
She’s come up to the North Island early to get some all-important dressage training in Christine Weal.
Cammock was given thoroughbred Shaw Lee as an unbroken two-year-old. Breeder and vet John Shaw had called her about a three-year-old he thought she may be interested in.
“I went to the (vet) clinic and there were two skungy as little horses in the mare holding yards. They just looked terrible.”
She came home with both, producing the elder one through to 1* level before selling him and keeping with Shaw Lee.
“We have definitely struggled on the flat but hopefully we have now found a formula that seems to work in terms of bit, bridle and keeping him off the grass. I do struggle to lock horses off the grass . . . to see them in dirt paddocks doesn’t sit well with me but I have finally done it and it just makes such a difference. I can feed him as much baleage as I want to and it doesn’t affect him but put him in a grass paddock and he gets this wild looking eye!”
Getting Cammock to the nation’s top events is very much a family affair – she is heading to Taupo with four-year-old Katie, 18-month-old Thomas, her mum Viv Butcher, her groom and a student . . . along with Katie’s pony and four-month-old Jerry the Spoodle.
“It is 100% a team effort. I am totally aware I couldn’t do it without them.”
Husband Matt, a busy refrigeration engineer, gets to stay home.
“I am looking forward to Taupo,” says 37-year-old Cammock, who first competed there as a high school student. “The ground there is amazing – it proved that last year. You could have a Chinese laundry in the truck trying to get things dry but the facilities are amazing for the horses and it is always good footing – it makes you a bit more confident about coming up at this time of year.”
Also entered in the top class are former national 3* title holders Amanda Pottinger (Havelock North) aboard Just Kidding, Donna Edwards-Smith (Te Kauwhata) and DSE Tangolooma and Matthew Grayling (Taranaki), albeit not on the horse he twice won the crown aboard.
Missing is two-time winner, Rio Olympian Clarke Johnstone, who with Balmoral Sensation will do the test ride for the CCI3* dressage on Friday morning.
The Bates CCI2* Championship has attracted 25 entries, while the Fiber Fresh CCI1* Championship has 47 and the Wairakei Resort CCN105 Championship 47. Nineteen combinations have entered the Equissage Young Event Horse National Championship.
The NRM National Three Day Championships are also the final leg of the national eventing series.