Brayden Aarts is reaping the rewards of his three months winter training in The Netherlands. He and LT Holst Aunty Annette headed home a small but quality field in the Equissage Horse Grand Prix class at the Northland Area GP Show in Whangarei at the weekend.

Just Brayden and Rio Olympian Clarke Johnstone (Matangi) aboard Dolly Blue came through to the jump-off where the youngster had the benefit of being last to go. Clarke had a rail before retiring, so Brayden knew he just had to come home.

“I went in there wanting a double clear,” said the 16-year-old from Pukekawa whose efforts saw him notch his first grand prix victory.

He’s had LT Holst Aunty Annette for around 18 months now and says the mare is really starting to trust him. “The combination is starting to work. Less is best with her – normally I override her a little and complicate things, but the simpler I keep it, the smoother and quieter she gets and is more focused on the job.”

Brayden spent three months with Michael van der Vleuten who was on the Dutch team to win silver at the London Olympic Games in 2012 and plans to return again in the winter of 2019. “It was the best experience of my life,” he said. “I think my flat work improved so much over there and now I am putting that into the jumping.”

He is particularly noticing that with Annette who he says is getting so much more rideable.

His plan for the season is to consolidate all he learnt with van der Vleuten. “I am focused on getting experience at the higher heights. We won’t be chasing points but if he is at a show he’s not there to just make up the numbers.

His grand prix win at Northland capped off a great two days – he and Annette were also third in the horse grand prix super series, he won the FMG Young Rider class aboard George Jetson and he was sixth in the Dunstan Horsefeeds & EquiFibre Junior Rider on Binverter.

“We hadn’t been to the Northland Show for quite a few years but enjoyed it a lot last time. I didn’t have such a great show at Equidays with Annie, so we decided to go up there – it really is one of the nicest shows we have been to.”

He had plenty of praise too for course builder Gary Sinclair whose “flowing but technical” efforts challenged the riders perfectly.


Results –


Equissage Horse Grand Prix Series: Brayden Aarts (Pukekawa) LT Holst Aunty Annette 1, Clarke Johnstone (Matangi) Dolly Blue 2, Clarke Johnstone (Matangi) Quainton Labyrinth 3, Leeshelle Small (Auckland) AMS Mr Muscles 4.


Country TV Pony Grand Prix Series: Brooke Hawthorne (Cambridge) Easy As 1, Georgia Bouzaid (Cambridge) Redcliffs Bill 2, Summer Denize (Kerikeri) Limerick’s Black Samba 3, Tyla Hackett (Waiuku) The Dreamer 4, Isabelle Jameson (Whangarei) Pacific Dream 4, Lucas Bremner (Whangarei) Triple Star Picture Me Now 6.


FMG Young Rider Series: Brayden Aarts (Pukekawa) George Jetson 1, Sharnaye Lammers (Hikurangi) Romeo NZPH 2, Sharnaye Lammers (Hikurangi) Shakespear NZPH 3, Leeshelle Small (Auckland) AMS Mr Muscles 4, Tyla Hackett (Waiuku) Gin 5, Ella Poole-Crowe (Whangarei) Cleo Parfaite 6.


Dunstan Horsefeeds & EquiFibre Junior Rider Series: Leeshelle Small (Auckland) AMS Ajaccio NZPH 1, Brooke Hawthorne (Cambridge) Keltem Flash 2, Mackenzie Parker (Auckland) Airoso 3, Maddison Greatorex (Waipu) Fintorro GS 5, Brayden Aarts (Pukekawa) Binverter and Beth Brannam (Kerikeri) Delta Lustrous =6.


Hinterland Amateur Rider Series: Chloe van den Boom (Auckland) Mirrabella Piper 1, Lynette Jackson (Manurewa) Fortissimo 2, Joy McNeil (Whangarei) Coalition 3, Anna Gray (Whangarei) Quick Draw 4, Amy Gravatt (Whangarei) Ake Ake 5, Kirsten Hence (Papakura) Brodick 6.


Dunstan Horsefeeds & EquiFibre Pro Am Rider Series: Catherine Fawcett-McNaughton (Pukekohe) Golden Girl MVNZ 1, India Causebrook (Pukekohe) Westminster Rock 2, Joanna Bullock (Auckland) Weiti Justice 3, David Collett (Auckland) Buster Brown 4, Kimberley Knight (Auckland) Louis Lamont 5.


Horse Grand Prix Super Series: Clarke Johnstone (Matangi) Quainton Labyrinth 1, Clarke Johnstone (Matangi) Deo Volente 2, Brayden Aarts (Pukekawa) LT Holst Aunty Annette 3, Edward Bullock (Waiuku) High Jump 4, India Causebrook (Pukekohe) Westminster Rock 5, Ellie Bestwick (Kerikeri) Showtym Stardust and Paula Mussen (Auckland) KK Tane Mahuta =6.


Pony Grand Prix Super Series: Lily Sutherland (Whangarei) She’s Pure Class 1, Lucas Bremner (Whangarei) Triple Star Picture Me Now 2, Crystal Hackett (Waiuku) Cracklin Rose 3, Madison Jackson (Pukekohe) Wilful 4, Lucas Bremner (Whangarei) Triple Star One of a Kind 5.


By Diana Dobson

October 23, 2018