Palmerston North teenager Blake Davis notched a very special win at the weekend with victory in the Equissage Horse Grand Prix at the Horowhenua AP&I Show in Levin.
He steered his 18hh imported gelding Socrates de la Vie Z to an impressive double clear, heading home 15 other classy combinations and bagged the double by taking out the FMG Young Rider class too. What made the wins even more special was that Blake has only been riding for three-and-a-half years.
He turned his hand to it when mum Jan injured her back and he said he would ride her horses for her. “That gave him the bug,” she said. She’s now working her way back to the amateur rider level she had been competing at, but in her mind any success she has pales beside her son’s success.
Fittingly, Blake organised a surprise birthday party for his mother on Monday night where the family also toasted his first-ever horse grand prix win.
He and his family live at the Kyrewood Equestrian Centre and while Blake is very much a showjumper, the property features a full cross country course, arenas and a walker. His mother says it has been hugely beneficial for Blake’s riding.
He had to call on all his skill when he lined up to jump the rather technical Gary Sinclair designed course at the Levin Showgrounds. “You had to really ride out the lines,” said 16-year-old Blake. “Mum and I had a chat before the jump-off and the plan was to just go clear to be in the placings. It was a nice forward jump-off and we kept the time good . . . it was great.”
As first out of the seven who came back for the jump-off he was just hoping they were in the placings. But just Blake and Stephen Nickalls (Palmerston North) aboard Letino were double clear and it turns out he was 3.78 seconds faster than the opposition.
“Mammy (Socrates) and I are slowly learning how to do a jump-off together. We have built a real bond now and it all came together at Levin. I am just so happy to have had the win there. It was a very good class and a nice show. It means so much to me . . . it shows that the hard work Mum and I are putting into the sport is paying off.”
Blake, who is trained by Dani Maurer and Luke Dee, and Mammy – named for a mammoth – have had half a dozen grand prix starts for four placings.
In the Country TV Pony Grand Prix Parys Marshall (New Plymouth) and Spot You Later edged out Olivia Apatu (Waipukurau) and Bush Pacman to take the win with Kaitlyn Freeman (Otaki) and Rum Tum Tui third.
Equissage Horse Grand Prix: Blake Davis (Palmerston North) Socrates de la Vie Z 1, Stephen Nickalls (Palmerston North) Letino 2, Kimberley Mason (New Plymouth) Damiana 3, Ike Baker (Porirua) Hawkesdale Mahe 4, Katharine Van Tuyl (Palmerston North) Centavino 5, Maurice Beatson (Dannevirke) Gold Locks 6.
Country TV Pony Grand Prix: Parys Marshall (New Plymouth) Spot You Later 1, Olivia Apatu (Waipukurau) Bush Pacman 2, Kaitlyn Freeman (Otaki) Rum Tum Tui 3, Chantelle Smith (Palmerston North) Finch 4, Samantha Carrington (Takapau) Colours of Lansing 5, Julianne Revfeim (New Plymouth) Clearwater Perfeclydun 6.
FMG Young Rider Series: Blake Davis (Palmerston North) Socrates de la Vie Z 1, Ike Baker (Porirua) Vidal NZPH 2, Ike Baker (Porirua) Hawkesdale Mahe 3, Brigitte Smith (Mangaweka) HR Lanardo 4, Charlotte Edwards (Plimmerton) Charlton Chime 5, Nicholas O’Leary (Palmerston North) Centaire 6.
Dunstan Horsefeeds & EquiFibre Junior Rider 1.15m: Samantha Carrington (Takapau) Double J Breeze On 1, Alexandra Mitchell (Wellington) Sir Arthur 2, Lily Carpenter (Taihape) Next 3, Ike Baker (Porirua) NW Conrado 4, Kimberley Carrington (Takapau) Double J Barmaid 5, Isabella Narracci (Hastings) Benrose Rockstar 6.
Hinterland Amateur Rider Series: Bailey Marshall (New Plymouth) Delaney 1, Lisa Davidson (Masterton) London Porter 2, Vanessa Brownie (Otaki) Saltaire Andy’s Boy 3, Jo Andrews (Otaki) Ecxtacy 4, Dana Sutton (Palmerston North) Down Wind 5, Tanya Hansen (Oakura) Caption NZPH 6.
East Coast Performance Horses Five-Year-Old Series: Logan Massie (Dannevirke) Jay-Z GNZ and Anna Trent (Paraparaumu) Joop Box =1.
Mitavite Speedi-Beet Six-Year-Old Series: Maurice Beatson (Dannevirke) Clearview, Daniel Webb (Hunterville) Constellation and Sally Clark (Dannevirke) Sun Flake =1.
Cartown High Points Cat A 70cm: Zoe Oakley (Feilding) Pied Piper Alize 1, Tommie Day (Waikanae) Dunn in Style 2, Logan Nation (Wellington) Amberfields Golden Charm 3, Emily Oliver (Waikanae) Patui Ataahua 4, Holly Cambie (Waitara) Glynmerlyn Magical Miss 5, Sally Peffers (Dannevirke) Showtym Peaches and Cream 6.
Burger King High Points Cat B 80cm: Zara Main (Waitoki) Acclaim 1, Georgie Wilson (Waikanae) Summer Fiesta 2, Libby Wilson (Taupo) Waimeha Tayza 3, Grace Parker (Taupo) Ngakaroa Designer Boy 4, Vienna Wilson (Taupo) Ashbury Robin Hood 5, Jodi Carver (Hawera) Flash of Gold 6.
Aniwell High Points Cat C 90cm: Jaime Hogg (Wanganui) Step It Up 1, Kaitlin Brown (Feilding) Tawa 2, Hollie Falloon (Masterton) Farleigh Catterick 3, Kaitlyn Freeman (Otaki) Mahachi Gold Rosado KF 4, Freya Diggle (Wellington) Komets Victory 5, Hollie Falloon (Masterton) Boy Wizard 6.
ESNZ Children’s Equitation Series: Zara Main (Waitoki) Acclaim 1, Hollie Falloon (Masterton) Farleigh Catterick 2, Emily MacIntyre (Wellington) Heartbreakin Eloquence 3, Abbey Peters (Wanganui) Little Miss Sunshine Two 4, Kitty White (Masterton) Tallyho Beethoven 5, Molly Coutts (Palmerston North) Apsley Woody’s Image 6.
Gyro Plastics Junior High Points 1m: Ella Miranda (Feilding) Kinnordy Go Girl 1, Antonio Matangi (Levin) ShoeShine Polish 2, Meihaka Hirst (Levin) Christopher’s Lady 3, Lauren Blakeley (Wellington) Elation KCE 4.
The Ultimate Egg Co Amateur High Points: Laura van Velthooven (Palmerston North) Montbelle Donahue 1, Meihaka Hirst (Levin) Christopher’s Lady 2m, Antonio Matangi (Levin) ShoeShine Polish 3, Bridget Watters (Feilding) Mustangs Questionnaire 4, Francesca Corich (Paraparaumu) Ashbury Skywalker 5.
NRM Open High Points 1.1m: Laura van Velthooven (Palmerston North) Montbelle Donahue 1, Meihaka Hirst (Levin) Christopher’s Lady 2, Antonio Matangi (Levin) ShoeShine Polish 3, Bridget Watters (Feilding) Mustangs Questionnaire 4, Francesca Corich (Paraparaumu) Ashbury Skywalker 5.
ESNZ Junior Equitation Series: Ella Miranda (Feilding) Kinnordy Go Girl 1, Madison Wiffen ( ) Ponga 2, Antonio Matangi (Levin) ShoeShine Polish 3, Meihaka Hirst (Levin) Christopher’s Lady 4, Summer Henderson ( ) Mr Jones 5, Hazel Jones ( ) Sancho 6.
ESNZ Open Equitation Series 1m: Laura van Velthooven (Palmerston North) Montbelle Donahue 1, Rebecca Conole ( ) Private Benjamin 2, Jane Ward ( ) Meersbrooke Fire’n’Ice 3, Raye Dimock ( ) Rata 4, Debbie Trevethick ( ) Mustangs Ricochet 5.