Laura Van Velthooven and her horses Sirocco Daisy and Montbelle Donahue secured a very special hattrick this season – the second in as many years. The Feilding equine technician this year won the ESNZ Adult Equitation, the NRM Open Horse High Points and took the quinella in the Ultimate Egg Co Amateur High Points series. She won the same three last season and it is the third year she has won the amateur crown.
“Our goal is always to go out every round and do a great round,” she says. “I just want to get the best out of my horse in every class and good results are a bonus really.”
In the final class of the Ultimate Egg Co Amateur High Points Series, Laura had to settle for second and third aboard her two, with Stephie Joustra-Smith (Kinloch) and Disney winning the class. Laura and Sirocco Daisy were third in the final of the ESNZ Adult Equitation Series which was won by Jane Ward (Waipukurau) on Meersbrooke Fire ‘N’ Ice, and Laura placed fifth in the Open Horse High Points final with Montbelle Donahue. Abby Robinson (Ohaupo) and Hillman Hunter won the class.
Show hunter has been part of Laura’s world for many years. She started when still on ponies and now at 27, she still thrives on the challenges the discipline throws up. “I like the training side of it and just striving for the perfect round,” says Laura. “It is something that keeps yougoing and both my horses are so well suited to it.”
She’s talking about 18-year-old Daisy who she has had almost six years and eight-year-old Montbelle Donahue who has been with her for nearly three. Daisy was a late starter in life but she’s certainly making up for it now. “She just gets better with age. Mares try so hard for you and once she is in the ring she’s so good. It doesn’t always go to plan but it’s about perfecting what we do.”
Daisy can be a bit of a minx at home and Laura has had to put in some two metre high deer fences to keep her contained. “If she was hungry she’d just pop over the fence. She doesn’t stray far but heads to the good grass.”
Montbelle Donahue has been slowly coming into his own over recent years. “He and Daisy are chalk and cheese,” says Laura. “He has the most laid back nature where she is quirky.
Thankfully he hasn’t learnt her fence-jumping trick yet! Monty is a real worker and loves to be doing things.”
Laura is grateful for the support she has from parents Heather and Paul and partner Adam.
“You have to put the work in if you want those consistent results – my days consist of going to work and then riding.”
She doesn’t do a lot of jumping between shows but spends many hours doing flat work and poles. She’s trained by Gail Goodwin and Jen Hamilton, with plenty of input from her mum too who was both a rider and pony breeder.
Laura and Adam are also in the throes of renovating their home, so there is a lot going on.
“Once the horses are turned out we will be fully onto that.”
She has no intention of giving up on show hunter just yet. “I love the show hunter community,” she says. “I have met some cool people along the way. My horses are feeling really good and this is our equal best season ever. I don’t think it has quite sunk in yet – every season is a good season when your horse feels well and jumps to plan. I am particularly happy for Daisy – she is quirky as hell but when she is good, she deserves to be recognised . . . even though she is a little naughty sometimes. Monty is right on her tail now so it could get interesting next season.”
Despite her consistency in the series, Laura has yet to win a Horse of the Year title . . .she’s hopeful 2019 will be her year.
NRM Open High Points Series: Laura Van Velthooven (Feilding) Sirocco Daisy 50 points 1, Grace Fleet (Canterbury) and Steffi Whittaker (Christchurch) Cappuccino NZPH 47 points 2, Luke Dee (Hastings) and Merran Hain (Gisborne) Untouchable 44 points 3, Antonio Matangi (Levin) Shoeshine Polish 40 points 4, Laura Van Velthooven (Feilding) Montbelle Donahue 31 points 5, Emily Twort (Henderson) Cameo KSNZ 30 points 6.
Final class: Abby Robinson (Ohaupo) Hillman Hunter 1, Sophie Fisher (Cambridge) Zig Zag 2, Emily Twort (Henderson) Cameo KSNZ 3, Merran Hain (Gisborne) Untouchable 4, Laura Van Velthooven (Feilding) Montbelle Donahue 5, Molly Goodisson (Havelock North) Mustang’s Edition 6.
The Ultimate Egg Co Amateur High Points Series: Laura Van Velthooven (Feilding) Sirocco Daisy 61 points 1, Laura Van Velthooven (Feilding) Montbelle Donahue 57 points 2, Merran Hain (Gisborne) Untouchable 45 points 3, Ashleigh Forde (Havelock North) My Gummi Bear 37 points 4, Zoe Shore (Ashburton) Carolina 35 points 5, Jo Craddock (Waimauku) Dawn 28 points 6.
Final class: Stephie Joustra-Smith (Kinloch) Disney 1, Laura Van Velthooven (Feilding) Montbelle Donahue 2, Laura Van Velthooven (Feilding) Sirocco Daisy 3, Ashleigh Forde (Havelock North) My Gummi Bear 4, Suzy Brown (Pukekawa) Street Savvy 5, Merran Hain (Gisborne) Untouchable 6.
ESNZ Adult Equitation Series: Laura Van Velthooven (Feilding) Montbelle Donahue and Sirocco Daisy 70 points 1, Anna Douglas (South Canterbury) Merano 47 points 2, Ashleigh Forde (Havelock North) My Gummi Bear 35 points 3, Rebecca Conole (Wairarapa) Private Benjamin 28 points 4, Zoe Strawbridge (Napier) Ngahiwi Mary Holden and Just Kick On 23 points 5, Diana Cottle (Levin) Morpheus Rising 22 points 6.
Final class: Jane Ward (Waipukurau) Meersbrooke Fire ‘N’ Ice 1, Luke Dee (Hastings) Untouchable 2, Laura Van Velthooven (Feilding) Sirocco Daisy 3, Stephie Joustra-Smith (Kinloch) Disney 4, Tanya Merkulov (Auckland) Calvados 5, Charelle Marshall (Rotorua) Pintando Destinado 6.
By Diana Dobson, 13th March 2019