Local Hawkes Bay rider, Amanda Pottinger with Just Kidding has the narrowest of leads after the dressage of the Land Rover 4* Eventing class at the Land Rover Horse of the Year Show.
She has headed off all the overseas-based superstars but the differential between the top three is just 1.4 penalties. In second place is Waikato’s Madison Crowe and Waitangi Pinterest and UK based Kiwi Tim Price is in third place on Ricker Ridge Escada. Badminton winner Jonelle Price, riding Ricker Ridge Divine Right is in 19th slot 11.9 penalties behind the leader. The other Olympian competing in the class is Blyth Tait who has the ride on Cor Jet and they are in 12th place, eight penalties behind Amanda.
Amanda remarked that her test was so much better than previous efforts.
“This is the hardest place environmentally wise, there is so much going on. But he was really rideable, and in general really good!”
Tim Price was also full of praise for his horse.
“I’m really grateful to Samantha Lissington for giving me the ride on this horse, he made my job easy. He’s very much like my original type of horse.”
On the flip-side, Blyth said he was disappointed with his performance.
“He is such a chilled character, but for some reason he got very tense in there. We were not able to do the test I wanted, which is a shame as he is a gorgeous horse. Chloe [Phillips Harris] has done a great job producing him but we just needed more time together.”
Jonelle felt she could have also done with a bit more preparation time.
“We got from the start to the finish,” she said philosophically afterwards, “we are not where I would like to be, but we have made the best of what we could. It is always hard as you don’t know what to expect with a horse you have had limited preparation time with.”
Both Tim and Jonelle are relishing the sunny Hawke’s Bay conditions.
“It’s been a great experience at such a busy show,” said Jonelle. “we’ve caught up with so many old friends from all over New Zealand.”
“Everyone is so hospitable, and it has been great catching up with lots of people I haven’t seen for ages. The sunshine is epic!” said Tim.
The owners of the horses the Olympians are riding were watching nervously from the sidelines.
“It is much more nerve-wracking than riding, especially as I rode here last year,” said Chloe Phillips Harris, who also has a busy time with signings of her new book, Fearless. Samantha Lissington had one horse she rode herself, and is in 7th place on Ricker Ridge Rui but agreed with Chloe that it was nerve-wracking watching her other horses being ridden by others. “It is great to see the masters on them though,” she said.