Emily Cammock is one of the busiest horse riders in the country and there won’t be any time for her to relax this Easter. She’s got five horses entered in the South Island One Day Event Championships which are being held at the National Equestrian Centre, Mcleans Island, Christchurch.
She is bound to feature in some of the classes, including the feature class, the CCI4* for the Ataahua Brigadier Trophy. She has her top horse Shaw Lee entered in that class. The pair have only recently returned from competing in the very tough Kihikihi Horse Trials (Waikato) where they finished fifth.
Emily reports that ‘Johnny’ has recovered beautifully after that competition and the journey. “He came through the finish flags at Kihikihi looking for the next jump and I think he would have gone around again,” she said. “The following day he was a bit of a handful in the show jumping, so I have no concerns putting him in this competition this weekend.”
The last time Emily and Johnny started at an event at their home track here at Mcleans Island they won it – back in March. “Johnny has been competing at this level for five or six years and yes, the place is very familiar. The course designers do an amazing job of keeping the course fresh and challenging, and work hard to mix it up for us which is awesome.” Nick Pyke is the course designer for the main class and there has been a lot of work done on the grounds and footing, which Emily says is really positive for the future of eventing there.
Emily isn’t planning on running her horse particularly fast this weekend however, and is prepared to get some time faults. “If there is someone who can run faster than me, they could take the win, but if I can win the dressage and only add a few cross country time faults to my score, I consider that a win for my training and preparation.”
Others who may well have their foot down on the accelerator on cross country is Kirsty Sharapoff and Shoot the Breeze. Lydia Truesdale’s Allander Rocket may live up to his name too!
Emily has a bigger goal than just this weekend. She has the National 3 Day Event at Taupo in her sights in mid-May, especially as it will be an Oceania competition where Australia is sending three teams to compete against the New Zealand riders. While the New Zealand team hasn’t been named, she must be in with a chance for selection although it is the individual result Emily is focusing on.
“My whole season has been aimed towards a top result at Taupo,” said Emily. “Having two small children, and some small injury niggles, mostly mine, it has been a few years since Johnny and I have had a good crack at this level. So far this season, everything has gone to plan so fingers crossed we can stay on track for the next three weeks and come out strong at Taupo.” The pair won the national title at Taupo in 2017, and Emily has won it before then, including in 2012 on Dambala.
Out of the other horses Emily is competing on, she is hopeful that two may finish up in the placings, with the other two going for the experience rather than chasing a win. “DSE Southern Halo is having a run in the 105 class after some time off after injury. He has had some good results last year at a higher level, so depending how many cobwebs are in the system, he could be a chance. The ‘golden boy’ (also known as Golden Kiwi) had a bit of a setback earlier in the season and is just starting in the 95cm class to try to get his confidence back on the cross country. If he can find his brave pants, he could also come away with a ribbon.
The Carousel Equestrian CCI3* class (for the Dusky Bay Cup) is a classy field. One to watch after good results so far this season is Cust’s Brent Jury on SE Gorky Park. Dynavyte CCI2* (for the Pacific Vet Trophy) is very hard to pick with any one of the 16 entries a possible winner but the West Coast’s Eve Hawes has her talented Spookee Possum in the field and will be aiming for another good win.
The Saddlery Barn South Island Young Event Horse Championship 2019 is a special event which is on Good Friday also at Mcleans Island. It is an opportunity for riders to show off the young talent in their team, with competitors being asked to do a special short format competition, where as well as doing some dressage and jumping, horses are also judged on their conformation and their suitability, potential and gallop for cross country. Emily has a young horse called “All the Answers” entered in that, but will be up against some tough competition and anything can happen with young and inexperienced horses!
Entry for spectators is free. The dressage and show jumping will be held on Saturday, and the exciting cross country phase will be on Sunday.