Samantha Lissington receives her prizes from Clarke Johnstone for winning the Southern Lakes Tartan National Young Horse Event Championship. Photo by Diana Dobson/The Black Balloon


Samantha Lissington has ticked the first box in her “big weekend”, winning the Southern Lakes Tartan National Young Event Horse Championship aboard her homebred mare Ricker Ridge Ricochet by a single point ahead of Donna Edwards-Smith aboard DSE Henton for Glory.

Samantha and Ricker Ridge Ricochet also won the Reyna Equestrian Best Mare Prize with Jessica Woods (Ohaupo) and LV Touch of Class winning the Bates Best Four-Year-Old and her second mount LV Gee Whizz taking out the OJZ Promotional Rosettes Best Thoroughbred.

Thirteen of the eighteen entries were thoroughbred, with six four-year-olds and 12 five-year-olds. Samantha and Ricochet led the field comfortably at the end of the first round, sitting on 84.13%, followed by Jessica and LV Touch of Class on 81.81% and LV Gee Whizz on 80.34%, then Donna and DSE Henton for Glory on 80.05% and Monica Oakley (Karaka) aboard Chasing Great on 78.39%. 

It is the third time 27-year-old Samantha (Matangi) has won the much sought-after Mary Bowling Memorial, having taken it out in 2016 aboard Ricker Ridge Mystery Man and in 2017 on Ricker Ridge Riley.

Five-year-old Ricker Ridge Ricochet is by GT Jake, out of the thoroughbred warmblood mare Nadia. She was bred by Samantha’s parents, Nanette and Dale Felton, with help from Tracy Smith when it came to choosing bloodlines.

“She’s a great family friend so it was great she helped us,” said Samantha. “We wanted to produce a good eventer but at that time her stallion GT Jake was relatively unproven. I am so glad we did.”

Ricochet has always been a standout in Samantha’s mind. “She was always a stunning type,” she said. “She was actually the first one we had a little trouble breaking in too – she was quiet but just a bit anxious. You would never guess that now. She has an incredible temperament.” She was late broken in purely because Samantha had so many horses in work and since hasn’t been pushed too hard.

Today’s win was even more extraordinary because Ricochet had a freak accident in August when she broke her wither. “She was standing in the cross ties and playing with her cover, got her chin stuck in the chest strap and went over backwards.”

The mare has come back well and Samantha was fairly confident coming into the class. “I didn’t know who would be in the class, but based on her type, I knew we would be a good chance to take the title,” she said. “Ideally I will take her with me to the UK and produce her quietly over the next two years.”

The Young Event Horse class is one Samantha enjoys. “This event is so exciting because it is all about the future, and not about right now. The judges are seeing the horses in a relatively raw form and need to have vision . . . which is just what we do really.”

Very proud of the win today was Dale Felton. “My heart is bursting,” he said. “This is our first purely homebred horse. We just love her. She is a chilled horse who has the movement, jump and gallop. I am certainly feeling lots of pride. I think we have something quite special here.”

Ricochet is not the only GT Jake youngster in Samantha’s string either – Samantha also has six-year-old Jasmine, who is owned by Catherine Jauffret. She would dearly love to take both of them to the UK with her next month. “Hopefully this win will help generate some interest by prospective owners!”

Results –

Southern Lakes Tartan National Young Event Horse Championship: Samantha Lissington (Matangi) Ricker Ridge Ricochet (warmblood thoroughbred cross by GT Jake out of Nadia) 1, Donna Edwards-Smith (Te Kauwhata) DSE Henton for Glory (Hanovarian by For Edition out of Henton Exclusive) 2, Jessica Woods (Ohaupo) LV Gee Whizz (thoroughbred by Postponed out of Renovated) 3, Monica Oakley (Karaka) Chasing Great (thoroughbred by Postponed out of Big to Do) 4, Jessica Woods (Karaka) LV Touch of Class (warmblood by Cliebrig Leonardo out of Demure) 5.

Class Results

By Diana Dobson

May 8, 2019