Abby Robinson & Hillman Hunter win the Open Show Hunter Horse of the Year, Land Rover Horse of the Year 2020, HB A&P Showgrounds, Hastings, Hawke’s Bay, Friday, March 13, 2020 Credit: KAMPIC / Kerry Marshall

Abby Robinson had a single goal in mind for her 2019-2020 season. It was one she had achieved in the past so certainly wasn’t something she was afraid of . . . but it was still a huge boost to once again ride off with the Open Show Hunter Horse of the Year.

“It was definitely good to win it again and hopefully next year we will give it another go.”

Nine-year-old Hillman Hunter is a crowd favourite – both for his name and his nature. “I am very proud of Hilly. He is such a dude. The open title was our main goal for the show.”

They were called back at the front of the pack which was a bit of a surprise for the Walton-based rider who works for the Livestock Improvement Co-op. “You don’t know the scores coming into the call back so it is easy for it to change around. I am not a nervous rider at all though. I feel I can only go out and do my best.”

Abby and Hilly last won the open crown in 2017 and were second in 2018, so the title today was important.

Abby’s mum Maryanne bought the horse as a yearling from Weiti Station. “He was well bred and she liked the type he was,” says Abby. “He is just awesome. He was called Hillman but we couldn’t register him as that and Mum added the Hunter.”

Earlier in the show, Abby and Hillman Hunter also competed in the Pro-Amateur Rider of the Year class and can often be found showjumping at various events. She loves that showjumping is so cut and dried – you take a rail and you get penalised.

“But we do enjoy show hunter and Hilly is good at it. I did it with some younger horses and find it keeps them consistent so just kept on doing it with Hilly.”

She adores her big bay who she says is at his “forever home” and she’ll never let him go. “Hilly is just so laid back. I went to get him four times this morning to plait but he was fast asleep,” she said. “I was also going to go for a hack in the morning but he just wanted to sleep . . . but that’s just him.”


Results –


Abby Robinson (Walton) Hillman Hunter 1, Anna Kincheff (Rotorua) Red Socks 2, Briar Woolley (Wellsford) Miss Plain Jane 3, Chloe Hansen (Palmerston North) Kiwi Motto 4, India Causebrook (Pukekohe) LC Telepathy 5, Emily Twort (Henderson) Cameo KSNZ 6.


By Diana Dobson

13 March 2020