At the recent Hawkes Bay horse trials, there were two siblings who had a bit of a catch up over a bite of grass. Tigerherz and Top Steel may live in different islands now, but the full-brother and sister ended up spending the weekend at the same event.
Tigerherz was up from the deep south to have a crack at the Equissage NZ Young Rider title with his rider, Georgie Dickson. Top Steel (TJ) was having a go in the Livermol two-star class with her rider Jenny Pearce. TJ ended up with the bragging rights, finishing third in her class, and Tiger and Georgie had one of those unlucky moments they would rather forget on the cross country track. Both were OK though, returning home to finish 6th in the Bates Saddles CCI2*L at South Island Three Day Event recently.
Jenny also has True Steel (‘Trevor’), another full sibling, who she competes in dressage but he wasn’t in attendance for this family reunion. Jenny describes Trevor as having been such a nice foal but now “he has an attitude.” Trevor is the oldest at 14, and then TJ is 12. Tiger is just 10 years old. All are out of Topsy Turvy, a thoroughbred who was by Pandemonium. Their sire is Loewenherz, a Trakehner stallion who has been a big influence in warm blood breeding in New Zealand.
Jenny has all the background on the siblings. Jenny bred Trevor, and Rosalie Bakker, who stood Lowenherz, liked the mare Topsy Turvy. “So we did a deal,” said Jenny. “I gave her the mare and got the first filly and then she got the rest.” Unfortunately though, Topsy Turvy died of colic when Tiger was just four months old. Tiger came to Jenny’s place when he was just a yearling.
“TJ didn’t like him though. In fact, she beat the **** out of him a number of times.” Poor Tiger still has a few scars from his older sister so was a bit wary of her when they met in Hastings, but she seemed pleased to see him and wasn’t going to tell him off this time.
“I broke Tiger in and taught him to jump but I had to sell something as I couldn’t compete three,” said Jenny. “Alex Anderson bought him and went on to win the young eventer horse at Kihikihi in 2016. Alex eventually sold him to Georgie.”
Georgie, aged 20, is from Wanaka and has been using Tiger to do a bit of mustering on the farm over the summer. She had been really pleased with his dressage earlier in the competition, especially as it was the pair’s first three-star class. They had made the trip up to the North Island as part of a “roadie” with friends Sara and Milly Rowley and had competed at the Waikato horse trials and then went on to the Hawkes Bay event. “Having lessons with Lizzie Green and Penny Castle on the way was awesome, and it’s been a really good trip,” said Georgie.
Jenny is well known in the northern eventing circles, and not just because she has all the bright shiny pink gear and cross country outfits. She’s been living in Taihape since 2002, but was originally from Clinton, South Otago. After a stint in the Army, Jenny is now an executive officer at the local school. She thinks Taihape is a great place to live, especially as it is “a step up from Waiouru,” where she was based for many years.
The pink craze started was back in 1992 when she had to buy some emergency gumboots but because of her child-sized feet there wasn’t a lot of choice. “The only ones I could get at the time were bright pink. This turned out to be a good purchase, and the pink collection grew from that. I wore my first pink cross country ensemble in 1993, and since then, people have been giving me more pink things. I even spent some of the lockdown time sewing my new sparkling pink cross country outfit.”
The two horses had a little chat pre-cross country and there were no family squabbles. While they were interested in each other for a few minutes, it wasn’t long before the grass was much more appealing and that was the end of the family reunion.
By Jane Thompson
Photos: Jane Thompson at Northern Hawkes Bay Event, October 2020