Te Aroha teen Rylee Sheehan has had a flying start to the 2021-22 season with resounding victory in the EvoEvents Horse Grand Prix at the Feilding I, A and P Spring Show at the weekend.
The 16-year-old steered Bandito NZPH to a speedy win in a three-way jump-off against two very successful riders in Tegan Fitzsimon (West Melton) aboard her star Windermere Cappuccino and Brooke Edgecombe (Waipukurau) with her lovely mare LT Holst Andrea, both of whom are well-proven at World Cup level.
First out was Tegan who was double clear in 46.34 seconds. Next came Brooke who had a rail in her 45.85-second effort, with Rylee crossing the flags in 39.63.
“I watched Tegan go and saw she took a nice route so when Brooke took the rail I just followed Tegan’s route,” said Rylee. “When I came out of the ring I was surprised at how fast we were – I didn’t think I was going that fast.”
But coming into the class Rylee had a few nerves. “I was pretty nervous coming into the class because we have had such a long break and it looked quite big but with Bandito you can tell after he jumps the first fence if he is going to be fine or not. The lack of shows has been a worry because he takes a while to get into his rhythm so we gave him two classes before the Grand Prix and that helped with his hotness.”
This is their third season together and they only had their first Grand Prix start in November last year. “He is pretty cool. It is nice to come back to show he is consistent.”
The Grand Prix win capped off an excellent show for Rylee who on Saturday placed fourth in the Mainland Coachwork Junior Rider class aboard Castakko Xtreme and on Sunday took a trio of wins with victory in the 1.15m aboard his new horse Cavalli GNZ and the 1.20m with Castakko Xtreme.
“I have three good horses this season, with Cavalli doing 6-year-olds, Junior Riders with Castakko Xtreme and hopefully a step up to the premier league with Bandito – well, that’s the goal for the season,” says Rylee.
He says he will be cautious with his starts with Bandito. “I want to save him for HOY so I am not sure about chasing the Grand Prix Series but if we can pick up a few wins along the way it will be all good.
“I am just really pleased to see the season underway. Feilding put on a really good show. They did a great job setting down the rules and making sure we all followed them.”
In the Country TV Pony Grand Prix, Penny Borthwick (Masterton) and Foxdens Merlot started their season with a bang as the only combination in the field to go clear in the opening round to take the win. Penny and the 12-year-old grey mare were last year sixth in the Pony Grand Prix Series and have shown they’re looking to improve on that this season.
Event secretary Raewyn Weggery paid credit to her committee and the riders. It is a small committee of around 10 active members, with a handful of extras who step in at show time and assist.
“I am pretty proud of what we achieved and particularly of how the riders conducted themselves. Without them doing their bit, we couldn’t have carried on,” said Raewyn.
The grounds are governed by Manfeild Park so organisers had to abide by their rules as well as the Level 2 Delta rules. “It was just a matter of combining the two and working through how we could do it,” she said.
The show committee ran successfully under Level 2 last season, so had an idea of what they faced. With 200 riders entered, they limited the number of support people for each, and divided the grounds into four areas, each with its own portaloos.
Raewyn has already been called by other shows who are hoping to run in the coming weeks and says she is more than happy to talk to others. “It’s just a matter of sitting back, looking at the challenges and working through them. Don’t think for a moment that it is too hard. We could have done that but we were determined to run it and I am very proud of that.”
EvoEvents Horse Grand Prix Series: Rylee Sheehan (Te Aroha) Bandito NZPH 1, Tegan Fitzsimon (West Melton) Windermere Cappuccino 2, Brooke Edgecombe (Waipukurau) LT Holst Andrea 3, Tegan Fitzsimon (West Melton) Campari 4, Robert Steele (Dannevirke) LT Holst Bernadette 5, Maurice Beatson (Dannevirke) Central Park 6.
Country TV Pony Grand Prix Series: Penny Borthwick (Masterton) Foxdens Merlot 1, Tessa Mason (Napier) Mr Acho 2, Danni Bird (Pukahu) AHD Dynamo 3, Reef Hicks (Hawke’s Bay) Bits & Pieces 4, Molly Presling (Wellington) Cee Cee 5.
FMG Young Rider Series: Kimberley Carrington (Takapau) Double J Barmaid 1, Anneke van Rooyen (Taumarunui) Double J Monarch 2, Sophie Scott (Wellington) Lakota 3, Sam Carrington (Takapau) Double J Breeze On 4, Francesca Corich van der Bas (Paraparaumu) LDS Cardo 5, Lilly Carpenter (Taihape) Kinnordy Rhani 6.
Dunstan Horsefeeds Amateur Rider Series: Bryar Kirkeby (Taupo) HNS Pintado Invitto 1, Vanessa Brownie (Otaki) Saltaire Andys Boy 2, Jeremy Clark (Te Kauwhata) Dynavyte Ipso Facto 3, Jeremy Clark (Te Kauwhata) Dynavyte Cancion HSH 4, Kaleigh Kent (Otane) Double J Sponge Bob Square Pants 5, Carolyn Hinton (New Plymouth) Atlas Al Tirah 6.
Mainland Coachwork Junior Rider Series: Annie Moffett (Napier) Samantha the Dachshund 1, Charlotte Sowry (Palmerston North) Sunny Boy 2, Charlotte Conder (Wellington) Kiwi Skyhigh 3, Rylee Sheehan (Te Aroha) Castakko Xtreme 4, Hollie Falloon (Masterton) Just Jess 5, Lyzz Barry (Wellington) Midway Rowdy Yates 6.
For full results, head to www.evoevents.co.nz
By Diana Dobson
20 September 2021