Rylee Sheehan rides Bandito NZPH in the Horse Grand Prix, Rotorua Spring Show, NEC, Taupo, Sunday, September 26, 2021. Copyright: KAMPIC / Sarah Lord

Rylee Sheehan is on a roll, taking his second EvoEvents Horse Grand Prix win in as many weeks, this time it was at the Ray White Rotorua Spring Jumping Show.

The 16-year-old and Bandito NZPH were one of five of the 13 starters in the class that came back for the jump-off over the Heather McDonald-designed course. While he, Tegan Fitzsimon (West Melton) aboard Windermere Cappuccino and Samantha van Lierde (Cambridge) with Cadillac NZPH were all double clear, his 33.06 second effort was too fast for the opposition. Tegan crossed the flags in 35.21 with Samantha home in 37.94. Eventual fourth place getter Alex Loiselle (Hastings) and Haupouri Da Vinci NZPH were the fastest of the jump-off with their 29.59-second effort but paid for their speed with a rail.

Rylee watched Alex and Tegan go before he tackled the track. “I knew Alex would be the one to go for time and watched Tegan’s very tight track and just followed her lines,” he said. “There was one inside turn we could have done but I didn’t think it was necessary. I knew Malcolm (Bandito NZPH) would move along nicely.”

They didn’t have their usual lead into the show thanks to flooding at home so he planned to use the FMG Young Rider class as a warmup but when just two made it through to the jump-off he felt it “silly” not to go for it, comfortably taking the win.

Rylee was full of praise for Heather’s course. “I really do like her courses. It was certainly more technical than Feilding but her courses are always very honest.”

Again, Rylee was chuffed with the consistency he is seeing in 11-year-old Bandito who is a bit of a character at home and always likes company. Tony the Pony used to be his best friend but he’s now retired to the farm so he’s sidled up to the new horse Castakko Xtreme. “You can’t leave him in the paddock on his own, he feels he is missing out and gets anxious,” says Rylee. “He just loves coming into the box at night so he can be with all his friends.”

It was another good show for Rylee with all of his team heading home with ribbons. He was also sixth in the Mainland Coachwork Junior Rider with Castakko Xtreme and took the quinella in the Jack Sands Contracting horse 1.15m with Cavalli GNZ and Castakko Xtreme. “I am really happy with them all,” he said. He was also quick to claim runner-up Tegan for his region – the Canterbury rider is once again basing with the Sheehan family in Te Aroha for the season.

Penny Borthwick (Masterton) and her 12-year-old skewbald gelding Rednalhgih Cowan were the only combination to go double clear in the Country TV Pony Grand Prix. Just Penny and Sarah Nelson (Taupo) aboard Phantom Warrior progressed through to the jump-off where Penny was clear in 41.31 seconds and Sarah stopped the clock at 49.47 in her eight-fault round.

Show coordinator Debbie Tye said the Rotorua Showjumping Committee had worked hard to find solutions around the strict COVID restrictions. They colour-coded the grounds, splitting them into four with each having its own QR code, wash bays, showers, toilets and yards. Masks were mandatory everywhere except in the saddle and committee members had spares on hand for those who forgot them. They also had a limit of a single support person per rider.

Debbie worked closely with ESNZ jumping sport manager Marilyn Thompson who she said had been “amazing” with her continued support and help.

The show, run by the Rotorua Showjumping Committee, was held at the Dunstan Fiber Fresh National Equestrian Centre in Taupo and attracted 253 horses.


Results –

EvoEvents Horse Grand Prix Series: Rylee Sheehan (Te Aroha) Bandito NZPH 1, Tegan Fitzsimon (West Melton) Windermere Cappuccino 2, Samantha van Lierde (Cambridge) Cadillac NZPH 3, Alex Loiselle (Hastings) Haupouri Da Vinci NZPH 4, Vicki Prendergast (Matamata) Selena C 5, Jeremy Whale (Cambridge) Idol D 6.


Country TV Pony Grand Prix Series: Penny Borthwick (Masterton) Rednalhgih Cowan 1, Sarah Nelson (Taupo) Phantom Warrior 2, Emma Bates (Rotorua) Sitarski 3, Danni Bird (Hawke’s Bay) AHD Dynamo 4, Penny Borthwick (Masterton) Foxdens Merlot 5, Reef Hicks (Hawke’s Bay) Bits & Pieces 6.


FMG Young Rider Series: Rylee Sheehan (Te Aroha) Bandito NZPH 1, Lucas Bremner (Taupo) Dynavyte Cancion HSH 2, Georgia Bouzaid (Cambridge) AP Ninja 3, Olivia Newsom (Tauranga) Distinction MSNZ 4, Liam Rutland (Te Awamutu) Kiwi Delux 5, Isabella Narracci (Hawke’s Bay) Good Time 6.


Harrison Lane Pro-Amateur Rider Series: Mathew Dickey (Taranaki) Waitangi Imak 1, Helen McNaught (Taupo) Double Whoopy 2, Alannah Jackson (Cambridge) Capbella 3, Lizzie Green (Hamilton) Comanche II 4, Paxton Conder (Whatawhata) La Fonteyn 5, Sam Whale (Cambridge) Fleur De Lacour 6.


Dunstan Amateur Rider Series: Jeremy Clark (Cambridge) Dynavyte Cancion HSH 1, Emma Gibson (Taupo) Super Duper 2, Lauren Forrest (Whakatane) The Minginui Kid 3, Fleur Butler (Tauranga) Just Jack 4, Emma Gibson (Taupo) Avichii AF 5, Fleur Butler (Tauranga) Matawhero Luciano 6.


Mainland Coachwork Junior Rider Series: Molly Pike (Cambridge) Sugarman 1, Olivia Prendergast (Matamata) Souther Field 2, Olivia Newsom (Tauranga) Charmed Escudo MSNZ 3, Tara Gower (Ohura) Riverhills Bayliner 4, Jas Flowerday (Te Puke) Hit Parade 5, Rylee Sheehan (Te Aroha) Castakko Xtreme 6.

Diana Dobson

September 26, 2021