The forecast was looking grim for an already saturated Puhinui Reserve, the home of the Puhinui International Horse Trial. The clever Puhinui Organising Committee (OC) had their wits about them, checking Met Service 10 days prior to the competition starting & noting the “weather bomb” forecast to hit Saturday 10th December – just in time for Cross Country day. Having already walked the grounds where Cross Country was due to run, the Course Designer team along with the Technical Delegate expressed their concerns for horse & rider safety on Cross Country should the grounds receive any more water without sufficient drying out weather.

This determined OC pulled together an emergency meeting & after considerable deliberation, weighing up the pros & cons, the decision was made to bring the Event forward by one day to avoid the impending weather bomb. What a fantastic decision this was! The OC could not have predicted the weather forecast any better & very successfully pulled the Event together prior to the worst of the weather arriving at the completion of the Event. Bringing a Three Day Event forward by one day was no easy logistical task and considerable gratitude and thanks must be given to the Organising Committee & the Cross Country designer team of Tich Massey, Chris Lever, Glen Draper & Jarred of Australia. This team worked tirelessly to move Cross Country jumps to ensure that the best ground was being utilised, optimising safety for horse & rider. It was super to witness such a well functioning OC face incredible challenges & host a superb Event.

It is incredibly heart warming to watch our Officials work together & see the joy that Officiating at Events brings to them. Their sense of humour and friendly faces are infectious & brilliant to be in the presence of. Acknowledgment of these Officials is so important for the time they give up & the knowledge and skills they provide our sport: Neil Mackenize-Hall, Richard Mitton, Stuart Bishell, Ginny Tocher, Mura Love, Barbara Woolhouse were the Officials for the FEI classes along with National dressage judges Jenny Draper, Winky Foley and Judy Alderdice and TD for the National classes, Chris Webster. New Zealand were lucky enough to have husband & wife duo, Peter (TD) & Faith (Judge) Ponsonby of Ireland join to Officiate at the Taupo horse trial in November & also for Puhinui. These are two delightful people who will be very missed on our Eventing scene in New Zealand! We wish them the best in their travels back to Ireland & hope to see them back in NZ in the very near future.

The small but mighty CCI4*-L class was sponsored by Auckland Council and it was great to host the Auckland Council representative at the sponsors lunch. Beth Wilson was the eventual winner of the class with a stunning clear SJ round on her 13 year old Irish Sport Horse, Alto et Audax, bred by Imogen Neale & owned by Beth. The emotion behind her speech during prizegiving was felt by all & was certainly evidence as to what this win means for her and her four legged friend.

We are all aware of how busy our Equine Veterinarians are in their day job and therefore acknowledgement and gratitude to long time sponsors of Puhinui must be given to Veterinary Associates for the long days & equine care they provide to the Event. Vet Associates sponsored the CCI3*-L class for 2022 which was won by the stunning Thoroughbred by Battle Paint, Commanche II & his accomplished rider, Lizzie Green. Lizzie & Commanche II led from start to finish in style leaving all rails up on the final day.

The Thompson family were certainly busy over the Puhinui Event with Fiona & Hayley Thompson catering for the Event, Kevin Thompson being on call for Electrical needs, Abbey Thompson competing & Thompson Electrical sponsors of the CCI2*-L class. Monica Spencer & the classy Carousal were the winners of this hotly contested class after their move into the lead following Cross Country. Carousal is a 7 year old mare by Joanne Bridgeman’s’ late stallion Grasshopper, bred by Kate Wood.

Generous sponsors, Penny Homes, supported the CCN1*-S A class & was won by Greer Caddigan & PHS Hilton. Ashra McAvinune & her chestnut gelding took out the Dunstan CCN1*-S B class – Dunstan are such great sponsors of Eventing which we are incredibly appreciative of.

There were two CCN95-S classes which were sponsored by Vet Physio, owned by the experienced physio, Sarah Cruickshank (for more information, visit their website and Li’l Pumpkins – an early learning centre based in Tamahere & Glenview (for more information, visit their website

The Vet Physio CCN95-S A class was won by DSE Lanikai & Jessica Wyatt. The Li’l Pumpkins CCN95-S B class was won by Shelby Davys Olsen & KSNZ Cover Girl.

Watch my Ride generously provided a voucher to all winners of their classes to receive their full Cross Country video free of charge. Jenni Calver generously sponsored a goodie bag for the grooms of each winning combination.

Peninsula Medical sponsored the best presented combination at both Horse Inspections & the weather forecast did not deter riders from presenting themselves impeccably! Lesley Going of Peninsula Medical certainly had her work cut out for her in deciding the winners – Alex Donald & Gina VT Bloemenhof were the winners of the Thursday horse inspection & Scout Lodder & Kingsguard were winners of the Saturday horse inspection.

Sofie Boswell & her stunning mare, Anastasia were winners of the Best Presented FEI horse of the Event. Best performed mare of the Event went to the super combination of Charlotte Penny and her chestnut pocket rocket, Festival.

The top dressage score in the 2* and recipient of the Tracey Blackmore-Sorrell 2* trophy was Denise Rushbrook & Astek Gadzuks. The top dressage score in the 1* and recipient of the Tracey Blackmore-Sorrell 1* trophy was Zoie Gray & CWE Suspense.