Ashley Johnston and Miss Vee NZPH – Photo by KAMPIC
When it comes to versatility and consistency, it’s hard to go past Miss Vee NZPH who carried her doting rider Ashley Johnston to victory in the Dunstan Horsefeeds Amateur Rider Series.
The Whangarei combo didn’t even need to start in the grand final at the Trust House Glistening Waters ESNZ Series Final Show to secure the crown – for the second time. They last won it in 2019 but have also placed second and fourth in the hotly contested series.
“This is a nice way to finish the season and just goes to show that if you put that hard work in at the start you can enjoy the end a little more,” says Ashley.
She and Miss Vee NZPH have together won nearly 30 amateur rider series classes over the years. “She really is a great horse.”
Ashley got the mare nine years ago and have also won an eventing series crown, dabbled in dressage, and was her mounted police horse too. “She was a great eventer and we competed up to 2* level when I was a little bit braver.”
When Ashley had her daughter, she made the move to showjumping.
“You will never meet a better mare; she is just so consistent in every discipline. She is gentle and kind at home and lets my three-year-old daughter Lucy ride her but a really fierce competitor and sometimes we can’t even get near the warm-up area. She is a ginger hot-blooded mare!”
Miss Vee NZPH loves a good jump-off and Ashley says she gets particularly excited when she knows that’s about to happen.
The series was one of her goals for the season. “I just thought that given she is not far away from retirement, it was a good last chance to have a real crack at it. Things just fell in our favour. I just love the consistency of this – the series rewards a really consistent horse. To win a series takes a great horse, and particularly the amateur series which is so competitive. You don’t see many faster jump-offs.”
They have only twice been unplaced in an amateur start this season. “This is a great one to win and especially as I know just how much everyone wants it.”
Their best result this season was second at the North Island champs but also special is their win in Marlborough. “I was a bit nervous about competing in the South Island but it was nice to compare tracks and feel consistently good in both islands.”
Ashley is pregnant with her second child, so expects next season to be a whole lot quieter.
Eleven started the grand final this afternoon where just Kaleigh Kent (Otane) aboard Double J Sponge Bob Square Pants and Angela Ruddenklau (Christchurch) on Dynamic AR went through to the jump-off. There it was all Kaleigh and her much-loved horse, who were double clear in 48.3 seconds, with Angela coming in for second with faults. The minors were split between four faulters Laura Pratt (Te Pahu) on Monet X Change, Tasha Hart (Hastings) with Kiwi Cherobon, and Jo Andrews (Otaki) aboard Coco Petite who were third, fourth and fifth respectively. Jeremy Clarke (Te Kauwhata) and Dynavyte Cancion HSH were sixth.
Dunstan Horsefeeds Amateur Rider Series: Ashley Johnston (Whangarei) 111 points 1, Kaleigh Kent (Otane) 93 2, Jeremy Clark (Te Kauwhata) 76 3, Kate Beattie (Outram) 69 4, Tanya Davie (Mosgiel) 65 5, David Hutton (Timaru) 60 6.
Dunstan Horsefeeds Amateur Rider Series Grand Final: Kaleigh Kent (Otane) Double J Sponge Bob Square Pants 1, Angela Ruddenklau (Christchurch) Dynamic AP 2, Laura Pratt (Te Pahu) Monet X Change 3, Tasha Hart (Hastings) Kiwi Cherobon 4, Jo Andrews (Otaki) Coco Petite 5, Jeremy Clark (Te Kauwhata) Dynavyte Cancion HSH 6.
For full results, head to www.evoevents.co.nz
Diana Dobson – 14 April 2023