Lauren Mitchell and Craighaven Black Heart


ESNZ Show Hunter Junior Equitation Series


It was back-to-back ESNZ Show Hunter Junior Equitation Series titles for Lauren Mitchell and her “powerhouse” of a mare Craighaven Black Heart.

The Kumeu rider is no stranger to success at top show hunter level, with her name etched on a number of crowns over the years. “It’s really special to repeat it this year,” said Lauren.

She has nothing but admiration for Black Heart who has been with her for around five years now. “She just loves her job and we work so well as a team. She is a real trier.”

Lauren and Black Heart were also second in both the NRM Open High Points Series and Sport Horse Junior High Points, in which she was fourth aboard Marokopa CJ.

“It would have been nice if the weather had played ball a bit more this season,” said Lauren. “We lost 10 days of series due to the weather.”

Lauren bought nine-year-old CJ as a youngster and he’s taken a lot of work to get to where he is now. “Finally it just starting to come together nicely.”

She trains herself mostly and has some dressage coaching from Greg Smith, which helps a lot with flat work. Show hunter has long been a passion for Lauren. “I love the technicality of it. It is so precise and calls for a lot of thought and preparation.”

It is a real family affair at shows, with her grandmother Kathy Hughes, mum Denise Mitchell, boyfriend Elliot Farnan and twin sister Victoria, who show jumps, all on site. “Dad stays home with the rest of the animals! I really appreciate the support.”

Lauren is studying health science at AUT while juggling jobs in admin, at Burger King and as a groom for a dressage rider, as well as her own horses.


ESNZ Show Hunter Junior Equitation Series: Lauren Mitchell (Kumeu) 79 points 1, Aliya Berry (Tamahere) 62 2, Olivia Woodward (Palmerston North) 49 3, Bella Taane (Ohoka) 34 4, Ella Rouse (Gisborne) 31 5, Hazel Jones (Plimmerton) 27 6.


ESNZ Show Hunter Junior Equitation Series Grand Final: Lauren Mitchell (Kumeu) Craighaven Black Heart 1, Hollie Falloon (Masterton) Untouchable 2, Tula Brumby (Warkworth) Airthrey Resolution 3, Aliya Berry (Tamahere) Pintado Bravo 4, Olivia Woodward (Palmerston North) Whittaker II 5, Jordan Hall (Waipukurau) Mac Black 6.


For full results, head to


Diana Dobson – 17 April 2023