Paula Mussen rides Deja Vu NZPH at the ESNZ Jumping Series Finals, NEC Taupo.  Copyright Photo: Libby Law Photography

As many of us know, visions and dreams don’t always go to plan. Paula Mussen experienced this tenfold this past year. Whilst she had set her sights on jumping Grand Prix and the FEI 1* classes, a nasty fall at the Waikato jumping show was her first setback.  They say bad things come in threes, and this couldn’t be more true for the Clarks Beach mum of two. In the weeks following her fall, she was made redundant from NZME, a company where she had been for 17 years, and an industry she had been in for 36 years and then the devastating loss of her father in January.

But, as they say, every cloud has a silver lining. Paula wisely chose to step her lovely grey mare, Deja Vu NZPH down a level to regroup and rebuild their confidence, a choice that saw them comfortably winning the Harrison Lane Pro Am Series.

“It’s been a tough six months, being made redundant left me in total shock, but I know I’m not the only one. The media’s had a really tough time. For now, I am keeping busy with being the chair of Auckland Show Jumping and being a High-Performance selector through to the Paris Olympic Games”.

While the Pro-Am may not have been Paula’s plan, the odds were certainly in her favour, winning nine out of her twelve starts. And if fate could have a say, she won every one of her starts after her beloved father passed away in January. ”I’m a bit emotional about the whole thing, he was very instrumental in me buying both of my horses. I think he’s keeping a good eye on me, and he’d love that I’m still riding both horses and heavily involved in the Show Jumping still” – a dedication that also saw Paula being awarded the inaugural NZ rider contribution award last season.

Paula thoroughly enjoyed the Pro Am series and says that while there is friendly banter between the competitors, everyone gets on well and supports each other. The main rivalry must come between Paula and Lucy Fell. Lucy won the series last year, where Paula was second, so the tables have done a complete 180 this year! “I enjoy the Pro-Am series.  As Lucy describes it, it’s the galloping mums! But everyone is supportive of each other, and we all get on really well. Behind the scenes, it’s all just good banter and was a competitive series with fast jump offs, where 100 people were competing over the series. It was great to see Vicki Ridley place third in the series, and congratulations to all the other prize getters”.

Paula was also quick to thank Laura from Harrison Lane for sponsoring the series. Ironically, Laura groomed for Paula some 20 years ago when she first moved to NZ, so it was very special to win her sponsored series class. Thanks also go to Toni & Colin McIntosh, and the NEC committee, for hosting the finals. A class Paula was grateful to win, and even more thrilled that she got a photo of her horse with the winner’s rug on – even if it did take ten minutes! “I love my duck (Deja Vu NZPH), she’s very consistent but a total weirdo, she still won’t let the judges put ribbons on. Next season, I hope to be jumping the 1.40’s and Grand Prix, I know my horse is good enough but when things don’t go right, you have to regroup and stay comfortable and get back on track”.

Harrison Lane has worked hard to perfect arena construction methods and footing for New Zealand conditions using locally sourced products. Ebb and Flow arenas are a popular choice due to being low maintenance and providing a consistent riding surface all year round, creating an even cushioned footing with minimal shifting.  Harrison Lane has long supported equestrian events and have a genuine passion to support the sport and industry they and their clients are very much a part of. 

Jumping Series Results for the Harrison Lane Pro-Am Series 2023-2024:

1st Paula Mussen (136 points)

2nd Lucy Fell (110)

3rd Vicky Ridley (90)

4th Luce Williams (79)

5th= Olivia Glen (65)

5th= Sophie Fourie (65)


13 May 2024