Suzanne Black rides Castellane AF, Land Rover Horse of the Year 2024.   Copyright Photo: KAMPIC / Kerry Marshall

Eventing, otherwise known as the “dark side” by us showjumpers. But it’s all in good jest, as I for one have the upmost respect for those that are brave enough to gallop around a course of solid fences, but it’s a common occurrence that the showjumping phase in eventing really can make or break the end result. So when Suzanne Black put her focus on showjumping this season as there just simply weren’t enough eventing starts from her base in Gore, it certainly paid off. As aboard her faithful companion Castellane AF, she was crowned the Dunstan Horsefeeds Amateur Rider Series winner for the season.

“I only really decided I would do the series when I won the South Island’s in December at Canterbury. This was my mares first full season at Amateur level but when she won, I was like oh, I got 20 points for that, maybe I should give this whole series thing a go! It’s hard doing it from the South Island as we don’t have as many shows, so I just tried to make every show count. I got to ten of them, and picked up ten placings’.

Going back a few years, Suzanne purchased Cass sight unseen from Louise Dunn – who she had previously brought her 3* eventer from. This unbroken rising four year old was the first horse Suzanne has broken in and then produced up the grades.

“My main aim with her is eventing, but if she doesn’t want to do that, I have a long queue of people who would take her on! However, she isn’t for sale at the moment, she’s pretty cool”.

Whilst she is a Physio by trade, with her own private practice in Gore and also owns Excel Equine – an online equestrian business, Suzanne has long term eventing goals.

“I would love to do a 4*, although it’s very hard from down here. I definitely think I have a 4* horse in Cass, she is so straight and so brave. She tends to over jump, so I haven’t pushed her up the heights as I want to produce her for the long term”.

Looking to the nearer future, Suzanne’s plans for next season are to get Cass qualified to do a 3* alongside starting in some Pro-Am’s – even if neither of them have jumped that big!

So while it seems that we haven’t quite converted Suzanne to a full time show jumper, I don’t think this is the last we’ll see of her.

“Good jump offs come from the eventing, with the good lines and angles that you have to ride. If you can take angles cross country, then you can definitely take them showjumping, and my eventing showjumping has got so much better from doing more show jumping shows.”

The series final was a nerve-wracking event for Suzanne, even though she didn’t attend. After making the big trip up to HOY, travelling up north again was out of the question, especially as being the President of Eventing Southland, she was also hosting the South Island Eventing championships that same weekend.

“Not being able to be in control of the outcome was terrifying, especially as both Charlotte and Jeremy could have beaten me. I watched the livestream and it was nice to get it out of the way before I evented the next day!”

Suzanne expressed her gratitude to all the people who have helped and supported her this season, namely Tyler & Rebecca McKee. “I always have good fun in the amateurs, it’s the same people you are competing against, so well done to all of them too. I am also thankful for all the sponsors and the volunteers on the organising committees that make the shows happen. I’ve really enjoyed riding in the amateur classes’.

Dunstan Horsefeeds is a New Zealand owned and operated company producing quality nutrition for New Zealand horses competing in New Zealand conditions. Dunstan prides themselves on producing their entire range in a totally Equine Safe manufacturing plant using quality ingredients locally sourced from the New Zealand Arable Farming Sector.


Jumping Series Results for the Dunstan Horsefeeds Amateur Rider Series 2023-2024:

1st        Suzanne Black (103 points)

2nd           Charlotte Amos (96)

3rd            Jeremy Clark (93)

=4th         Kaleigh Kent (84)

=4th         Sarah Revis (84)

6th            Jillian Watson (80)


Jumping Team 31 May 2024