Katharine Van Tuyl and Double J Sunshine sealed their win in the Waipa Home of Champions CIC3* in New Zealand with a stunning clear round at the Kihikihi International Horse Trial.
The pairing, who have also show jumped to grand prix level, were nearly 10 penalty points clear of the second-placed Dannie Lodder aboard Tomahawk II, with Donna Edwards-Smith and Mr Hokey Pokey moving back up the leader board to take third place.
Edwards-Smith and Mr Hokey Pokey held the slightest of leads following the dressage. She was pleased with the nine-year-old horse’s efforts, saying: “He is very green at this level and this is just his second 3* start, so I was very happy with him. We had just one mistake when we missed a flying change but his medium and extended trot just keeps getting bigger and bigger.”
Edwards-Smith held a 0.5 lead over Amanda Pottinger and Just Kidding who had a costly and unfortunate error in her dressage test. She missed the last movement of the test, but had the opportunity to redo it. She had no idea she had done an error in the course and was about to exit the arena when the judge rang the bell. “My heart just dropped,” she said. “I was gutted I didn’t get either of my changes and the canter was a little flat but he is still young and I think the trot work was the nicest he has done. When that bell rang I thought I was being eliminated but had no idea what for.
But the event proved that it wasn’t just a dressage competition. The demanding cross country saw five of the twelve starters fall by the wayside. Overnight leader Edwards-Smith slipped to fifth after a conservative cross country. Van Tuyl had the fastest time of the day, adding 12.8 time penalties, to take the lead going into the show jumping. Pottinger slipped from second to fourth incurring 26 time penalties on the cross country.
Van Tuyl’s win came a decade after she last competed at Kihikihi. She was the only rider to go clear over the Gerrit Beker-designed show jumping course, albeit garnering two time faults. “I was getting jumped right out of the saddle out there. He was just jumping bigger and bigger. He was just awesome. This is a class I have always wanted to win but everything gets sold, so this is just fantastic. I knew it would be a massive ask for him – he is only eight. I have had some really cool horses over the years but this one is the bet . . . he has so much scope.”
Lodder had two rails down – one for her and the other for the horse – and picked up two time faults, but was very happy to take second place. “I got a little lost in the moment after the treble and forgot that (fence) six came after five,” she said.
Edwards-Smith was excited to come up onto the podium in third, having only four faults in the show jumping.
Photo courtesy of Take the Moment Photography