Well, it's over for another year...
HOY is the biggest equestrian event in the southern hemisphere, and a great sprawling beast of a show. It runs from Tuesday to Sunday, and includes show jumping, dressage, show hunter, saddle hunter, driving, breed classes, mounted games (eek!), ponies, hacks, small children dressed up like little dolls on exquisite little ponies wearing more make up than Paris Hilton, led by Mums who look like they are going to a wedding. This year there was also a 3DE (partly run off-site) for the first time. Total chaos!
There is always much more to see and do than is humanly possible. I only made it half way around the trade stands this year.
The weather was fabulous (always a bonus when camping in the horse truck), and also helped preserve the footing in the dressage warm up (a curious kind of clay/lime mix dumped on top of the members car park). It works wonderfully in the dry, but if it rains heavily like it did last year, it becomes slushy, then dries out forming hard peaks that horses are not happy to work on. It worked well this year though, and also was consistent with the footing in the competition arena (was not last year - another bone of contention). So: Yay, well done, crew!
We had mixed fortunes, with 6th placings in both the PSG and Inter1, and 8th in the Freestyle (Mr B became uncharacteristically excitable and we had some costly technical errors, but the energy and elevation were fantastic! Unfortunately the judges only recognised the mistakes, and we still got the same old 6's and 7's for some of the best extended trot and canter he has ever done). It was the first time with my new music (Bulgarian electronic) which may need a few more practises. Here are some of the comments: "would like music with more beat to fit paces", "unusual but kept tempo - a little monotonous", "a little too busy, makes the ride look hectic"... Ah, the joys of freestyle!
I was lucky enough to be asked to ride for NZ in the international derby, which is something we do to give the show an international flavour. Obviously we cannot ask riders to bring their own horses all the way to NZ, so we have a pool of loan horses and to make it fair, everyone has only 30 min to familiarise themselves with the horse before competing. We had two girls from Germany, Kathleen Keller and Andrea Timpe who were both absolutely delightful. I rode against them in the level 5 Freestyle derby which was extremely challenging as of course we had to learn the pattern and music the night before, and put it all together without rehearsal. The horse I drew was very good, and the music was beautifully put together. It was one of the few music routines that didn't sound like a cut-n-paste mishmash, but it seems the effort was wasted. Unfortunately due to the NZ judge putting me last, we ended up 3rd overall (the 2 foreign judges had us 1st and 2nd). It was really fun to do, and good experience prior to Sydney, where I will ride in the PSG derby.
The girls didn't come all the way from Germany for just the one test, though. The following day we also had a PSG derby (no music), for which Mr B was one of the loan horses. They had 2 different NZ riders this time, so I watched from the sidelines this time. Kathleen from Germany drew Mr B, which was an amusing sight as she is a very tall slim leggy girl, and he is only 16hh. But they won it with 66%, she did a great job and Mr B tried hard for her.
Well, that was my HOY...Time to look ahead to Sydney...
Small tour HOY title went to Kallista Field on Waikiwi, Grand Prix title went to Jody Hartstone on Landioso.