It’s the dawn of a new era for New Zealand showjumping after a hugely successful inaugural Takapoto Estate Show.
Set amongst more than half a million native trees on a stunningly-beautiful landscaped 600 acres, the four-day show offered nearly $70,000 in prize money, with entries quickly reaching a maximum of 435 horses and riders from New Zealand, Australia and further afield.
Longines FEI Nations Cup Jumping of the United Arab Emirates CSIO 5* Winners L-R: Daniel Meech; Bruce Goodin; Samantha McIntosh & Richard Gardner
Flying home for the event were New Zealand’s victorious Abu Dhabi Longines FEI Nations Cup team of Samantha McIntosh, Daniel Meech, Richard Gardner and Bruce Goodin.
Takapoto Estate is the brainchild of the Plaw family, and the show of philanthropists Mitchell and Kate Plaw who are involved in New Zealand high performance, pathway and community sport. McIntosh is their sponsored rider.
Both Mitchell and Kate grew up in the Waikato and have a strong connection with the community and desire to give back.
Takapoto Estate Show: More than just showjumping!
Show director Jaime Campbell said the drive has been to take equestrian to new heights in New Zealand, with a huge investment at the estate to ensure the very best of footing for competitors. A very comfortable VIP area, complete with large couches, umbrellas and more proved popular with many, with the night-time functions transforming the areas into something quite special.
The APL Cocktail Function attracted top riders and some of the nation’s leading businessmen and women.
Maurice Beatson (NZL) & Gold Locks
Maurice Beatson may have been the oldest competitor in the Gold Tour Horse Grand Prix field but that didn’t stop him taking the honours. He was the last of 10 combinations through to the jump-off over the Gerrit Beker-designed course – the leaderboard stacked at the top by three visiting Australians.
Beatson, aboard his eight-year-old homebred mare Gold Locks, carried the weight of the crowd with him as he cleared jump after jump in the Dunstan Horsefeeds and EquiFibre sponsored class. An Olympian and World Championship representative, Beatson is always one of the fiercest competitors in any field and was over the moon with the win.
“I backed myself for a clear,” he said. “She felt good today jumping but it is always hard work.” While the Dannevirke farmer was clear in the first, he took the first of the double in the jump-off but was trying to ensure he covered the time well. It is the second season Gold Locks has showjumped.
Brooke Langbecker (AUS) & Quintago I
“So many had the opportunity to buy her but they didn’t – it was my good fortune!”
Coming in for second was visiting Aussie Brooke Langbecker aboard her lovely chestnut warmblood stallion Quintago I, who were also on four faults, Clint Beresford (Aus) aboard Emmaville Jitterbug were third on eight faults, with Stuart Jenkins (Aus) on Fairview Aliquidam in fourth place.
Podium: Maurice Beatson (NZL), Brooke Langbecker (AUS) & Clint Beresford (AUS)
All place-getters were hugely complimentary to Mitch and Kate Plaw and their vision to create such a world-class showjumping venue. Emma Watson (Morrinsville) and her delightful Maddox Fun House took out the Country TV Pony Grand Prix after a heart-stopping jump-off against Olivia Apatu (Hawke’s Bay) aboard Alasaan Arzu.
Watson thought it was all over when she dropped the last fence of the jump-off.
“I was gutted,” said Watson. “I thought that was it when that last fence fell. We had a pretty good round until then.”
The big open arena called for good fitness from the combinations. Apatu was clearly chasing a relatively careful clear but came unstuck early and ended with 12. Third, fourth and fifth places were filed by four-faulters Sarah West (Matamata) aboard Miss Mae West, Peita Milne (Nelson) on BG Lennox and Ally Carson (Putaruru) with Tiger Tale LS respectively.
The Anne Symes Memorial Horse 1.3m Derby brought the curtain down on an incredible four days of jumping at Takapoto Estate. Tamara Silcock (Nelson) and her lovely grey mare Steel Magnolia headed home the 17-strong field, finishing on four faults in a time of 1.32.8.
“I am so excited,” said Silcock, who has had the horse not quite a year with plans to produce her as a showjumper.
Overview of the Takapoto Estate Showgrounds
More than $30,000 was raised for New Zealand’s 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games team thanks to sporting super stars from the New Zealand (hockey) Black Sticks and cyclists alongside Olympic, WEG and World Cup final riders. A spirited auction included art works, a service fee to McIntosh’s very well-performed jumper Check In 2 and packages at the Longines FEI Nations Cup in Rome, at the New Zealand Horse of the Year, and with eventing team New Zealand at Badminton.
Source: Press Release by Diana Dobson for Takapoto Estate Show
Photos: © Libby Law Photography