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Age and breeding information required for NZ Young Eventers

Winner of the Best Mare and Best Four-year-old titles, FF Laboni (FF Lisandro), bred by Janelle van Roon of Fanfaire Equestrian, with her owner/rider Sarah Milne

By Sally Reid
Photography: Take the Moment; Sarah Milne

The New Zealand Warmblood Association took over sponsorship of this influential competition for 2024 and, appropriately, though purely by chance, many of the top-placed horses were registered with NZWA!

Overall honours against a record number of competitors went to a five-year-old New Zealand Warmblood gelding, Benny MSNZ (Bentley van de Heffinck - Nesha x Salute the Stars). He was bred by Bini Newsom of MSNZ Sport Horses in Tauranga, and has strong jumping bloodlines. His sire, the Europe-based BWP Bentley van der Heffinck, brings the super Clinton x Heartbreaker mix to his pedigree, combined with a very highly regarded BWP dam-line: Bentley’s dam, Souvenir van der Heffinck (Heartbreaker - Kinette vd Heffinck x Pachat II) competed nationally and internationally with Wilm Vermeir and is a half-sister to the excellent Quel Homme vd Heffinck.
Nesha, Benny MSNZ’s dam, did not compete and her sire, Salute the Stars (Salute - Jane’s Heir x Contact) is a hard horse to track down online, but this much is known about him: he was licensed with the NZWA in 1990, the year he was born, and sired some very good jumpers in this country. These included two real standouts: Katie Laurie’s mare Daffodil (the dam of Laurie’s current 1m50 jumper Boom), and Showtym Viking, the 14.2hh skewbald pony who successfully competed against horses at both Grand Prix and World Cup levels.
Salute the Star’s damsire, Contact, was a Holsteiner son of Cor de la Bryère, from Stamm 4636, and his sire, Salute (Saluut), was a KWPN imported to Australia and licensed with the AWHA.
Benny MSNZ is owned by Ashleigh McKinstry and Holly Rose and, according to his breeder, Bini Newsom; “He’s a little superstar – and credit to Holly who has done a wonderful job with him. We’re super-excited to see where he goes from here.” The gelding was broken in by Bini’s daughter Olivia, who helps with the MSNZ operation, and was ridden at the competition by Ashleigh McKinstry. “He’s a lovely young horse and we’re very excited for his future, McKinstry says.
In second place and winner of the Best Mare and Best Four-year-old titles was another gorgeous NZWA youngster: FF Laboni (FF Lisandro - FF Falenciaga x Dolany) bred by Janelle van Roon of Fanfaire Equestrian in the South Island. FF Laboni was an outstanding foal too: she was given an Excellence rating with a score of 81.25% from assessor Matthias Werner on the NZWA’s 2020 foal classification tour. “I think she’s one of the best natural movers I’ve seen in a long while,” commented van Roon on Facebook when the mare was a three-year-old. These days she is the pride and joy of her owner-rider Sarah Milne, who has had her since the start of 2023.

Champion Young Event Horse, Benny MSNZ, bred by Bini Newsom and ridden by Ashleigh McKinstry

“FF Laboni or ‘Boni’ as she is known at home is a super-smart, very trainable young mare,” says Sarah. “She has only been campaigned very lightly during her four-year-old season, and won the New Zealand Champion four-year-old show hunter, was third in the NZ Champion four-year-old showjumper, and third in the four-year-old Dressage Championship at HOY, along with the best four-year-old at the Young Event Horse. “Boni’s feature is she is very trainable – now that her tummy ulcers have been understood and controlled. She is definitely a strong breeding prospect, so we can look forward to some Boni-babies down the track... To read the complete article you need to be a subscriber