Be Mine NZPH (Untouchable M - Xena NZPH x Cacao Courcelle), an 11-year-old grey mare, owned and ridden by Duncan McFarlane

By Sally Reid
Photography: Cornege and Cheleken Photography

The Anglo European Studbook stallion grading 2021 took place at the Salio Equestrian Club outside the city of Lodz in central Poland at the end of February, and welcomed a record number of entries.

Like many other major events around the world, New Zealand’s 2021 Horse of the Year Show was a victim of Covid-19; a huge blow to riders, breeders, and owners from around the country. However, all being well – and fingers crossed – the ESNZ jumping series finals at Glistening Waters will run as scheduled early next month. Meanwhile, Takapoto’s magnificent two-week jumping show, although disrupted twice, did take place.

Mixed fortunes

Takapoto Estate is the most beautiful equestrian venue in New Zealand; there is nowhere else quite like it. It was developed by Mitch and Kate Plaw, who were introduced to equestrian sport by Olympic eventer Vaughn Jefferis over dinner one night, and who have since then thrown their hearts and resources into supporting it in astonishing ways. In just a few years they have built up a competition team, an elite breeding programme, and a venue that is – excuse the overworked phrase but there’s no other way to say it – world class.
Right from the start, which was just three years ago, the Takapoto jumping show has attracted top riders from both sides of the Tasman. It takes place over two weeks in February and, in keeping with the venue, has a lot more in common with European shows than it does with the regular NZ ones. For obvious reasons, no Australians could compete this year, but there were big entries from around New Zealand. Michel Ismalun of France, who designed last year’s Takapoto tracks, designed (from afar) the 2021 main courses, and former US Olympian Greg Best, who lives here, was the designer for the age groups.
A brief Covid 19 lockdown forced the cancellation of week one, although week two– when the big events take place – went ahead as planned, with the addition of the age groups which had originally been scheduled for week one. The Bronze and Silver Tour Qualifiers and Finals were held, as were the two Gold Tour Qualifiers for the top-level horses. All that remained was the Gold Tour Final, which was to take place on the last day.
Many of the country’s leading jumpers had entered and there had been some interesting results in the two qualifying rounds. Then, huge disappointment: new Covid restrictions were announced; the Final was cancelled and the show came to an early end.
So, here are the results from the two Gold qualifiers: a great outcome for New Zealand Performance Horses... To read the complete article you need to be a subscriber