Taupo Christmas Classic 2020
Taupo Christmas Classic 2020
The time has finally come around to compete at one of my favourite shows the season! Taupo Christmas Classic! The show is full of ‘Christmas cheer’; dressing up in Christmas attire, Christmas music being played constantly, Christmas themed jump stands, fill and decorations, and green and red rosettes. Although I’ve never dressed up, I have always loved the cheerful atmosphere, getting ready for the new year. This show is 4 days long, Thursday-Sunday and this year was held December 17-20th.
We arrived to the NEC on Wednesday, the day before the show started giving us and the horses time to settle in. Unfortunately, Daisy wasn’t feeling herself and had a bit of a sore tummy, so we decided if she were still like that in the morning, then she’d be pulled from her classes. This year the horses had to be in outdoor pipe yards, due to there being no portable covered yards and very limited stables. This meant they didn’t have any shelter from the sun over the week, so they spent lots of time under the awning.
On Thursday, Daisy had perked up, back to her normal self so we decided to compete her in the 1.15m. Yeah, that didn’t really go to plan… we picked up quite the number of faults (riders fault) but she jumped really well besides our few mess ups. She then had her 1.10m on sand where we jumped clear in the first phase, we were then doing the jump off, had a really good, fast time, coming round to the last fence, we definitely had a chance of placing and…. Nope, Daisy decided she’d already finished and came to a quiet stop at the last fence. As you could imagine, I was devastated!
I had to put all that behind me to compete in my last class of the day on Yoyo, the Junior Rider. Let me rephrase that my first PREMIER Junior Rider INDOORS! I was definitely a bit nervous walking the course, although I think I did a pretty good job at hiding it. We had a great warm up, he was jumping a bit flat though which worried me a bit. Regardless, in the ring we went! I went in whilst the person before me was going, showing him the wall and a spooky corner with santa sleeping in a hammock. I could quite literally feel my heart beating out of my chest approaching the first jump, but once we jumped it all those nerves faded away. He jumped incredibly! He tried so hard for me and we went around leaving all the jumps up, but as I was making my way to the gate ‘LC Underberg for Amara Green, no jump faults however they pick up 1 time fault’ wasn’t the first time I’ve heard that. Although it was disappointing, I couldn’t wipe the smile off of my face thinking of how great he jumped for me. I started walking back to the float when Mark pulled up on his ridiculous, little quad bike and asked me ‘where I was going’, ‘back to the float’ I said. Turns out only 2 people made it into the jump off out of a class of 45 putting me into 3rd!
On Friday, Yoyo had the great lakes qualifier in the outdoor premier ring. The great lakes qualifier is a speed class set at 1.20m where the top 40 combinations go through to the final (1.25m). Let’s just say we didn’t need to worry about time faults today. Yoyo was super keen, tanking me all the way around the course with a little less (a lot less) brakes then what we had yesterday. We slotted into 23rd out of nearly 100 starts, not too bad considering I was planning to go quite a bit slower than the speed we actually went around. Daisy then had her round, also in the outdoor premier ring which was the horse speed 1.10m. She warmed up superb and was super keen. She went around taking 1 light rail adding 4 extra seconds to our time but jumped great, even cleared the ‘joker’ fence set at about 1.20/1.25m.
On Saturday we decided the horses would be pulled from their classes to have a break, taking into consideration how hot it was, how hard the ground was and simply keeping the fresh for their Sunday classes.
Ahhhh finally Sunday, the last classes before we could go home. Don’t get me wrong I love competing, but by the end of a stay away show I’m pretty sure everyone is shattered. Daisy was first up, she was in the 1.15m in the outdoor premier ring. She warmed up jumping amazing so in the ring we went. Let’s just say in the ring was a different story, resulting in us picking up quite the number of faults. I had to put all of this behind me to now compete Yoyo in the great lakes final in the indoor. Yet again warmed up great, jumped the first jump in the ring, I was really worried we wouldn’t make the 6 strides so pushed him forward… down goes the rail. The rest of the course was alright, It definitely was not my best ride and he was being amazing considering some of the spots I gave him. Now coming around to the last jump, what looked like the biggest jump in the course and I fell for the trap of taking the first stride I saw. I saw what we like to call a ‘miracle stride’ which was way too far out and I ended up landing in the middle of the oxer… definitely not my finest move. Yoyo was so good, standing patiently while I picked myself up and fixed his bridle which was hanging from his face.
Not necessarily how I wanted to end the week, but the only way you can learn is by making mistakes plus I was still stoked about picking up a placing at a big, premier event, this was a huge achievement for me.
I would like to the thank the sponsors, organizers and judges of the event particularly my class sponsors: Mainland Coachwork, Equestrian Entries, Dunstan Horsefeed, Maxlife Batteries, Waikato Equine Vets, Dynavyte and Equine Supergoo.
Also huge thanks to Mark Wells for helping me walk my courses, warm up and all the help in preparation for this show and many others.
Photo Credit Lindy Waijenberg