Kiwi guard on fire

Article Index
Horse Of The Year

Last was definitely best for Mathew Dickey in the Young Rider class at the 2011 NZ Horse of the Year Show in Hastings today. The 20-year-old civil engineering student from Oakura was the only clear of 29 starters in the event – and he was the very last in the field to go. Ahead of him some rather good riders had dropped rails aplenty over a very technical Leopoldo Palacios (Venezuela) designed course. Unfazed by the carnage that had preceded him, the Auckland University student and his chestnut Kiwi Guard flew round the course to secure – fittingly – the Big Red Trophy.

An ecstatic Dickey whipped his helmet off and hoisted it skyward in celebration – much to the delight of the hundreds in the grandstand and around the arena. The minor placings all carried faults, with the four faulters separated by time. Second place went to the spunky little coloured horse Showtym Viking in the hands of Amanda Wilson (Northland), with Rachel McGregor (Cambridge) and Kabo Benny Boy third.

“I am just over the moon,” said Dickey. “I just focused on what I was doing and what dad and I had talked about when we walked the course. Kiwi Guard is a real fiery red head and it all got a bit much for him in the end but he did so well out there. “A lot of preparation goes into a class like this and to win it makes it all worth while.” Dickey, who won Pony of the Year aboard Co Calico in 2008, says the young rider title was one he had set as a goal for the season. He finished second in the series behind Danielle Maurer (Auckland) who today retired her beautiful roan horse Blue Rinse from the class after he uncharacteristically dropped several rails.

“There were a few kinky lines out there but I liked that course,” says Dickey. He had the luxury of having competed early in the class over his other less experienced mount Witzcellar who had a rail and and picked up two time faults to finish on six faults, and just out of the money. “I got a good look at the course and was certainly happy once I was clear of the Liverpool fence (which he had dropped with Witzcellar).”

It was a big step up the black mare and Dickey says she handled it well. Nine-year-old Kiwi Guard, who is by Irish Guard, has been with the Dickey family since he was three, and just continued to improve over the years. Dad Phil and Dickey's sister Tanya rode him until he was about five when Dickey graduated to hacks. He says his parents are his biggest supporters. Long term Dickey plans to continue to compete in young rider next season. “Once I am out of young riders it is into the big league,” he says. “We know our limits and I while I want to produce my horses to grand prix and world cup, I won't rush them.”

For now he's absolutely chuffed to have his name on a trophy that boasts former Olympians and other top New Zealand riders. Earlier in the show, the in-form Logan Massie (Dannevirke) aboard Kiwi Ludo rode a stunning clear round to take the honours in the junior rider class ahead of Natasha Brooks (Cambridge) on Hairy McClairy. Six went through to the jump-off and it looked as though the class belonged to the last to go, Jake Lambert (Cambridge) as he galloped O So Happy into the last with plenty of time to spare. But it wasn't to be and the rails came crashing down relegating him to fourth place.

Massie also featured in the victorious Central Hawke's Bay Saba Sam team who bolted in to take the honours ahead of Waikato, with 11 faults in hand. It was well worth the trip from Blenheim for teenager Nicola French. The 17-year-old beat off riders with vastly more experience to win the Level 3 dressage Horse of the Year title. Her enormous imported German gelding Don Freese packs a powerful punch in the dressage arena, with energetic exuberant paces. Although she finished second in both title classes, her consistency was enough to give her the overall win.

Results - Dunstan Horse Feeds Big Red Trophy – Young Rider of the Year:

Mathew Dickey (Taranaki) Kiwi Guard 1, Amanda Wilson (Northland) Showtym Viking 2, Rachel McGregor (Cambridge) Kabo Benny Boy 3, Alexa Randall (Auckland) Chairman 15 4, Tim Myers (Hawera) Pick Me NZPH 5, Rachael Bentall (Hastings) Kiwi Brave 6. Fiber Fresh Feeds Junior Rider of the Year: Logan Massie (Dannevirke) Kiwi Ludo 1, Natasha Brooks (Cambridge) Hairy McClairy 2, Katie Meredith (Kaiapoi) Rio Madrid 3, Jake Lambert (Cambridge) O So Happy 4, Meg Webb (Hunterville) Abernaki Chief 5, Brittany McLaughlin (Christchurch) Suzy Fog 6. Saba Sam: Central Hawke's Bay (Logan Massie on Kickin the Clouds, Emily Fraser on Tony the Pony, Morgan Percy on Surprise Illusion, Henry Booth on Woodmount Splash) 8 faults 1, Waikato (Melanie Weal on Hopeful Illusion, Meg Lambert on Co Calico, Elle Phillips on Guess One More, Kate Allen on Pioneer Jade) 19 f 2, Auckland (Lilly Tootill on Tallyho Bandit, Hayley Lockhart on Mai Amoray, Rebekah van Tiel on Guthrie, Olivia Robertson on Hawai Haka) 21 f 3. Dressage, Level 3 Horse of the Year: Nicola French (Blenheim) Don Freese. Reserve: Vanessa Way (Taranaki) KH Allandro.