Jade McRae took a big risk not making the long trip north from Invercargill to Hawke’s Bay for HOY but it all worked out in the end. She and Swayze won the Ultimate Egg Co Amateur High Points Series on countback from runner-up Merran Hain (Gisborne) aboard Untouchable, and also placed second in the NRM Open High Points and fifth in the Petticoat Lane Performance Horses Adult Equitation Series.
The former eventer who is a resource consent officer for Environment Southland decided the nearly 1300-km trip was too far for her 16-year-old horse who she bought off Ngaire Lamb.
This is their first season doing straight show hunter and Jade set her sights high, chasing top six finishes in each of her three targeted series. They covered over 3500-km heading to shows all over the South Island and she doesn’t regret it for a moment. “It was absolutely worth it,” she said. “I didn’t bring him up to HOY because he is older and I had used our trip to Nationals as a decider and felt it was just too far,” said Jade.
She knew she was tied at the top of the amateur table with Merran Hain (Gisborne) coming into the final and says she had resigned herself to third. “I was ok with that. It was good to be in the top six in all three series.”
But then came the message from HOY telling her she had won. “I was at work and I cried!”
Swayze just loves his show hunter. Right from the start of their partnership, he was a winner. “I was surprised when we went to our first event at Waimate at the beginning of the season and we won both amateur classes. I thought ‘wow, I have underestimated him’.”
Jade says Swayze is a real character at home – cheeky but relaxed and not fazed by much.
She’s already looking forward to next season’s show hunter series and has plans to once again chase the series with her eyes on another crown.
The final of the series went to Stephie Smith (Taupo) and her well-performed horse Disney with Sharyn Goodwin (Hamilton) aboard Showtym Duchess second and Laura van Velthooven (Feilding) on Montbelle Donahue third.
The Ultimate Egg Co Amateur High Points Series: Jade McRae (Invercargill) Swayze 1, Merran Hain (Gisborne) Untouchable 2, June Berrington (Whakatane) Kiwi Iron Mark 3, Laura van Velthooven (Palmerston North) Montbelle Donahue 4, Antonio Matangi (Levin) Shoeshine Polish 5, Carrie Findlay (Rangiora) Kiwi Award 6.
The Ultimate Egg Co Amateur High Points Final: Stephie Smith (Taupo) Disney 1, Sharyn Goodwin (Hamilton) Showtym Duchess 2, Laura van Velthooven (Feilding) Montbelle Donahue 3, Emily Twort (Henderson) Cameo KSNZ 4, Rebecca Conole (Masterton) Private Benjamin III 5, Stephie Smith (Taupo) HR Clooney 6.
By Diana Dobson
12 March 2020