Emily Cammock's thousands of kilometres spent on the road in her horse truck chasing events around the country finally paid off yesterday when she won the CCI three star open national title aboard Shaw Lee in Taupo yesterday.
But the Canterbury mother of two faced a bigger hurdle than most at the three-day event championship. During Saturday's cross country, Cammock and Shaw Lee provisionally picked up 50 penalty points. However, upon review, the points were removed and they sat third place going into the final showjumping leg yesterday.
Cammock posted a lovely clear round, putting the pressure on overnight leader and defending champion Amanda Pottinger (Havelock North) aboard Just Kidding, and Donna Edwards-Smith (Te Kauwhata) aboard DSE Mr Hokey Pokey, who sat in second going into the showjumping.
Both women had rails down opening the door for Cammock and her 12-year-old horse.
"This season has been a complete shambles for me," she said, "so this is really special."
She travelled from Canterbury to Hawke's Bay for the Horse of the Year Show eventer of the year class in March, which was abandoned, and then again made the long trek north for the Central Districts event, which was also called off thanks to the weather. So, she was hugely relieved with yesterday's win.
"I definitely rate this horse," said Cammock. "I have had him since he was an unbroken two-year-old and while he has been a bit of a rogue, he has always been a super jumper. We just need to consolidate our flat work, and there is plenty of room for improvement."
It is the second time Cammock has won the crown. Edwards-Smith had to settle for second, with Pottinger third.
Olympian Jock Paget (Taupo) cruised to victory in the CIC three star aboard Angus Blue, the horse he brought with him from the United Kingdom.
While 17.9 penalty points ahead of the second-placed Andy Daines (Kumeu) and Spring Panorama, he was a little disappointed to finish with a rail down in the showjumping.
"I wanted to jump clear," said Paget. "I need to work on the warm-up technique I think."
It's been six years since he last competed at Taupo, and he's impressed with the event.
"I was surprised at the amount of atmosphere here, it was much more than I expected. My horse has done his education in England so has seen a lot."
But in the past nine months, Angus Blue has only had one outing before the national championships.
"He is still only nine, so he's just learning but is full of power."
Hamilton's Madison Crowe has only been with Waitangi Pinterest since late July but the two showed the strength of their budding partnership in winning the CCI two star championship.