Waipukurau's Amanda Large is gunning for a belated birthday present at this week's Horse of the Year Show (HOY) in Hastings.

The CHB College Year 13 student celebrated her 17th birthday last Tuesday. Given the amount of work she had put in just to get to New Zealand's biggest equestrian event, Amanda said winning in the Pleasure ring on her horse, Pippi Longsox, this Sunday would make for the perfect gift.

"I've had to qualify to get there, so winning a ribbon in the Pleasure title class would be amazing," she said.

Though this will be third time competing at HOY, it's her first appearance in five years.


She competed at the 2012 and 2013 shows in the Pleasure and Show Hunter classes on her pony, Dreaming Lucky, but her horse then went lame and had to be retired.

After that, Amanda did not have a horse suitable for competing at HOY until Gretchen King, a friend of her mother's, gave her the ride of Pippi Longsox, an 11-year-old Clydesdale-thoroughbred cross, in 2016.

To be able to compete at HOY, she needed to win at least a champion's ribbon - or two reserve champions - at a qualifying show on her relatively new horse.

Not content to simply qualify, Amanda proceeded to win two champion and a reserve champion ribbon.

"I won champion at Maraekakaho Sports Day and Waipukurau Sports Day, so I'd qualified by my second show of the season," said Amanda, who was proud and a little surprised at her results.

She said the Pleasure classes had become "very popular and very competitive" in the past few years, to the point where they were now "right up there" with the Saddle Hunter and Park Hack classes.

However the Pleasure classes were slightly different in that they suited horses which might not have great conformation, but they still had to be "nice and quiet".

"So the horse still has to nice and quiet and placid, but also free moving, and have a nice disposition and nature."

A lot of work still went into turning out a horse in the Pleasure classes.

"They've got to be meticulous. A lot of time is put into getting the horse ready, with lots of shampooing, and Pippi has four white socks, so you've got put makeup on the legs so they are dazzling."

However that job would be delegated to her "groom" - her mum, Katherine, district commissioner for the CHB Pony Club.

Mrs Large was proud of her daughter's efforts in qualifying and was looking forward to watching her compete this weekend at HOY after a long hiatus.

"It's taken Amanda a lot of hard work and dedication but she's done very well," she said.

Amanda is one of a large contingent of CHB riders competing at HOY week.

Former Olympic Cup winners Simon and Claire Wilson are competing in the Grand Prix, while their children Tim and Anna are riding in the lower level showjumping classes.

Amanda Fraser and her daughter Lucy are competing in the showing classes.

Andrew McLennan and Dylan Bibby are two young CHB showjumpers and sisters Ella and Hannah von Dadelszen are competing in the Show Hunter classes, while Brooke Edgecombe is expected to contest the show finale, the Olympic Cup, on Sunday.