My Super Nova lived up to his name on Thursday in the Dunstan Young Rider of the Year at New Zealand’s NRM Horse of the Year Show in Hastings.
Rider and owner Rose Alfeld, 18, was beside herself when she headed home 34 other combinations over a very tough John Vallance-designed course for the win.
“This is a huge win for us,” she said. “I never thought in my wildest dreams I would win here today.”
It was carnage in the first round, with five eliminations, two retirements and not a single clear round. Fifteen combinations with nine faults and fewer came back for a second round. From there it came down to four combinations to return for a jump-off. Sarah Beale (Australia) and Alpha Centauri had eight faults from their first round, went clear in the second and picked up four in the jump-off in a time of 37.59 seconds.
Next out was Logan Massie. Sitting on a hat trick, having won the title back to back in 2012 and 2013 with Kiwi Ludo, Massie had both Ludo and Double J Cloud 9 through to the top four, so the Big Red Cup was his for the taking.
Aboard Ludo, Massie had bagged five faults in the first round, was clear in the second and clear again in the jump-off in 39.04.
Next out was Christchurch rider Alfeld and her home-bred My Super Nova, who had just four faults coming into the jump-off. She rode a brilliant round to leave everything in place and stop the clock at 36.62.
Massie was last to go with Double J Cloud 9, and looked on track to take the title until he dropped a rail, giving him eight faults in 36.83.
Alfeld, who splits her time between her horses and nannying for two children, just missed out on a place in the series, but said the HOY title more than made up for it.
“The course walked nicely, although I found some of the lines a bit short for my horse, so chose to take out a few strides.”
My Super Nova, a Holsteiner cross who is by Corlando and out of a St James Mare, is a big horse who covers the ground well.
“I was out there to go clear but didn’t want to push him too hard,” said Alfeld, who is trained by John Cottle, “but I had nothing to lose.”
She was surprised at how fast the two had completed the jump-off.
With the young rider win in hand, eight-year-old My Super Nova could now relax, while Alfeld competed on her two other horses. She’s looking forward to spending a couple of months in Europe without horses, before gearing up for next season.
Dunstan Horse Feeds Young Rider of the Year: Rose Alfeld (Christchurch) My Super Nova 1, Logan Massie (Dannevirke) Kiwi Ludo (owned by Massie and Annette Scott) 2, Logan Massie (Dannevirke) Dougle J Cloud 9 3, Sarah Beale (Australia) Alpha Centauri 4, Shaun Fannin (Hastings) Air Hill the Rajah 5, Melody Matheson (Hastings) Cheltenham 6.