Glitz and glamour at Puhinui

Charlotte Barraclough adds some glamour to the eventing life at Puhinui


An Eventful Life will be filming all competitors on cross country at Puhinui - find out more here


Aaaahhh, Puhinui. It’s the end of the eventing season all around the world, our last event of the year and one we always look forward to.

The Puhinui Reserve, perched on the edge of Manukau Harbour, provides a beautiful backdrop each year for the event that brings New Zealand’s eventing calendar to a close and marks the halfway stage in the season’s ESNZ Eventing Series. With valuable titles and big points on offer, it is always hotly contested and although Clarke Johnstone, the recent CCI4* winner in Adelaide, isn’t competing in the top class, the Honda New Zealand CCI3*, he is taking part in the iSpy Horses CCI2* riding Kate Woods’ Wolf Whistle II


      A Wolf Whistle (or II) for Clarke Johnstone


The six New Zealand horses who contested the Australian International 3 Day Event CCI4* are obviously not  competing here but the line up in the CCI3* includes Adelaide riders Sam Felton, this time on Ricker Ridge Rui and Ricker Ridge Divine Right and Donna Edwards-Smith on DSE Cluny.


       Jock Paget and Snow Leopard


Olympian and former Badminton winner Jock Paget, now the NZ Eventing Performance Development Coach, is riding Heelan Tompkins’ Snow Leopard. The pair has not been together very long but they won the top class at Rotorua at the end of November and Jock says that the 10 year old thoroughbred gelding is ‘ready to step up’. Jock’s own horse, Angus Blue, on whom he won the Oceania Championships at Werribee in June, is still acclimatising to the Southern Hemisphere 'busy growing a winter coat!'

The current New Zealand National Three Day Event champion, Emily Cammock from Christchurch, has both her title holding horse Shaw Lee and his stable mate Lewis entered; Lewis was held at the first horse inspection today which seems to be a regular occurrence for the horse with a slightly unusual hind leg action but Emily just smiles and breezes through until he is finally accepted

Corey Wood has brought Pick Up Line for his first long format 3* event, the adventurous Chloe Phillips-Harris, who has completed the Mongol Derby amongst other unorthodox equine pursuits, rides her established star Cor-Jet and Bundy Philpott rides Tresca NZPH


       Renee Faulkner and Rubinstar HH


The 3* field is completed by Oceania Young Rider team member Renee Faulkner on Rubinstar HH, who has chosen to contest the CCI3* class over the Young Rider title at 2* level. Bred to be a dressage horse, ‘Rubin’ actually prefers to jump and he certainly looked fit today


Forget how the horse moves - look at the skirt! A dress with hemline that doesn't fly up but swings as you run is a big winner ....


But the first horse inspection is of course really all about the ‘rider looks’ and Renee was one today whose smart summery look we loved.

It’s hard to be practical whilst looking great and we thought that Renee, in her white shorts, blue top and light jacket hit the mark, as did Larissa Srhoy who cleverly teamed short suede boots (and yes, we know it’s boring but it is still important to have safe shoes when you’re thundering along a concrete runway with a fit eventing horse about to go loopy) with a summer dress that moved really beautifully as she ran

Danielle Wheeler also wore a lovely outfit (sleeveless cream top, grey taffeta-looking skirt with interesting feature belt and great hat) but the real glamour girls were Sam Felton, Sophie Alexander, Vicky Browne-Cole and Charlotte Barraclough


Shimmering gold for horse and rider. Sophie Alexander and World Famous in the CCI2* Young Rider class


Practical? Well, no but hell, eventing needs all the glitz and glam it can get. And in this sport, when you could be planted head first in Puhinui soil sometime during the weekend, you might as well shine brightly on the first day, which is exactly what Sam Felton and Sophie Alexander did in glistening golden outfits.


       Sam Felton and Ricker Ridge Divine Right


Last year’s winner CCIJ1*, Vicki Browne-Cole also opted for a glamorous look with a short cream skirt with elegant cream and black lace top which looked really good from the back as well as the front


Boots and lace - a girl can be practical and very glam from front and back. Vicky Cole-Browne and Amazing Spy in the CCI1*Junior


       Just stepped off the yacht - Charlotte Barraclough and Jolis Coeur


But the glamour-puss had to be Charlotte Barraclough who is riding Jolis Coeur in the CCI1*

Charlotte really looked as if she belonged in the South of France and had just stepped off a large yacht in the marina at Cannes (how on earth she got the horse on there is not dealt with in our romanticising). So top marks to both the practical girls and the glamour-pusses who brought some style and glitz to the first day at Puhinui .......... but wait, there’s more ............ we can’t finish without a mention for Nick Brooks.

Nick and For Fame always look fantastic and this year he had ‘borrowed’ the royal blue velvet jacket we so admired on Clarke Johnstone in Adelaide and wore it with purple shorts, revealing the BEST legs which any vet would pass without doubt.

That’s how to wow at a first horse inspection .........


      Nick Brooks and For Fame - Accepted! (Especially the legs)