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Great start with one and two

Henrike Puketapu capped a fantastic start to the Poverty Bay A&P Show with first and second placings in the inaugural Christine Beatson Memorial Equitation class last night.

Having already won the Supreme (showing) Horse of the Show with HSP Soe, she wasn’t going to enter her imported mare in the memorial class but was encouraged to do so.

It paid off handsomely as the pair topped a field of 19 entries judged on conformation, paces and movement, manners and a set workout.

Competition was tight in the top eight but Puketapu and HSP Soe won, ahead of Puketapu’s former eventer RM Limbo.

Rebecca Alpin (Hawke’s Bay) and Sherlock were third and Stephanie Hammond (Waipukurau) and Entice fourth.

Alpin and Sherlock, who earlier won the Supreme Paced and Mannered Horse of Show, also claimed the best presented prize.

“I wasn’t going to enter Soe in the class because I thought the day had already been a bit long but we did a late entry and it paid off,” said Puketapu.

“There were a lot of firsts for us today. I didn’t expect that at all.”

Six-year-old HSP Soe was imported from Puketapu’s homeland of Germany two years ago.

She hadn’t done any dressage but last year was reserve champion level 2 at the Horse of the Year Show and also won the level 2 musical freestyle national series.

Puketapu knew the mare was special the moment she saw her.

“When I went to try horses she caught my eye and my heart and just snuggled right into me,” she said. “We had an immediate connection.”

Puketapu said she had “total respect” for the field which included some well-performed combinations.

She was also rapt with her second place aboard RM Limbo.

“He has come on hugely.”

She and husband Steven live on a 32-acre block in Matokitoki Valley and have 10 horses.

Steven had never sat on a horse when he met his wife five years ago. Now the couple hunt, hack and beach ride together.

Puketapu knew Chrissie Beatson but not well, but she knows her mother Shirley Hyland.

“This was a wonderful opportunity to show our appreciation for what they have both done for the sport,” she said.

An emotional Hyland presented Puketapu with her winnings, including a beautiful handmade garland.

“It is just amazing,” she said of the memorial class dedicated to her late daughter.

“I want to thank the committee for putting this class on and the riders, too. There were some very nice performances there and the horses were a real credit to them.”

A good number of people gathered to watch the class that acknowledges the huge contribution Beatson made to equestrian sport before her death at the age of 64 last November.

LAST MINUTE SUCCESS: Henrike Puketapu, winner of the inaugural Christine Beatson Memorial Equitation class, aboard HSP Soe. Shirley Hyland, mother of the late Christine Beatson, presented Puketapu with her winnings. She was joined by Christine’s brother Barry Hyland (left) and his wife Maureen, and Christine’s son Andrew Beatson (right) and his partner Fran Callanan. Picture by Paul Rickard