A 50 year old Taranaki dairy farmer has showed the young guns how to do it at Puhinui International 3 day event.  Matthew Grayling on Henton Executive had a decisive victory in the Honda New Zealand CCI3* in difficult conditions. The pair had to jump their showjumping conditions in the heaviest of showers on the day but incurred only 4 faults for an unusual refusal.

Grayling, who has only been riding the horse since September this year, was delighted with the win, saying it was “difficult to get these wins and great to get this result.”   This is their first outing at the highest level of competition available in New Zealand.   “We have bonded a lot more in the last four weeks, he was standoffish with me at first.  Now he is a pleasure to have around and now follows me around.   I’ve even got the cows in on him a few times.”   The “Grayling way” is to allow a horse to be a horse, and now Henton Executive, known at home as Eric, has become a horse that does everything, and thus fitting into the system the Grayling family use.


Aucklander Dannie Lodder riding her family favourite horse, Moochi, had regrets about her mistake on the cross country which cost her the win.  “I made a big mistake yesterday.  Second is good, but first is a lot better.”    She still has big goals for Moochi.   “I’d love to do a four star.  If I could do Badminton, I’d die happy.”

Kelsey Rothery from Cambridge with her horse The Felon finished in third place.   The young rider was delighted with her achievement at her first attempt at a competition at this level.   She will now aim the horse at Kihikihi and then Taupo but first she’s going to take her horse on beach holiday to her home town of Kawhia.  Kelsey, like so many riders, was full of praise for the course, built by Tich Massey.   “The cross country rode well, Tich build a great course.”

Nadine Bell, the Marketing Manager from Honda NZ who sponsored the CCI3* was full of praise for the event.  “We are very proud to be involved.  It’s a fantastic event and eventing is a great sport, we think this is a great way of giving back to New Zealand, as horses are a big part of the New Zealand culture.

 The Cato Packaging CCI2* was lead from start to finish by Donna Smith on Balmoral Sensation.   Did this create any extra pressure?   “I strive on pressure, I need it or else I’d be yawning and sleeping in the truck park,” said Donna.

Samantha Felton moved from 5th to 4th to 2nd on Ricker Ridge Pico Bo.  Sam had three horses in the class.   “I always knew this was going to be a big weekend, I’ve never done it before.  I’ve had this horse since he was 3 so I know all the tricks he has.” 

Clarke Johnstone was third in the event on Sam Taylor’s Leo Degas.  The horse will now go back to Taylor who will compete on him in the autumn.   Johnstone has spent the last 3 weeks getting to know him and while he said he made a few mistakes in the dressage, he was very pleased with him. Johnstone now heads to an exhibition eventing competition in Perth, Australia.

 In the Veterinary Associates CCI* Simone Kann took the win on her lovely chestnut mare Balmoral Oakey.   She praised her partner, Donna Smith for giving her sound advice on where to ride the showjumping jumps, with the going being a little difficult.   Her biggest challenge now she thinks is keeping Donna from “stealing her ride.”

Jessica Woods on LV Award was second and well pleased with her horse, one with potential for the future.   “He’s a keeper”   Sarah Young was the big mover in the class, moving from 15thafter the dressage to 9th after the cross country to finish third overall.  She said she was “quite shocked.”  “I love this little horse and I have trained him all myself.  I just had to keep cool and let him do his job.”   Both Woods and Young are aiming at the Trans Tasman young rider team in Australia next year.

 This was the last competition on the New Zealand eventing calendar for 2013 and has been a fabulous event with some very popular and well deserved wins. 

Final Results

Honda New Zealand CCI***

Matthew Grayling, Henton Executive, 61.6

Dannie Lodder, Moochi, 79.2

Kelsey Rothery, The Felon, 82.6

Brent Jury, SE Big, 87.4


Cato Packaging CCI**

Donna Smith, Balmoral Sensation, 42.1

Samantha Felton, Ricker Ridge Pico Boo, 48.9

Clarke Johnstone, Leo Degas, 51.4


Veterinary Associates CCI*

Simone Kann, Balmoral Oakley, 45.6

Jessica Woods, LV Award, 49.4

Sarah Young, SS Galaxy, 53.1


Live scoreboard and list of entries can be found on