Near-perfect start for Merran Hain and Untouchable

'This is the No.1 show in the North Island without a doubt'

'This is the No.1 show in the North Island without a doubt'

Show - Merran Hain

The Poverty Bay A&P Show got off to a near-perfect start for longtime competitor Merran Hain, QSM, yesterday. Her history with the Show goes back decades, more than she cares to count, although the grandmother of eight will admit her first competition in any show was at Gisborne in the under-nine girl rider class.

“I didn’t win it though,” she says in her usual forthright manner. “Peggy Milligan did.”

However, yesterday she was reserve champion saddle hunter with Untouchable. She also had a few other placings, despite Untouchable being “terrible” first thing in the morning.

“It’s not all paces and manners, but also conformation,” she says.

And no one would say her 17-year-old horse doesn’t look spectacular.

Hain’s commitment to equestrian has been honoured with the presentation of the Pilmer Plate — Equestrian Sports New Zealand’s volunteer lifetime award. The Pilmer Plate used to be awarded to the winner of the puissance — high jump for horses — at the Horse of the Year Show. However, in 1995 it became a much-honoured presentation for those displaying the highest ideals of good sportsmanship.

While a person can generally win this award only once, Hain has won it twice, first as the owner of Justice, who was ridden to victory in the puissance in 1970 by Stuart Mitchell.

“I am the first person to have done that,” says Hain.

But then, Hain has always been a history-maker. She remains the only rider to have represented New Zealand in all three Olympic disciplines — dressage, eventing and showjumping. She has won all the major Horse of the Year titles and many national accolades. She also holds the honour of having ridden more horses in more competitions than any other rider.

As a generous volunteer, she has also held many roles within ESNZ, including those of area delegate, selector, show hunter judge and course builder. In 2014 she was inducted into the Horse of the Year Hall of Fame and is also an honorary life member of ESNZ. Some seasons she clocks up huge numbers of kilometres travelling to shows, but Gisborne remains her favourite.

“This is the No.1 show in the North Island . . . without a doubt,” she says. “It is diverse, the people are great and the locals support it.”

Hain and Untouchable will also compete in show hunter, working hunter and showjumping classes.

“Today (Thursday) is the busiest day of the show for me but the other two are pretty good,” she says. “I am happy to take what I get. I consider everything to be lucky.”

Her daughter Diana helped her plait the horse but Hain was largely on her own for this show.

“They’ve left me because they want me to give it up,” says Hain, with a cheeky grin.

But as she prepares for her next class and has a quiet word to Untouchable, you know that’s unlikely to happen any time soon.

The Poverty Bay A&P Show got off to a near-perfect start for longtime competitor Merran Hain, QSM, yesterday. Her history with the Show goes back decades, more than she cares to count, although the grandmother of eight will admit her first competition in any show was at Gisborne in the under-nine girl rider class.

“I didn’t win it though,” she says in her usual forthright manner. “Peggy Milligan did.”

However, yesterday she was reserve champion saddle hunter with Untouchable. She also had a few other placings, despite Untouchable being “terrible” first thing in the morning.

“It’s not all paces and manners, but also conformation,” she says.

And no one would say her 17-year-old horse doesn’t look spectacular.

Hain’s commitment to equestrian has been honoured with the presentation of the Pilmer Plate — Equestrian Sports New Zealand’s volunteer lifetime award. The Pilmer Plate used to be awarded to the winner of the puissance — high jump for horses — at the Horse of the Year Show. However, in 1995 it became a much-honoured presentation for those displaying the highest ideals of good sportsmanship.

While a person can generally win this award only once, Hain has won it twice, first as the owner of Justice, who was ridden to victory in the puissance in 1970 by Stuart Mitchell.

“I am the first person to have done that,” says Hain.

But then, Hain has always been a history-maker. She remains the only rider to have represented New Zealand in all three Olympic disciplines — dressage, eventing and showjumping. She has won all the major Horse of the Year titles and many national accolades. She also holds the honour of having ridden more horses in more competitions than any other rider.

As a generous volunteer, she has also held many roles within ESNZ, including those of area delegate, selector, show hunter judge and course builder. In 2014 she was inducted into the Horse of the Year Hall of Fame and is also an honorary life member of ESNZ. Some seasons she clocks up huge numbers of kilometres travelling to shows, but Gisborne remains her favourite.

“This is the No.1 show in the North Island . . . without a doubt,” she says. “It is diverse, the people are great and the locals support it.”

Hain and Untouchable will also compete in show hunter, working hunter and showjumping classes.

“Today (Thursday) is the busiest day of the show for me but the other two are pretty good,” she says. “I am happy to take what I get. I consider everything to be lucky.”

Her daughter Diana helped her plait the horse but Hain was largely on her own for this show.

“They’ve left me because they want me to give it up,” says Hain, with a cheeky grin.

But as she prepares for her next class and has a quiet word to Untouchable, you know that’s unlikely to happen any time soon.

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