‘I can’t believe it’ was Tess Clark's reaction to NZ team selection

Pleasant surprise: Tess Clark says the call to tell her she had made the New Zealand showjumping team to take on an Australian combination at the Horse of the Year Show next week came "out of the blue". Picture by Paul Rickard

Gisborne showjumper Tess Clark is ecstatic to have been included in the New Zealand senior team to take on the Aussies at next week’s Horse of the Year Show in Hastings.

The 28-year-old has had a strong season aboard Sinatra II but says the call to tell her she had made the team came out of the blue.

“I couldn’t believe it.”

Clark has ridden a lot for New Zealand at young rider and pony levels. She earned a trip to the prestigious Spruce Meadows in Canada at just 13 years of age.

This season, Clark and Sinatra II started in five FEI World Cup New Zealand League events and their results ranged from two fourth placings to a seventh.

They were fourth in the final, held at the Woodhill Sands in Auckland as part of the World Cup Festival, and seventh-equal in the series won by Cantabrian Rose Alfeld and My Super Nova.

“Those are pretty meaty tracks, so our placings in the World Cup classes were certainly highlights of the season,” she said.

Sinatra II is still part-owned by his breeder, Gordon McKay. The 13-year-old Hanoverian gelding is by Senator VDL and has been with Clark since he was three.

“It is so rewarding to enjoy success like this aboard a horse I have brought right through,” she said.

Sinatra II 'really only came into his own this season'

“He has had a pretty straightforward career but really only came into his own this season.

“He can be a bit tough and very keen at practice but we know each other well, so he isn’t a difficult ride for me.”

She is quick to give credit to her parents Chris and Kaye Williams, cousin Trudi Mitchell, and Rick and Miggles Shanks, who own her second mount (Cadbury) and on whose farm she has kept Sinatra II this season.

“I think the farm riding we have been able to do at the Shankses’ has helped Pinky (Sinatra II) a lot with his fitness this season,” she said.

“You can’t do this without a lot of support. I have had a great team around me this year.”

As an equine and canine massage therapist, Clark travels all over the North Island, but it pales into insignificance when compared with the distance she covers getting to and from shows.

“I would hate to think how many kilometres we do in a season,” she said.

Other team members include Lily Tootill, Melody Matheson, Maurice Beatson and Robert Steele

Joining her in the New Zealand team are Olympic Cup (Showjumper of the Year) holder Lily Tootill (Karaka) and Ulysses NZPH, Melody Matheson (Havelock North) and Graffiti MH, and Maurice Beatson (Dannevirke) and Mandalay Cove. Robert Steele (Dannevirke) and LT Holst Bernadette are the reserve combination, with John Cottle the chef d’equipe.

The Australian team comprise Stuart Jenkins and Fairview Aliquidam, Brooke Langbecker and Quintago I, Hayden James and James Continue, and Clint Beresford and Emmaville Jitterbug.

“They will be very tough to beat,” Clark said.

The Aussies recently competed at the $70,000 Takapoto Estate Show in Cambridge, where they finished second, third and fourth behind winner Beatson in the Gold Tour Horse Grand Prix.

The test will be part of the Silver Fern Stakes at the Horse of the Year Show on Friday (March 16) night.

There are 25 classy combinations on the card for the 1.4 metre-to-1.5m Stakes class.

Clark will also ride Sinatra II in the Norwood Gold Cup and the prestigious Olympic Cup, and will compete on Cadbury in other classes.

Gisborne showjumper Tess Clark is ecstatic to have been included in the New Zealand senior team to take on the Aussies at next week’s Horse of the Year Show in Hastings.

The 28-year-old has had a strong season aboard Sinatra II but says the call to tell her she had made the team came out of the blue.

“I couldn’t believe it.”

Clark has ridden a lot for New Zealand at young rider and pony levels. She earned a trip to the prestigious Spruce Meadows in Canada at just 13 years of age.

This season, Clark and Sinatra II started in five FEI World Cup New Zealand League events and their results ranged from two fourth placings to a seventh.

They were fourth in the final, held at the Woodhill Sands in Auckland as part of the World Cup Festival, and seventh-equal in the series won by Cantabrian Rose Alfeld and My Super Nova.

“Those are pretty meaty tracks, so our placings in the World Cup classes were certainly highlights of the season,” she said.

Sinatra II is still part-owned by his breeder, Gordon McKay. The 13-year-old Hanoverian gelding is by Senator VDL and has been with Clark since he was three.

“It is so rewarding to enjoy success like this aboard a horse I have brought right through,” she said.

Sinatra II 'really only came into his own this season'

“He has had a pretty straightforward career but really only came into his own this season.

“He can be a bit tough and very keen at practice but we know each other well, so he isn’t a difficult ride for me.”

She is quick to give credit to her parents Chris and Kaye Williams, cousin Trudi Mitchell, and Rick and Miggles Shanks, who own her second mount (Cadbury) and on whose farm she has kept Sinatra II this season.

“I think the farm riding we have been able to do at the Shankses’ has helped Pinky (Sinatra II) a lot with his fitness this season,” she said.

“You can’t do this without a lot of support. I have had a great team around me this year.”

As an equine and canine massage therapist, Clark travels all over the North Island, but it pales into insignificance when compared with the distance she covers getting to and from shows.

“I would hate to think how many kilometres we do in a season,” she said.

Other team members include Lily Tootill, Melody Matheson, Maurice Beatson and Robert Steele

Joining her in the New Zealand team are Olympic Cup (Showjumper of the Year) holder Lily Tootill (Karaka) and Ulysses NZPH, Melody Matheson (Havelock North) and Graffiti MH, and Maurice Beatson (Dannevirke) and Mandalay Cove. Robert Steele (Dannevirke) and LT Holst Bernadette are the reserve combination, with John Cottle the chef d’equipe.

The Australian team comprise Stuart Jenkins and Fairview Aliquidam, Brooke Langbecker and Quintago I, Hayden James and James Continue, and Clint Beresford and Emmaville Jitterbug.

“They will be very tough to beat,” Clark said.

The Aussies recently competed at the $70,000 Takapoto Estate Show in Cambridge, where they finished second, third and fourth behind winner Beatson in the Gold Tour Horse Grand Prix.

The test will be part of the Silver Fern Stakes at the Horse of the Year Show on Friday (March 16) night.

There are 25 classy combinations on the card for the 1.4 metre-to-1.5m Stakes class.

Clark will also ride Sinatra II in the Norwood Gold Cup and the prestigious Olympic Cup, and will compete on Cadbury in other classes.

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