By Diana Dobson

Dannie Lodder is hoping her magnificent Moochi has shaken a recent bug and will come out all guns blazing to defend their title at the 2014 BNZ Kihikihi International Horse Trial next weekend. The 38-year-old mother of two notched the win of her career when they took the 2013 CIC3* title at Kihikihi.

“This event is a favourite in New Zealand for me,” she says. “It’s always a typical John (Nicholson) track but what is nice is that you have to leave that start box and go like stink from the get-go.”

She’s been competing at Kihikihi forever, and never tires of the event, particularly the Nicholson-designed cross country. “It is one I never want to miss. I love John’s style. You walk a lot of his tracks and think the distances are long, but that’s because they are so attacking, they have to be a little longer. You need to be powering into the fences. If you ride weak, you won’t make it. You ride it how we all need to be riding cross country – John’s courses create a better rider.”

Lodder was forced to pull 11-year-old Moochi (owned by Petra Eatson and Lodder) up during the NRM Horse of the Year Show cross country in March, but a little cross country schooling run at Hunua this weekend has left her confident he is back on track.

“He felt a million dollars,” she said. “At HOY he just didn’t get running at all and wasn’t himself, so it’s good he has picked back up. He’s been flat for around six weeks – he had a bit of a cold but it didn’t really turn into anything, so he’s had plenty of iron of late.”
Moochi is a horse who loves to run and jump, and had everything been on song, Lodder had her eye on competing at Badminton.

“It was a tentative plan if everything was going perfectly, but that 100% isn’t easy with horses,” she said. “It is my dream to ride there.”

“I sold a horse years ago and went and groomed for him over there. When I walked that (Badminton) cross country course, I thought this is what I have to do! It’s something I want to tick off my bucket list.”

She feels Moochi could do it, but also has another in the wings in Waitangi Icon (owned by Joss Bayly) that looks like “he could fill some shoes”.

She plans to start Moochi in the CIC3*, Waitangi Icon in the CIC2*, Waitangi Hotmail (owned by Joss Bayly) in the CIC1* and Hawk Noir (owned by Carolyn Jolley) and her own Secret Trick in the pre novice.

Lodder, who is based at Ararimu, is a full time rider and mum, and it looks as though she’s successfully passed on not just her love of horses, but also a fair dollop of talent.

Seven-year-old Scout is her shadow at events – especially now that she’s out riding them herself. Scout won an intro one day event recently at Woodhill.“She was the youngest by miles and just blitzed it on her brilliant little pony – there’s no holding her back now!”. Scout helps out mum and “fab” groom Tess Anderson whenever she can, hacking horses, schooling in the arena and even walking courses. Her tips are simple on the cross country - “just jump it mum, Moochi can do it”.

“Nothing is ever too big for her and she is so positive about it all!”. Chances are, there will be another Lodder name etched on the three star trophy in the not too distant future.

Date Added: Monday, 7th April 2014