Out of This World For 2* Leader

 Out of This World For 2* Leader
CAPTION: Amanda Pottinger and Achilles II coming into the first water hazard. Photo by Diana Dobson/The Black Balloon

Amanda Pottinger is buzzing at the efforts of her eight-year-old former racehorse Just Kidding.
The combination sit at the top of the Prestige Equestrian CIC2* field on 43.8 penalty points, with Clarke Johnstone (Matangi) and Orient Express just behind on 49.7, and Pottinger third on Achilles II on 52.7.
The 23-year-old, who recently moved to Hawke's Bay to work as a business assistant and analyst for the Bell Group of Dairy Farms puts a lot of her success down to four months spent offshore last year.
She headed to the yards of Sir Mark Todd, Lucy Jackson and Pippa Funnell, and also attended the World Champs, four star events Luhmuhlen and Burghley, and also Aachen.
“I learnt so much over there,” said Pottinger, who is on the Equestrian Sports New Zealand Talent Development Squad. “Just walking courses with those high performance riders really helps.”
After four months she was chomping to get home to put all her new-found information and experience to work on her own horses.
“Pippa really got me going on the flat and I feel I have pulled my dressage up.”
And it showed at Kihikihi, leading on Just Kidding after the dressage phase.
“It was a very pleasant surprise to be leading the dressage after the first day, and to still be in front after that tough cross country is just amazing,” she says. “It is unbelievable actually . . . he just gets better and better, and this is only his first season at this level.”
Pottinger says the horse, who she got at five, has an extremely cheeky side . . . some would say naughty, but she has put together a very careful management plan to calm and relax him before his dressage.
Twelve-year-old Achilles also came from the track, and was Pottinger's first hack. He has taken her through the grades, and to her first 3* last season. This is his third time at Kihikihi, and after a rather challenging six months with the horse, she opted to drop him back a level to build his confidence again.
“I thought today's cross country was going to be a big ask for Just Kidding. My plan was to take the option at the corner, but Achilles gave me so much confidence, we just went for it.”
She worried an extra stride at the last water would cost her time, but she actually finished a second under the time allowed.
Her best result at Kihikihi before was fourth in the 2* . . . and she's hoping to go a few better this time round.
“I am glad I have a rail in hand with Clarke right behind me. Showjumping is not Just Kidding's strongest phase, but he has been improving so much, so I hope for the best,” she says. “He is such a trier . . . after today, anything is a bonus. He has proven himself and I know I have quite a cool horse once he has some more experience.”
She loves having Johnstone there to push her along.
“Having him in there makes you lift your game . . . he sets the bar and if I want to be the best, I know I have to beat him.”

Prestige Equestrian CIC2*: Amanda Pottinger (Hawke's Bay) Just Kidding 43.8 1, Clarke Johnstone (Matangi) Orient Express 49.7 2, Amanda Pottinger (Hawke's Bay) Achilles II 52.7 3, Sarah Dalziell (Wairarapa) Benrose Super Star 53.7 4, Donna Smith (Te Kauwhata) Mr Hokey Pokey 59.3 5, Sarah Young (Tokoroa) Regal Romar 60.9 6.


Date Added: Saturday, 11th April 2015