Chelsey thrills home crowd
By Colin Thorsen
Te Awamutu 19-year-old equestrian Chelsey Hawthorn was in scintillating form in the FEI Eventing World Cup Qualifier at Kihikihi over the weekend.
Chelsey finished runner-up to defending champion Matthew Grayling in a star-studded line-up. She and mount, Look At That, blitzed the challenging and creative crosscountry course on Saturday and her clear round had the large crowd in raptures.
They were the first combination to tackle the narrow ‘Honey pots’ jump - one of the more daunting jumps on the course.
"You’d have to be sure of your horse to take on that jump,” said former editor of New Zealand Horse and Pony, Joan Gilchrist.
Chelsey’s bold bid saw her leap from 12th after the dressage into second place. She and Grayling both went clear on the cross-country, but Chelsey only picked up five time faults while Grayling had 17.
But while the 2004 champion went clear in the showjumping, Chelsey and Look At That knocked one rail down.
Chelsey rated her effort to finish second alongside previous top performances that saw her take out the New Zealand Young Rider Championships in 2003 in Wellington. She also won the New Zealand Young Rider at Puhinui International three dayer in December. Her second at Kihikihi has consolidated her lead on the New Zealand Eventing Leaderboard.