It was an emotional Brooke Edgecombe who said today was the day she finally believed she could do it . . . and the winner of the biggest class at the Land Rover Horse of the Year was right.
It is the second time the Olympic Cup has gone to the Edgecombe household with husband Oliver winning it in 2007. The Werner Deeg-designed course quickly cut the 21-strong field to 10 after the opening round thanks to a few troublesome fences, including the unlucky last. Brooke and LT Holst Andrea notched the first clear early on, followed 10 combinations later by Tegan Fitzsimon (West Melton) aboard Windermere Cappuccino and then Melody Matheson (Hastings) on Cortaflex Graffiti MH just three from the end. Coming through with them were seven on four faults. In the second just three left all the rails up – 17-year-old Annabel Francis (Taupo) and Carado GHP added nothing to their four fault tally to finish on four while Melody and Brooke kept their slate clean. Tegan had an unfortunate rail at the first of the double also leaving her on four penalties from the two rounds.
It was a head-to-head jump-off between Brooke and Melody. First out was Brooke and her 11-year-old Holsteiner mare who had a few moments during the jump off but everything stayed in place and she flew through the flags all clear in 50.53 seconds.
Melody nudged the first aboard her nine-year-old Hanoverian Cortaflex Graffiti MH and was cracking along until she had a rail and opted to retire giving Brooke the win with Tegan third and Annabel fourth. Last year Melody was second, Tegan third and Brooke fourth.
“She was just amazing,” said Brooke of her mare, who is by Casall out of Palaune. “I just wanted to try and go clear. We are not the fastest and I knew Mel was to follow.”
Brooke has only ridden in the Olympic Cup a handful of times. “The only other title I have won here is the Pro-Am and that was a long time ago.”
Their build-up through to the World Cup Final in Dannevirke in early January was excellent and they won that and were second in the series. HOY had come on the back of two tough weeks at Takapoto Estate Show Jumping. “Andrea never did anything bad, we just had a rail here and there.”
But it all came right today. She had plenty of praise for Werner’s courses describing them as encouraging, nice, flowing tracks that were lovely to ride. It was a very strong class and they are all amazing riders in there. I just had the luck today,” said Brooke. “This gives me a huge boost. In the back of your mind you always hope you can do it but with a class like this all the stars have to line up . . . and they did today.”
Oliver warmed her up for the class and as Brooke walked into the ring he simply said “you can do it”. “And I thought, ‘I can’. It is amazing and it is what everyone dreams of.”
Brooke co-owns the horse with Ewen McIntosh who imported the horse from Germany. “She was mediocre as a young horse. Oliver started the ride and he didn’t like her,” says Brooke. The horse was sent to be sold but came back to the Edgecombes and Brooke reluctantly took the ride. It wasn’t until half way through her seven-year-old year that the penny finally dropped. “She goes from strength to strength. She is 100% careful, brave and honest.”
Brooke extended a huge thanks to her husband Oliver, groom Hanna Cheape, Vicki Wilson who had done a lot of body work on Andrea, and her trainer Jeff McVean.
Stirrups Equestrian Olympic Cup: Brooke Edgecombe (Waipukurau) LT Holst Andrea 1, Melody Matheson (Hastings) Cortaflex Graffiti MH 2, Tegan Fitzsimon (West Melton) Windermere Cappuccino 3, Annabel Francis (Taupo) Carado GHP 4, Kimberley Bird (Ashburton) Cera Cassina 5, Emelia Forsyth (Clevedon) Henton Faberge 6, Drew Carson (Putaruru) Winston V Driene 7, Lucinda Askin (Ashburton) Portofino 8, Todd Magner (Lincoln) Awatuna Jonesy 9, Sarah West (Matamata) Oaks Centurian 10.
By Diana Dobson
15 March 2020