Merran Hain wins the Open Highpoints series on Untouchable, Horse of the Year 2020, HB A&P Showgrounds, Hastings, Hawke’s Bay, Wednesday, March 11, 2020 Credit: KAMPIC / Sarah Lord

Merran Hain’s name is etched on all of the nation’s top trophies, but this year she notched a first, taking out the NRM Open Show Hunter High Points.

“I set myself a target,” said the Gisborne grandmother of eight who is the only rider to have represented New Zealand at senior level in all three Olympic disciplines of showjumping, dressage and eventing. “I hadn’t won the series before,” she said. “This year I have been to all sorts of places (chasing the series).”

Merran is a huge believer in show hunter. “It is most important,” she says. “The problem is that people don’t train and don’t do show hunter as a training ground. It really is the key to success . . . I think that is why I won the Olympic Cup on Tregonning. Beezie Madden and McLain Ward – they all do it. Show hunter teaches you a stride and how to do that so when you walk the course you know whether it is long or short and you ride the distance accordingly.”

She’s been doing show hunter “forever”. “It’s been a great season for the farmer and pleasure rider. Her partner in crime is 19-year-old Untouchable on whom she also won the TiES Show Hunter crown for the third consecutive time. Merran has had the horse since he was four and despite both their ages, she won’t buy into any talk of retirement.

“You never want to say it is a final season,” she says. “You should just go out gracefully.”

The final today was won by Grace Manera (Christchurch) aboard Toulou with Sally Ward (Waipukurau) aboard Paradox second and Georgia Allison (Oxford) on Hokey Pokey third.


Results –

NRM Open High Points Series: Merran Hain (Gisborne) Untouchable 66 points 1,

Jade McRae () Swayze 54 points 2,

Antonio Matangi (Levin) Shoeshine Polish 51 points 3, Georgia Allison (Oxford) Hokey Pokey 48 points 4,

Laura Van Velthooven (Palmerston North) Montbelle Donohue 30 points 5,

Katie Meredith () Whole Hearted and

Emily Twort (Henderson) Cameo KSNZ 29 points =6.


NRM Open High Points Final: Grace Manera (Christchurch) Toulou 1, Sally Ward (Waipukurau) Paradox 2, Georgia Allison (Oxford) Hokey Pokey 3, Vanessa Veart-Smith (Ahuroa) The Notorious Fez 4, Samantha Maguire (Te Kohanga) Starlight Deanna 5, Macey Gill (Auckland) Astin Martin II 6.


By Diana Dobson

11 March 2020