Dontaye Davis with his mare Queen of Hearts at the Wade Equine Coaches Hamilton Horse Trial 26-27 September 2020. Photo credit: Jane Thompson

At the recent Wade Equine Spring Horse Trial hosted by Waikato Equestrian Centre Eventing group, there was a huge array of over 200 competitors, from the very seasoned to the very new.  Classes ranged from the Garrard’s Horse & Hound CCN65 class through to the Wade Equine Coaches’ CCN2* Plus.


Competitors were buzzing with the enjoyment of being out, and for so many of them it was their first event for a long time.  For others it was their first ESNZ event ever.  One of these was 15-year-old Dontaye Davis, who had travelled down from Warkworth for this event.


Dontaye had travelled down on Friday, and was camping on the grounds.  He was keen to gain more knowledge about eventing and gaining experience at this level was important.  “I am competing in the 65cm class,” he said.  “I go to Matakana Pony Club and the head coach is Kim Beasley who is my aunty.”  Kim accompanied Dontaye to the event and was on hand to help out wherever needed with his first experience at this level.


Queen of Hearts is the name of Dontaye’s horse.  “She is a mare, and is 16 years old – a year older than me,” he said proudly.  “She is a Clydey crossed with appaloosa.  She has done a bit of eventing before, and she much prefers cross country.”  Dontaye was also proud of the fact that both he and his horse were both Northlanders.  “We’re Ngapuhi, both of us,” he said.


Dontaye also had a good friend competing at the event, also from Warkworth.  “Alec Webb and I even look alike so we call ourselves twins but we are not related.” 


The rules and regulations that are involved in the sport did not daunt Dontaye.  “I have read them all and think I know what I am doing,” he said.


As to the competition, the first day was a great start for the pair.  “Dressage went well, we did have a little fumble, but other than that it was fine. Show jumping went well.  I am looking forward to cross country”  His dressage score was very competitive, putting him in fifth place.  The pair then jumped a clear show jumping, and they moved up into third place, with the cross country to come on Sunday.


Unfortunately for Dontaye and Queen of Hearts, they will have to wait another day for their first experience of cross country at an ESNZ event.  Queen of Hearts became lame and they had to withdraw from the event before the cross country.  So Dontaye’s experience was one that so many go through, being on a high from two good phases, and then the disappointment of not being able to finish the competition. 


We hope that he will be back soon and have better luck next time. 


By Jane Thompson