The Autumn MET I 2019 is in its final week of competition, and on Wednesday the 5, 6 and 7-year-old horses took centre stage as their respective finals got underway.
In the 1.40m final for the 7-year-old horses presented by Kingsland, it was in-form Cameron Hanley (IRL) that took the win aboard the grey KWPN mare Hakuna Matata (Corland x Jimtown). The Irish rider was a little over a second faster than runner-up Janne Friederike Meyer-Zimmermann (GER) on Messi Van ‘T Ruytershof (Plot Blue x For Pleasure), then followed Katharina Offel (GER) in third with Nicolo (Namelus R x Lancer II) – 0.55 seconds behind her female compatriot.
“I was early to go, and was luckily able to see Kathi who was just before me,” Hanley explained about his jump-off. “Her horse has a big stride too, just like mine and she was able to do eight strides from fence one to two. That made up my mind that I could do the same thing as well as eight strides to the double – both one stride less.”
“My mare is naturally very quick, and she is careful so I don’t need to slow down in front of the jump which means I can keep going and she watches the poles,” Hanley said about the mare that he has had since she was five. “She is a little bit green, which is why I brought her here to Oliva. It is ideal for her to finish her season here, this was one of her first 1.40m classes so I am delighted with her. I did not do too much with her during the summer, and this was a great way to finish the year with her at this level.”
“Hakuna Matata is a really nice mare, I think she is going to win a lot in the future – hopefully I’ll be able to win a few more classes with her before she’s sold to a customer who will win even more,” Hanley smiled when talking about his victorious partner that also twice finished second in Wednesday’s 7-year-old jump-off classes during Autumn MET I.
Hanley finds the Mediterranean Equestrian Tour the perfect place to educate the younger generation. “It’s ideal to be here at the Autumn MET, as my oldest horses are eight. The big classes here – the 1.45m and 1.50m – are the perfect level for them. I’ve been lucky to have some good placings with them, but the main reason I came here was to continue the development of those horses and to educate them. The course building is excellent here, the facilities are excellent – it’s just a really nice place to be,” Hanley said.
“My wife is here, as well as my son and daughter. My son is also riding here, so it’s great. It’s rare that we can all do it together, but this place is great for that – and on the days off we can all go to the beach and have a nice time. It’s really the best of both worlds,” Hanley said.