NZ Horse & Pony - - Special Feature -

It’s hard to imag­ine a busier cou­ple than event rid­ers Tom and Chris­ten Lane, who mar­ried a year ago. e dy­namic duo live at Pa­tuma­hoe near Pukekohe, where Chris­ten (29) runs her own busi­ness, Belle­wood Eques­trian. Lay­wer Tom (32) is sole le­gal coun­sel for Lion Beer, Spir­its and Wines New Zealand, which is based in cen­tral Auckland. Tom is on the board of Su­per Liquor Holdings, and the cou­ple are also in part­ner­ship with Tom’s mother Chris Perkins on a 60-acre prop­erty in nearby Waiuku where Tom tries his hand at be­ing ‘a Queen St farmer.'

e cou­ple has 12 horses in work at the moment, rang­ing from re­cently bro­ken-in horses Chris­ten has bred through to her cur­rent top horse un­der Cat. Tom has two horses, a young Anamour bred by Henton Lodge Hanove­ri­ans, and a Pre-novice called Sta­tion­mas­ter – though Chris­ten says she seems to do most of the work on them! Both rid­ers have been very suc­cess­ful, with Chris­ten a past win­ner of the Na­tional One-day Ad­vanced Champs and Puhinui CCI3* with Tan­darra Sweet As.

e cou­ple met at the Taupo ree-day event many years ago, and when she moved to Auckland from Otago in 2010, they were at­mates for a cou­ple of years and be­came rm friends.

At a party about four years ago, Tom jok­ingly in­tro­duced Chris­ten to some of his col­leagues as his an­cée. “And just un­der a year later, he pro­posed to me on a desert is­land in Van­u­atu,” says Chris­ten.

Un­like the other cou­ples in our story, Tom and Chris­ten de­scribe their ap­proach to horses as ‘com­ple­men­tary’. ey like di er­ent types of horses and there are some things they don’t al­ways see eye-to-eye on. “Like which sized studs should go in – if any! But over­all, we do share the same ap­proach to horse man­age­ment,” says Chris­ten.

For Tom, hav­ing a wife who rides is the only way he is able to keep com­pet­ing while work­ing in such a de­mand­ing role. “Chris­ten does an amaz­ing job of keep­ing the horses go­ing, and both of us rid­ing makes spend­ing time to­gether much eas­ier than if we had to sched­ule time in oth­er­wise en­tirely sep­a­rate lives. When it comes to my horses, Chris­ten ex­er­cises, schools, feeds… I’m not sure how much help I am to her with the horses, but when I can, I’m her eyes on the ground. My main role is grounds­man and truck driver.”

Tom jokes that whether they can o er each other rid­ing ad­vice de­pends on the time and the day! “Deep down I know that what Chris­ten is telling me is right, but in

the heat of the moment it can be dif­fi­cult to ac­knowl­edge. Like­wise, I know I need to be care­ful about when I of­fer un­so­licited ad­vice.”

Chris­ten agrees: “I have been seen show­ing ‘con­struc­tive crit­i­cism’ in the form of yelling from the side­line on are happy to stick to their own.

“Chris­ten is def­i­nitely the bet­ter rider of the two of us, so I’ve got no prob­lem leav­ing the good horses (who are al­most al­ways the tricky horses) to her,” says Tom.

Chris­ten says: “Tom likes the smaller, quick-think­ing thor­ough­bred types; I have although they do both like to win, even on the ba­bies. “Tom is ridicu­lously com­pet­i­tive,” says Chris­ten. “I think it’s the lawyer in him, so I try not to take it too se­ri­ously!”

Nei­ther Tom nor Chris­ten re­ally has hob­bies out­side the horses and the farm, and they are so of­ten apart that time to­gether is very pre­cious.

Nei­ther can think of any down­sides to hav­ing a part­ner who also events, although Chris­ten does say that with Tom hav­ing two com­pe­ti­tion horses now it’s go­ing to be dif­fi­cult to de­cide which horses get a space on their five-horse truck! As for Tom, the only neg­a­tive as­pect of their life­style is a long daily com­mute to and from town.

“Lawyer­ing and rid­ing are both pretty all-con­sum­ing, so if I hadn’t mar­ried a rider, I’d prob­a­bly have mar­ried a lawyer. Think how bor­ing din­ner-ta­ble con­ver­sa­tions be­tween two lawyers would have been!” he con­cludes. ■

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