PRECIOUS TIME TOGETHER
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. ■