Masterton is going to be full of pony clubbers next week! The 2018 NZPCA Eventing Championships is being held in Masterton with the dressage on Thursday at Solway Showgrounds, cross-country on Friday in Clareville and show jumping Saturday back at Solway. It follows on from the Mounted Games Championships held on Tuesday and Wednesday at Solway, so it is a huge week in the Pony Club calendar.
For two-star eventer Beth Wilson, of Franklin-Thames Valley, the eventing champs is a big thing for her, and this will be her fifth appearance at the competition. She’s heading to Masterton with the goal of doing well both from a team perspective and individual, riding Alto au Audax. Last year when the champs were held at Whangarei, she and ‘Toy’ were second in the A1 section, dropping one rail to give Gemma Hampson and Pintado Prima Rosa the win. The pair won the DC section the year before, when they travelled to Canterbury for Champs.
“It would be nice to win, but it would be even better if the team does well,” said Beth. She is the only AI rider in her team, so posting a good score will be important to her. “I was going to take my one-star horse, but as I am the only AI rider, I am taking my good horse.
“I really enjoy the champs, it’s a great event. The tracks are of a good standard, and it is great fun.”
The main reason Beth incorporates the event into her busy calendar is so that she can get some team experience. “At the Olympics, you are in a team, and you don’t get many opportunities to get that experience in a team, except for pony club.” And yes, Beth is aiming high, the Olympics are “in the plan!”
The Pony Club champs have proved good training grounds for plenty of New Zealand’s equestrian Olympians including previous champs title winners Kallista Field, Heelan Tompkins (who won three AI titles in a row) and show jumping’s Colin McIntosh and Maurice Beatson.
Another rider who will be notching up her fifth champs this year is 19-year-old Storm Harris. She and Jenny Bevege, another Champs veteran, will both be riding in the A1 section for the Waikato team, Storm on her trusty Irish Foxtrot.
Storm’s brother Clay is also on the Waikato team, which will be keen to add to its proud history at Champs. Waikato has won the teams trophy more than any other area – 12 times – followed by Taranaki (10) and Franklin-Thames Valley (9).
“I just love the champs, it’s my favourite event,” says Storm. “It’s the atmosphere, the team, and you get to meet so many people. The courses are always challenging too.”
It is a bit of a juggle for Storm to fit everything in, as she is in her second year at Waikato University where she is studying teaching.
Another AI rider entered in the class is the winner from 2016, Aiden Viviers, who is representing the host team, Wairarapa-Wellington.
Last year’s MT (95cm) winner, Francesca Masfen, is heading also back to the champs but will be in the DC’s this year, again representing Auckland.
Canterbury won the teams event last year, and have a strong line-up again this time. In 2017, the Cantabrians just pipped the 2016 winners, Nelson-Marlborough-West Coast, who are again making a big trek north to take part.
Joining from from the South Island are teams from Otago-Southland, and South Canterbury-North Otago. The other North Island teams taking part are Manawatu-West Coast, Taranaki, Northland, Bay of Plenty and Hawke’s Bay.
It has been a huge amount of work for the organisers (who perhaps are questioning their sanity at this stage of the event), but they are all ready for the action to commence.
“We are all set for the Championships and just waiting now for all the teams to arrive,” says Anna Cardno, secretary for both the eventing and the mounted games championships. “The tracks out at Clareville are looking good – Chris Lever courses are typically smart and technical, with a good dollop of challenges to ensure we don’t just put on a dressage competition.
“The commitment to get here is huge and Wairarapa is looking forward to making it worth their while.”
Including the mounted games riders, 160 combinations are expected to take part over the five days.
“It’s all new and exciting to be running the [mounted games and eventing] championships together this year. We may be a little mad! But it will be great for the riders to witness some of what happens ‘on the other side’, as eventers don’t often get to see the games riders at work, and vice versa. It’s a week of celebrating some of the best of our equestrian sports, not just a single code.”
The eventing champs began in 1956, and has a fine history and some famous names amongst previous winners (see the full list below). Before he famously teamed up with Mark Todd and went on to be a double Olympic champion, Charisma won the Perpetual Challenge Cup for the best DC dressage score in 1980, and the Knox Thompson Perpetual Challenge Cup for AI Dressage in 1981 and 1982, ridden by Sharon Dearden as part of the Canterbury team. The Fife girls feature prominently, and Lynley’s daughter Loran Mathis has continued on the family tradition winning as well.
Current top performers in three-star classes who have won at Champs include Samantha Felton and Renee Faulkner who won the AI and DC trophies the same year – 2011.
The AI Cup is open to 17-25-year-olds, and is jumped over heights of 1.10cm. The Dorothy Campbell (‘DC’) Trophy for 16 and under, and is up to heights of 1.05cm. The Sir Mark Todd Challenge Trophy (‘MT’) was introduced in 2010, and is for 14 and under and with heights at 95cm.
The team with the four lowest penalty scores wins, but there must be at least one MT, one DC and one A1 score counted, plus the next lowest score from one of the three divisions.
All A1 and DC winners are listed below:
|A1 Challenge Cup Winners||DC Trophy Winners|
|1954: M.M. Meredith, Yoeman|
|1955: Ron Cropp, Vanity Fair|
|1956: J P Chambers, Harbour Light||P Morris, Vanity Fair|
|1957: Judith Simons, View Halloo||Joan Kelly, Tinker|
|1958: Susan Talbot, Limonite||Diana Cunningham, Harvest Moon|
|1959: Beverley Reid, Chelsea||Stuart Mitchell, Comet|
|1960: Leslie Dunn, Hollyport||Kirsty McKenzie, Harmony|
|1961: Diana Cunningham, Harvest Moon||Jennifer Dunn, Sari|
|1962: Diana Cunningham, Harvest Moon||Kirsty McKenzie, Akbar|
|1963: Jennifer Dunn, Hollyport||Jane Wilson, Sir Winston|
|1964: Diana Dunn, Young Blaze||Anne Bartlett, Neptune|
|1965: Fraser Wilson, Rick||Sharon Mills, Monte Carlo|
|1966: Annette Baxter, Delmont Lad||Peter Gasson, Geronimo|
|1967: Annette Baxter, Delmont Lad||Christine Hyland, Sir Winston|
|1968: Carol Harrison, Cavalcade||Susan Coop, Gaiety|
|1969: Vaughan Wilson, Blue Jewel||Maurice Beatson, Golden Cloud|
|1970: Paul Dooney, Student Prince||Christine Hyland, Ali Baba|
|1971: Kaye Cottle, Echo||Kathy Otto, Touche|
|1972: Alister Robertson, Spider||Tony Harris, Dubonnet|
|1973: Alister Robertson, Spider||Nicoli Fife, Mexico|
|1974: Joy Cooper, Renovate||David Allardice, Zibib|
|1975: Jeanie Attrill, Safari||Marie Wilson, Arakai Lad|
|1976: Deborah Potvine, Charlie Brown||Lynley Fife, Tumbleweed|
|1977: Jenny Perkins, Troubadore||Stephanie Millward, Kallista|
|1978: Warwick Graham, Joe 90||Lynley Fife, Tomalin|
|1979: Hamish Cameron, Lucky Chance||Julie Finlayson, Shamrock|
|1980: Joanne Abram, Raszarda||Julie Finlayson, Shamrock|
|1981: Joanne Abram, Raszarda||Judith Charleston, High Rate|
|1982: Annabel Mossman, Kestrel||Alenka Cross, Sarahn|
|1983: Robert George, The Entertainer||Mandy Roberts, Eclipse|
|1984: Susan Tomlin, Jonathon Grace||Jackie Cole, Callen Light|
|1985: Judith Charleston, High Rate||Charlotte Young, Ryvaad|
|1986: Shelley Creelman, Fernleigh Lad||Erica McNamara, Sarahn|
|1987: Wendy Buckett, Checkmate||Emma Carr-Smith, Chateau|
|1988: Amanda Smale, John Henry||Toni Murdoch, Brogan|
|1989: Rochelle Budden, Guess||Julie Withers, Nikolas|
|1990: Geoffrey Jamieson, Envoy||Julie Withers, Nikolas|
|1991: Virginia Loisel, Entrepreneur||Katie Hallam, Mandalay|
|1992: Rachael Whitaker, Focus||Kallista Field, Minuette|
|1993: Jaala Bolton, Wetherby Mr Micawber||Carolyn Renall, Double Brown|
|1994: Claire Tompkins, Master Peace||Karla Jamieson, Glengarrick|
|1995: Heelan Tompkins, Master Peace||Edward Pattinson, Spykadelic|
|1996: Heelan Tompkins, Master Peace||Edward Pattinson, Spykadelic|
|1997: Heelan Tompkins, Master Peace||Harriet Wilson, Kung Fu Boy|
|1998: Rosie Haszard, Dayspring||Anne Davies, Sarki|
|1999: Jean Tompkins, Arragato||Andrew McIvor, Saxony|
|2000: Hillary McGregor, Malawi||Kelly MacClure, Redhill|
|2001: Sarah Dalziel, Jandals||Nicola Kahn, Flying Star|
|2002: Petra Eatson, Wallstreet||Chloe Davidson, Redhill|
|2003: Hannah Gloyn, Fitterwochen||Pippa Holdom, Ice Cold|
|2004: Amanda Bellerby, Benefactor||Jacqui Dunn, Secret Kingdom|
|2005: Kelly Wells-MacClure, Flyway||Carissa McGregor, Indian Rebel|
|2006: Juliet Wood, Just Joop||Kirsty Bale, Thunder Mountain Little Ben|
|2007: Lydia Truesdale, Papillon||Emma Cameron, Tiga-D-Boo|
|2008: Sarah Lauder, Telephonic||Jemima Snook, Pinball Wizard|
|2009: Lauren Currie, Wishful Thinking||Chloe Kennedy, Boots n All|
|2010: Courtney Newton, Arabian Nightlife||Alex Clarke, Black Jazz|
|2011: Samantha Felton, Ricker Ridge Pica Boo||Renee Faulkner, Boots n All|
|2012: Anna Hinton, Sexy B||Loran Mathis, Flintoff|
|2013: Nicole Lansdown, Royalty||Loran Mathis, Flintoff|
|2014: Loran Mathis, Flintoff||Renee Faulkner, Rubinstar HH|
|2015: Jessie Fitzjohn, Whats the Buzz||Ellysha Eastell, Voluminous|
|2016: Aiden Viviers, Giselle II||Beth Wilson, Alto et Audax|
|2017: Gemma Hampson, Pintado Prima Rosa||Meg Dempster, Pixie Caramel|