It’s off to Taupo for many event riders this week in a quest to come away with a NRM National three-day event title. There’s other prizes up for grabs too, including the NZPCA prize for the best result for a pony club member, which will be a good contest, especially with many riders having just competed at the NZPCA eventing championships in Masterton.
The Young Event horse class is always an interesting one, and there are 17 horses entered this year. Samantha Felton has won the class for the last two years but hasn’t an entry in this year – not surprising given that she has three horses in the three-star and one in each of the one and two-star classes! Last year she won on Ricker Ridge Riley who is in the one-star class this year, and Ricker Ridge Sooty, who was second in the YEH class in 2016, is in the two-star class.
Sam has RR Divine Right, RR Escada, and RR Rui in the three-star class. She’s had a bit of a run of bad luck recently, including her truck catching on fire on the way home from Horse of the Year show, so she’ll be hoping that streak of bad fortune changes this weekend!
Another busy woman is Donna Edwards-Smith; she has DSE Tangalooma (‘Bones’) and DSE Cluny in the three-star class as well as Astek Guardsman in the two-star, Rodriguez in the one-star, and two rides in the 105 championship.
Cluny was second in last year’s two-star class, and Bones was hot on the heels of Clarke Johnstone and Balmoral Sensation at Kihikihi recently. Talking of that champion pair, they will be making an appearance at Taupo as the test rider for the three-star class. They will be heading off to Europe shortly for their final preparation for the World Equestrian Games – and surely must be considered as near-certainties for team selection alongside Jonelle Price, fresh from winning Badminton.
Nick Brooks and the lovely For Fame come into the final event for the season in fine form, having finished second to Clarke at the Horse of the Year, and third at Kihikihi, which is a great start to their three-star career. To win the CCI3* championship at their third start at this level would be quite an accomplishment, and is certainly not out of the question.
There are two previous winning combinations entered again this year. Amanda Pottinger and Just Kidding won the title in 2016 and were third last year, and last year’s winner, Emily Cammock and Shaw Lee are back to defend their title, making the trip up from Christchurch. Two other South Islanders are in the field too, Kirsty Sharapoff on Shoot the Breeze and Corey Wood on Pick Up Line.
There are 16 combinations entered in the NRM three-star class, and 25 in the Bates CCI2* class. Beth Wilson, fresh from winning the National Young Rider title on Alto et Audax is one to watch in the two-star, as is Bryce Newman on Bates Game Keeper. Abby Lawrence won the two-star class at the Horse of the Year show with Anonymous, and will also be in with a good show in this class.
Angela Lloyd likes collecting box sets of prizes, having just recently scored all the possible one-day event national titles when she won the 105 on Raucous at Kihikihi, adding to the other three she had previously won on other horses. Last year she won the one-star three day event title with Lyrical, and this year she is stepping her classy mare up to the two-star, and she has Raucous in the Wairakei Resort CCN105 championship.
There are 47 entries in the Fiber Fresh CCI1* Championship, and 46 in the CCN105.
The President of the Ground Jury for the three-star competition will be Southland’s Helen Christie, with Nicoli Fife (Waikato) presiding over the two-star competition. Joining Helen and Nicoli is Australian Carolyn James.
Mura Love is the president of the one-star, and Winky Foley has those duties in the one-star open class. They are joined by Susan Grayling. Janet Fox is the president of the 105 championship class, and Liz Sanders is presiding over the 105 open class.
The technical delegate is Susan O’Brien and Chris Ross has taken on the course designing role for the two and three-star courses this year. The one-star and 105 courses have been designed by John Holmes. Philippa Howells is designing the show jumping tracks, and Chief Steward is Susan Geddes.
Might pay to pack your rain coats if you are heading to Taupo, the weather forecast doesn’t look that promising!