One of the big attractions of competing or attending at the Boekelo Horse Trials in the Netherlands is the world-class partying that accompanies the real business of competing. The parties are legendary, and start on Tuesday night with some great entertainment lined up all week. Having a beer sponsor may well help but the event hospitality is unsurpassed.
Of course the New Zealanders there are very focused on their competition which is the last leg of the FEI Nations Cup. The New Zealand team has been named as Blyth Tait (Xanthus III), Jesse Campbell (Amersdam 21), Sir Mark Todd (Kiltrubrid Rhapsody) and Dan Jocelyn (Beaucatcher), who is first out for the team. Dan has been having a good run of form lately, so fingers crossed this continues.
Others competing at the event include Megan Heath on Camelot, and Blyth also has Leo Distinction there.
— Dan Jocelyn (@DanJocelyn) October 5, 2016
Of course this year they don’t have the added pressure of having to qualify for the Olympics like they did last year (and obviously achieved).
— Blyth Tait (@BlythTait) October 5, 2016
After what we have seen via Snapchat, Blyth Tait has already won the first phase on the dance floor stakes and will be keen to continue such good form in the actual event. He was second here last year on Xanthus II (Nicola Wilson won on Bulana) and he has won the event here twice before; on Chesterfield 1997 and Aspiring in 1994.
Sir Mark Todd is also back to try to add another win to his two previous wins. Back in 1989 he first won it on Pedro the Cruel and then followed up with another win on Regal Scott in 1998. Other Kiwi winners include Lizzie Brown on Henton Attorney General (2013) and Andrew Nicholson on Quimbo (2012) and Sheff’s Choice (2001).
Germany, Great Britain and France, respectively first, second and third at the penultimate leg at Waregem in Belgium, could all win the Nations Cup series this weekend in which the best seven results count. New Zealand hasn’t contested many events, and is 11th on the table, with just 130 points, compared to GB’s 555 and Germany’s 550.
Germany scored their fourth win of the 2016 FEI Nations Cup Eventing season at Waregem, following victories at Fontainebleau (France), Houghton Hall (GB) and Vairano (Italy) last week. The team’s worst score so far this season is a fourth place at Strzegom (Poland).
However, Britain still holds a very slim five-point advantage over the Germans on the rankings. The British team has competed at the most legs, seven, with two wins, at Ballindenisk (Ireland) and Strzegom. Provided they do well at Boekelo, they could be in a strong position, as they would only have 55 points to discard for a sixth place at Fontainebleau, their weakest result.
Great Britain has named a strong team in a bid to take out the win. Oliver Townend (Cooley SRS), Flora Harris (Bayano), Laura Collett (Mr Bass) and Izzy Taylor (Trevidden) will be keen to seal the deal but the German team also looks good (as always). Their team is Anna Siemer (Chloe 21), Ben Luewer (NZB Port Royal), Andreas Dibowski (FRH Butts Avedon) and Stephanie Bohe (Haytom).
In the meantime, Tim Price is competing a number of young horses at Calmsden One Day Event in the UK, as is Lizzie Green. Andrew Nicholson has a horse entered there too. There is also eventing at both National Equestrian Centres this weekend; Taupo and at McLeans Island here in New Zealand.