Barge Park, Whangarei, is the venue of this year’s NZPCA Eventing Championships and it promises to be a huge competition, with teams travelling from as far away as Otago.
The AI Trophy (for riders 17-25) has 22 combinations entered, with the DC class (under 18) 32 and the MT class (14 and under) 30 competitors. Thirteen pony club area teams will be contesting the teams event. These consist of up to six riders, two in each of the divisions. The AI, DC and MT competitions are also open to individuals.
Last year’s AI Cup winner Aiden Viviers won’t be contesting it this year, but the 2015 winners, Jessie Fitzjohn and What’s the Buzz, will definitely be a combination to watch; Jessie will be keen to get her name back on that trophy. Last year’s runner-up was Todd Magner from the South Island’s west coast and he hasn’t travelled all that way to come second again! His brother Kirk is in the MT class and was second in that last year too, so he will also be keen to get the red ribbon this year.
Beth Wilson won the DC Trophy last year and this year is in the AI Competition on her Alto et Audax. The pair have been competing successfully in ESNZ events, including finishing 12th at the prestigious Kihikihi Horse Trials recently, on their dressage score.
It is always interesting to look back on past winners in these events. Current successful eventers who have won include Samantha Felton on Ricker Ridge Pica Boo in 2011, Sarah Dalziel on Jandals in 2001, and then there was Heelan Tompkins, who won three times in a row from 1995. The cup was first contested back in 1954 when M.M. Meredith won on Yeoman. Ron Cropp and Vanity Fair won in 1955.
Previous winners of the DC Trophy include Renee Faulkner who won it twice, on Boots and All in 2011 and on Rubinstar HH in 2014, who Renee is now competing at three-star level. Loran Mathis won twice on Flintoff and also went on to win the AI Cup in 2014. Loran’s mother Lynley Fife won it on Tomalin (1978) and Tumbleweed (1976) and her aunt Nicoli won it in 1973 on Mexico. Other famous names on that cup include Maurice Beatson (1969 on Golden Cloud) and Kallista Field (Minuette in 1992).
The team event is all-important, and it was a historic first-time win for the Marlborough Nelson West Coast area last year. Taranaki has a fine history of winning this trophy, being successful for the first time in 1963 and then winning another nine times, including in 2014. Only Waikato has won it more, having their name on the trophy 11 times from 1964 through to their last win in 2013.
In the horsemanship teams class, the last few years have seen a number of different teams winning, with Waitemata Rodney being the most successful recently, having won in 2007, 2008 and 2015.
Teams competing are:
- Franklin Thames Valley
- Marlborough Nelson West Coast
- Waitemata Rodney Area Pony Club
- Otago Southland
- Bay of Plenty
- Manawatu West Coast
- Wairarapa Wellington
- Hawkes Bay
There is also an ODE running alongside the champs, for riders 25 and under, with a 105, 95 and 80 cm classes on offer.
Dressage gets under way on Friday, with cross-country Saturday and show jumping Sunday.