Taking it to Taupo

      Amanda Pottinger and Just Kidding winning the 2016 NRM CCI3*


The first event of the Equestrian Sports New Zealand Eventing Super League season kicks off at The Fiber Fresh National Equestrian Centre, Taupo, this coming weekend, 7-8 October. As always at the beginning of a competition year, there are new horse and rider combinations to watch with interest, as well as those stepping up to new heights.

Following a “wild” dressage test at Hastings last weekend, Clarke Johnstone will not compete his Rio Olympic mount Balmoral Sensation, opting instead to limit ‘Ritchie’ to a demonstration dressage competition of the Eventing CCI4* test. Johnstone was not unhappy with the horse, saying, “He is very fresh, and loving being out again,” so the plan is to prepare him for the Adelaide CCI4* next month.

Joining Johnstone in the 4* demonstration dressage will be Oceania team members Andy Daines and Spring Panorama, Young Rider Oceania team members Renee Faulkner and Rubinstar HH, and Bundy Philpott on Tresca NZPH. Philpott (Cambridge) was previously based in the UK, and since returning home has been patiently preparing youngsters who are now reaching the top levels.

The Super League class, the NRM CIC3*, has attracted eight entries, including Amanda Pottinger (Havelock Nth) on Just Kidding, who had the satisfaction of winning the Lumberjack Logging CNC2* Plus at Hastings, ahead of Johnstone on Balmoral Sensation. Daines (Kumeu) on Spring Panorama, who won the Taupo leg of the Super League last year, and Faulkner (Papakura) on Rubinstar HH, also start.

Donna Edwards-Smith (Te Kauwhata) has three horses entered, including last year’s winner of the Super League series, the diminutive but very consistent palomino DSE Mr Hokey Pokey, as well as DSE Cluny and DSE Tangolooma, both back at the top after previous setbacks.

Samantha Felton (Matangi) has Ricker Ridge Rui entered, although her two top horses, National CIC3* Champion Ricker Ridge Escada and Oceania team horse Ricker Ridge Pico Boo have yet to appear at elite level this season. The field is completed by Brooke Campbell riding Freddy Dash, stepping up to 3* after winning the National CIC2* Championship at Kihikihi in April.

The NRM CIC2* class has a quality entry of twenty-nine combinations, and competition will be keen at this level as riders vie for points in the Equissage Pro-Am series. Last year’s series winners, Madison Crowe (Matangi) and Waitangi Pinterest, will have Pottinger riding Holly Morrell’s Pampero to contend with. Morrell (Taupo) and Pampero were runners up in the Pro-Am series last year.

Johnstone, although not eligible for the Pro-Am series, also contests this class with In Disguise and Kate Wood’s Wolf Whistle II, both well performed and likely to set a high standard. Veteran Bryce Newman (Bulls), a former international now training racehorses, has two promising young horses in Bates Our Entourage and Bates Game Keeper, who placed 2nd and 3rd at Hastings last weekend.

Philpott has Tresca NZPH entered in this class, with others to watch being Young Rider Oceania team members Vicky Browne-Cole (Waiuku) and her lovely grey Eli, and former Young Rider champion Sarah Young (Tokoroa) on Leo Degas. Points in the PEL Amateur Rider and Mitavite Young Rider series will also be earned at Taupo.

The dressage and showjumping takes place on Saturday at the Fiber Fresh National Equestrian Centre, Aratiatia, near Taupo, and the cross-country on Sunday.


Article by Virginia Caro