A new event at Gisborne EA Horse Trials 2021 | An Eventful Life

A new event at Gisborne EA Horse Trials 2021

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An Eventful Life is filming all competitors on cross country at

Gisborne EA Horse Trials 2021 - order or view videos here


2021 may not so far be quite the ‘silver bullet’ everyone was hoping for after a difficult 2020 but, with the prospect of eventing competition re-starting in Australia, suddenly everything seems happily ‘normal’ again

Early last year, before anyone had ever heard of Covid-19, we kicked off the season with our first visit to Gisborne Pony Club Horse Trials in Victoria and we are heading back there on January 30th & 31st

This time however the Robertson Reserve at Gisborne will be hosting its inaugural Equestrian Australia affiliated eventing competition. The event may only be running classes at EV65, EV80 and EV95 level but Event Director James Lang has roped in one of the best cross country course designers in Australia, Ewan Kellett to design and build the courses, and together they have a grand plan

“Whilst it might not be the highest cross country course on the calendar, we felt it was really important to get someone of Ewan’s caliber to get the basics of the course right and we wanted to prepare a real quality course for both young horses and riders beginning their careers” says James, who has been friends with Ewan since they were at Pony Club together in the late 80’s and early 90’s

The Pony Club movement is a cause close to James' heart and last year he told us about the ‘Gisborne Gallopers’ programme, aiming to introduce new riders into the Gisborne Pony Club in our interview here. Following on from that, this year the focus on getting the new addition to the Equestrian Victoria calendar off to a flying start

“Given the timing of the event (being the first of the season) we feel it is important that the course sets up these horses and riders for a great season in front of them"

"We are very happy with what Ewan is putting together and there will something for everyone competing at these levels; if it’s the horse’s first start, it will ride well and if you are consolidated and looking to upgrade, the course provides enough tests and variety so you will certainly know where you sit at any given level”

One of the difficulties of hosting a January event in Australia is the firmness of the ground but James assures us that a lot of work has been done and that access to the Equestrian Victoria aerovator means that the going will be the best possible for the time of year



Ewan Kellett, who is also designing at Australia’s first CCI4* event of the year at Tonimbuk International, says that it has been great to work on a long-term plan at a new facility

“We are starting with smaller classes for the first year and will add higher grades in subsequent years. This year we have built a new bank which will act as a feature point of the course located in view of the clubhouse, with a mix of terrain, permanent fences and plenty of new portables that will keep the course fresh over years to come”



It isn’t just the cross country course that is getting a make-over, with a new club house, new horse washes and yards also coming to fruition after several years of fund raising. It’s hardly surprising then that the new event has been received with great enthusiasm – the EvA80 entries are full, the EvA65 filled straight away so a second section was added and there are just a few places left in the EvA95 (get in quick if you still want to enter!)

“People have been really encouraging and certainly voting with their feet by entering our event” says James “I think people are genuinely looking forward to coming to a new event and tackling a fresh new course, and our vision is to make this one of the ‘must attend’ events on the calendar”

“In addition to just running the horse trials we are also hoping to showcase the local community with a wine tasting master class from Gisborne Peak winery and other local fresh food producers”

We can’t wait to be back there!