New Zealand Horse of the Year eventing cancelled
There will be no 2017 Eventer of the Year in New Zealand after inclement weather caused the cross-country to be cancelled on Saturday morning. While Hastings was lucky to avoid the flooding which wreaked havoc further north, the 20ml of rain which fell overnight on already wet ground was enough to make conditions too hazardous.
Most of the senior riders had decided not to run their horses, but it was the problem of not being able to provide the necessary medical and veterinary services on course that made it an impossible. Added to which the Polo Grounds across the road from the Showgrounds, where the cross-country started and finished, padlocked their gates!
Technical Delegate Neil McKenzie-Hall said, “The decision was made due to safety reasons, and was not made lightly. It involved the Riders Representatives as well as the Ground Jury, Course Designer, Technical Delegates, and the HOY Management. All agreed it was the best thing to do after all possible options were considered, as the weather forecast was for continued rain.”
Riders Representative Donna Edwards-Smith’s comment was, “Safety is paramount in our sport, and I was proud of the response from the riders. The officials were fantastic, they considered everything, but if the ambulance and vet can’t access the course it’s a no brainer.”
Jackson Bovill was particularly disappointed, having taken the overnight lead in the 22 strong Land Rover CIC3* on Visionnaire following Friday’s showjumping phase. Runner up in the National Eventing Championships at Arran Station, Takapau, in October, the 20 year old was hoping to go one better at Hastings.
Sarah Young led after Thursday’s dressage, scoring 46.9 penalties with Leo Degas, but had a showjumping rail down to drop to fourth behind second placed Bovill on 47.3. Sam Felton improved from third with Ricker Ridge Pico Boo on 47.6, and Ashleigh McKinstry moved up from fifth with Pioneer Brass Monkey on 49.6, all with clean sheets over Werner Deeg’s showjumping course in the premier arena.
The CIC2* attracted 37 starters, with Bundy Philpott and Tresca NZPH leading on 40.6 penalties, ahead of Donna Edwards-Smith and DSE Cluny on 47.8, with Jessica
Woods third on her new ride Just de Manzana on 49.5. Both classes had record entries so it was sad they were not able to experience the buzz of jumping John Nicholson’s beautifully presented cross-country course in front of the anticipated crowds.
Article by Virginia Caro