Preview - NZ Young Rider and Junior Rider Eventing Championships

      Beth Wilson and Altex et Audax lead the Mitavite Young Rider Series


The 2018 National Young Rider and Junior Rider Eventing titles will be contested at the Troy Wheeler Contracting Springbush Horse Trials at Hunua, near Auckland, this weekend. The venue is home to international course designer Tich Massey and his partner Angela Lloyd, so the cross-country course is sure to be a superb example of his work.

The Young Rider (under 21 years) title is contested at 2* level, and the Junior Rider (under 18 years) at 1*, but both will be suitably challenged at their respective levels. Twelve Young Rider combinations will compete for the coveted Charisma Trophy, and eleven Junior Riders will vie for the Hoffman Trophy.

The 2017 Junior winner, Kate Herdson, Auckland, on Eon, has moved up to Young Rider level, but Eon is recovering from a respiratory infection so has not had an ideal preparation for this step up. They currently hold third position in the Mitavite Young Rider series, having won the Junior Rider series last year.

Greer Caddigan, Hamilton, who won the 2016 Junior Rider title, rides the former Campbell Draper ride Mr Mancini, with whom she has formed a formidable partnership in a short space of time. They are a very close second in the Mitavite Young Rider series, so will be hoping to improve on that position this weekend.

However series leader Beth Wilson, Papakura, now a paramedic student but a former working pupil with Angela Lloyd at Springbush, will be all out to take the title on her Irish Sport Horse, Altex et Audax, bred by Imogen Neale, and extend her lead in the Mitavite series. Wilson spent time at both Tim and Jonelle Price’s yard and Jock Paget’s yard in England in 2016.

Another combination who could be competitive is New Zealand Young Rider team member and vet nurse Renee Faulkner, Papakura, on Rubinstar HH, the horse who was bred to do dressage but prefers to jump. They have competed at 3* level, so hopefully Rubin will be compliant in the first phase of this title tilt, as the jumping phases are his forte.

The two brothers from Murupara, 20 year old Jeffrey Amon and younger brother Samuel, 16 years old and home schooled on the edge of Te Urewera forest, ride My Silver Lining and Trojan Warrior respectively, and both will be up for the challenge. They have each produced their horses from humble origins, to make their mark in the eventing scene, and are a great example of raw talent.

The Junior Rider title is wide open, with two contestants having two rides each, which may or may not be to their advantage. Emily Denny, Pokeno, a 17 year old student at Pukekohe High School, rides a warmblood, Never Whisper and a thoroughbred, Ultimatum, both sponsored by Golden Horse Feeds.

15 year old Jasmyne Speake, Cambridge, the youngest competitor in the class, who is part of the Donna Edwards-Smith Eventing team at competitions, will have her time in the spotlight this weekend, riding two well bred thoroughbreds, the 6 year old mare DSE Beyond Compare, by Perfectly Ready, bred by Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum, and DSE Ratmansky, a 7 year old gelding by Stravinsky.

The international eventing stars of the future will emerge from these two classes, so much interest centres on how they fare against their peers at the top level of their age groups, with all the pressure that national championships engender.

Dressage and Showjumping take place on Saturday 10th and the cross-country on Sunday 11th with live scoring available on


Article by Virginia Caro