Anticipation Builds Ahead of Young Rider Trans Tasman

Eventing New Zealand’s young rider team will be looking to hold off a determined Australian onslaught when the Trans-Tasman Young Rider Challenge gets underway in Christchurch as part of the NZCT South Island FEI Three Day Event on Friday.

Buoyed by their senior counterpart’s domination at the recent Kihikihi International Horse Trial, the Aussies will be going all out to quash the Kiwi’s strong run of form in the competition, which saw them lift the trophy convincingly in Christchurch in 2010, and at Camperdown, Australia, in 2009.

Australian-based Joseph Waldron and Springvale All Black spearheads the Kiwi young rider squad coming in off an impressive performance as part of the Kiwi senior trans-Tasman team at Kihikihi finishing second overall behind Australian Olympian Shane Rose and Taurus in the Waipa Home of Champions CIC3*.

Joseph Waldron

       Joseph Waldron and Springvale All Black              Photo: Libby Law

Waldron is joined by Auckland’s Virginia Thompson on Ashbury Pee Cee and current Young Rider One Day Champions Samantha Felton (Matangi) on Ricker Ridge Pico Boo, both who finished in the top four in the CIC2* at Kihikihi. Also making the squad is the ultra-consistent Jessica Woods on Too Predictable, and local rider Katie Rankin (Ohoka) on Time To Tango Too. With the exception of Waldron, who grew up in Mosgiel but now lives in Australia, the other four members hold four of the top five places on the Massey University Young Rider leaderboard.

The New Zealand selectors have held off naming the four-strong team to compete until the final trot-up which will take place on Friday morning prior to the dressage phase of the competition getting underway.

Since arriving on Tuesday the Australian team of Ben Leahy and Le Directeur, Isabel English and Fairdale Mouse, Juana Andreou and Sunvally Donnerthe, and Makayla Wood on Just Corona, have settled in well to their new surroundings.

       Juana Andreou and Sunvalley Donnerhe                       Photo; Toni-anne Collins

The Trans-Tasman Challenge is being held in conjunction with the Tavern Harewood CCI2*, in which eligible riders will also be competing for the Swarbrick Trophy for the National Young Rider Three Day Event Champion. Outside of those competing in the Trans-Tasman, the class has attracted just the three additional riders including current Alltech Junior Rider Series leader Otago’s Kate Mackie on Zambessi.

As well as the CCI2* competition (incorporating the trans-Tasman), the event is running the NZCT CIC3*, Sheds NZ CCI1*, Armitage Williams Construction Pre Novice, AW Interiors Training, Tavern Harewood Training 4-6 Year Olds, Betavet and the Pre Training jointly sponsored by Betavet and Blue Gum Lodge Motels, as well as the prestigious Saddlery Barn South Island Young Event Horse Championship (which is held tomorrow).

Former National One Day Event Champion Brent Jury on SE Big heads the line-up in the small NZCT CIC3*, coming up against former young rider champion Ashburton’s Larissa Srhoy on Starburst, who is returning after a long injury spell, and northern visitor Charlotte Grayling (New Plymouth) on NRM Ru Star.

The Sheds NZ CCI1* competition will be hotly contested with 25 riders vying for top honours, as well as the Lenamore Trophy for National Junior Rider Three Day Event champion up for grabs for those eligible. The strong field includes Zephania Steele, who was a member of the Franklin Thames Valley area trials team which finished second at last weekend’s NZPCA Horse Trials Championship in Oamaru, finishing runner-up for the DC cup aboard SS Nonchalant, and also southerner Jade McRae aboard Il Mafioso, who’s sister Kendra guided the horse to runner-up in the A1 competition helping Otago Southland to victory.

The Armitage Williams Construction Pre Novice has attracted 37 starters, while more than 40 will line up in the AW Interiors Training. A small field of 15 will contest the Tavern Harewood 4-6 year-olds Training for the young horses, with more than 45 down to compete in the Blue Gum Lodge Motels/Betavet Pre Training.

Overall the event has attracted more than 190 combinations from all over New Zealand to compete, promising top-class equestrian action. 

Competition gets underway tomorrow (Thursday, April 20) with the Saddlery Barn Young Event Horse Championship, with the official trot-up and dressage phase to start on Friday, April 21, followed by cross country day on Saturday, with the event wrapping up with the show jumping on Sunday. Entry to the grounds all three days is FREE, and everyone is welcome. Food and refreshments are available on-site.


WHAT: NZCT South Island FEI Three Day Event and trans-Tasman Young Rider Challenge

WHERE: National Equestrian Centre, McLeans Island, Christchurch
WHEN: April 20-22