Owners Jane and Ray Burmester are very holistic in their approach to supporting jumping.
“It’s all about the bigger picture for us,” says Jane. “We want to support the next generation of riders and the future of New Zealand jumping.”
The Auckland couple have been involved with four-time Olympian Bruce Goodin for decades and love the places it has taken them and the people they have met along the way. They also support jumping in New Zealand. It was Jane who drove the fundraising to secure Bruce’s Backatorps Danny V for WEG.
Bruce’s wife Ulrika was the one who found Danny initially. A friend of hers had sold the horse to a family I Sweden but retained a share I him, so when Bruce needed a horse, she got on the phone. “Bruce said he felt the horse would be good for New Zealand so we got into action,” said Jane.
She had two weeks to round up a “significant amount” of money and managed to bring together a group of around 25 to make it happen. Bruce calls her the “coordinator and chief whip” of all the New Zealand owners involved with Danny.
It wasn’t just their friendship that drove Jane and Ray to be involved initially. “Bruce has always been an amazing rider but lacked horsepower so we wanted to do something for him and New Zealand jumping, and get some decent horses in the mix.”
Their involvement takes them on an annual pilgrimage to Europe where they travel the circuit, watching their rider compete. “Bruce is one of the best to be an owner for – he is such a good communicator and tells us the good and the bad. He is very straight up about how things are going.”
They have met and seen interesting people at fantastic venues. “Bruce ensures it all happens.”
Jane is a horsewoman from way back, having evented for New Zealand as a young rider “way back” and ridden with Bruce’s father David, but an accident saw her break her back and spend five months in a spinal brace. “They didn’t think I would ever ride again so I took up marathon running . . . until my knee blew out.”
Five years ago she took up riding again and has Corbus K – a horse who was bought as a five-year-old in Spain for Bruce 11 years ago. Bruce rode the horse for four years, then Ulrika enjoyed success with him at the 1.45m-1.5m level and he is now with Jane.
“I never thought something like that would happen,” she said. “I am having so much fun just riding at amateur level. Nobody else but Ulrika and Bruce would have given up such a cool horse. They really do love their horses so much – they always do what is best by them.”
The Burmester’s long term goal is encourage other aspiring riders to head offshore. “We want younger riders from New Zealand to strive to go to Europe and see what they are all doing there.”
Ray and Jane have loved being at WEG. “It’s a nice event to be here and see all the Kiwis. It was great to see the eventers and be part of the large contingent of New Zealand supporters here. As an owner it is so interesting to see all the different culture, the events and meet so many people. Bruce really involves us in it all.”
Backatorps Danny V is now on the market and Jane is hopeful the money will fund the next great jumper for New Zealand.
By Diana Dobson, NZ team media liaison