Central & Southern Hawkes Bay Eventing host the first North Island leg of the year long ESNZ Eventing Super League at their annual spring horse trials this coming weekend, 27/28 October. Sponsored by Dunstan Horsefeeds, the popular event takes place at Arran Station, the Silver Fern Farms property at Takapau.
As always there are competitors from throughout the North Island, entries closing with 176 combinations across all levels, from 80cm to the elite CIC3* Super League class. Chris Ross, from Helensville, is again the Course Designer for the CIC1*, 2* and 3* classes, which are run under FEI (international) rules.
A number of top combinations are using the event as a final run before heading across the Tasman to the Australian Three-day Event at Adelaide next month, the only CCI4* in the southern hemisphere. A demonstration class for the 4* dressage test is also being staged, to provide a rehearsal opportunity for these competitors.
Entries in the Red Snap’r CIC3* class include New Zealand Oceania team member Samantha Felton, Matangi, with two rides, Ricker Ridge Rui and Ricker Ridge Divine Right. Former team member Jessica Woods, Ohaupo, is bringing her Australian mare Just de Manzana, on whom she was third at the NRM Taupo CCI3* in May, prior to taking her to Adelaide.
New Zealand Young Rider team member Renee Faulkner, Papakura, has Rubinstar HH entered, this combination winning the Barbara Thomson Memorial Trophy for the best performed Young Rider in last year’s Super League. Faulkner is aiming for Adelaide, which will make her one of the youngest riders competing at 4* level. They opened their season with a 2* win at Taupo two weeks ago.
Nick Brooks, a solicitor from Cambridge, is bringing the exciting For Fame, who burst into the limelight last autumn with second place in the Horse of the Year CIC3* in March, followed by second in the NRM CCI3* at Taupo. It was an exceptional first season at 3* level, and much is expected of this combination in the future.
A new initiative this year is the Dynavyte Quinella, which runs across both CIC3* classes at Takapau and Taupo (10/11 November) with contestants earning points at each event. The combination with the highest total of points will receive a prize pack from Dynavite NZ, as well as earning Super League points.
The Oaklane Stables CIC2* class sees several combinations heading to Adelaide electing to give their horses a confidence boosting run at a less demanding level, including the NRM Taupo CCI3*champions Amanda Pottinger, Havelock North, and Just Kidding, and Bundy Philpott, Cambridge, with Tresca NZPH, winners of the Puhinui CCI3* last December.
They will be challenged by Matthew Grayling, the dairy farmer from New Plymouth (“sponsored by my 500 cows!”), who rides the stunning grey Trudeau for owner-breeder Winky Foley. Felton also has Ricker Ridge Riley in this class, and Ashley McKinstry from the King Country has the well performed Pioneer Brass Monkey.
Young Rider team member Vicky Browne-Cole, Waiuku, brings her charming grey Eli, and the Amon brothers, Jeffrey and Samuel, from Murupara, have three rides between them. They will be hoping to earn points in the Mitavite Young Rider series. There are age group classes at the event, so competitors at all levels have the chance to add to their series scores.
Dressage and showjumping take place on Saturday, with the cross-country running all day Sunday, although the 80cm class will perform all three disciplines on Saturday. Live scoring is available for those unable to attend (www.equestrianentries.co.nz) but spectator viewing is second to none at Arran Station, with free admission and coffee and hot food available on the grounds.