Stars on horseback and the small screen . . . (from left) Ally and Drew Carson, Emma Watson, Emily Hayward, Ollie Croucher and Leeshelle Small. Photo by youngridersnz / nzheihei / nz_on_air

Some of New Zealand’s best young showjumpers are set to make their debut in the new Young Riders Series TV show next month.

Leeshelle Small, Emily Hayward, Emma Watson, Ollie Croucher and Drew and Ally Carson stepped up in fine style to be part of programme which saw a Greenstone TV team follow them at shows and to training sessions behind the scenes for 34 days last season.

A long-time lover of horses, producer Kate Peacocke thought the time was right for a series on riding that would resonate with youngsters after the launch of TVNZ’s new HeiHei platform.

“At the time Amie Bentall, who has competed in both showjumping and mounted games, was editing a series of Dog Squad that I was producing,” says Kate. “When I mentioned the idea of a kids’ horse series to her she came up with some profiles of teenage riders who competed in showjumping. We immediately knew we had the start of what would be a really good series.”

Once they had funding from NZ on Air, so began a project the whole crew enjoyed working on. “I was impressed with how articulate and mature the riders that we followed were when talking about their approaches to preparing and competing on their horses,” says Kate. “I was also impressed by their passion and dedication to both their sport and their horses.”

Filming at shows at Hastings, Taupo, Dannevirke, Woodhill, Gisborne, Brookby and Horse of the Year, the crew had three main cameras and six GoPros covering the arena while also filming the young riders and their horses before and afterwards for every bit of the action.

“There were lots of highlights, especially when any of the kids we were following made it into the jump-off, but the final of the Young Rider at the Horse of the Year Show between Emily and Ollie was definitely a memorable one.”

The 24-episode show will be released on TVNZ’s kids channel HeiHei on Friday, July 5, and later on TVNZonDemand. You can follow the action via Instagram @youngridersnz too.


Links to HeiHei:  for android for iPhone and iPad