New Zealand’s elite and up-and-coming UK-based eventers have had input from one of the best recently, training with 2012 Olympic team gold medallist Scott Brash MBE.
Riders from the high performance, high performance futures and high performance potential squads were all given mounted slots, with other UK-based riders and owners able to observe.
ESNZ eventing high performance manager Graeme Thom says it came about through COVID-19 border restrictions and was driven by squad members. “The virus has created a lot of unforeseen circumstances, and travel restrictions has been one of those,” said Graeme. “This meant our team showjumping specialist Luis Alvarez was confined within the boundaries of his home country Spain. When this occurred, we scrambled to prepare for what modest easing of restrictions would allow us to train.”
So he went to the riders to seek suggestions on who they would like to work with. “There were so many impressive names put forward, with world No.1 Scott Brash mentioned by many of our squad.”
Graeme says it was a real team effort to secure him for the training camp. “All the reports from riders have been full of praise and while this is not the start of a formal relationship, we would relish the opportunity to work with Scott again should his schedule allow.”
Hailing from the wettest and coldest part of the UK in Scotland, Scott was undeterred by the torrential rain during the opening day session which was held at Oakingham Stud. UK high performance administrator Jacky Green said it was a superb venue. “They had provided us with tea and coffee and also a gazebo which protected some of the owners from the worst of the weather, with a back drop to the arena of a huge paddock full of mares and foals which was yet another bonus,” she said.
Scott is one of the most successful riders of his generation and the only one to date to have won the Rolex Grand Slam of Showjumping (2015). He can also lay claim to a team gold at the European Championship (2012). “He is a great communicator and as a true ‘horseman’ can read a horse’s temperament and way of jumping within minutes. His approach is refreshingly simple and he was happy to share information about his own horses and his way of training them.”
The riders rode mostly advanced horses with a couple of talented youngsters also in the mix. “I think it’s fair to say that it was hugely beneficial and gave us a fascinating insight into how a top level jumper trains his horses.”
By Diana Dobson – HP Media Liaison
June 22, 2020