The Riverdale horse trials at Rotorua are popular with competitors and their supporters, and it is easy to see why as the grounds are lovely, the cross country course is all visible from a good vantage point and the atmosphere is relaxed and friendly. This year there were some great new fences at the Eventing BOP’s annual event which serves as a great lead up to those going on to the Puhinui Three Day Event in early December.
The venue has been used for about ten years now, after moving from Mamaku where it had been held for many years, with Jennifer Miller (now ESNZ patron) as the course designer. When the venue changed to the Rotorua A & P Showgrounds and Ngati Whakaue Tribal Lands station for the cross country, Bing Allen designed the original course. Campbell Draper has now taken over that role and Bing’s contribution is recognised with the cross country fence named after him; Bing’s Banquet Table.
The deer fences are not new to competitors, as they were first seen at Taupo earlier in the spring. The deer made their first visit to Rotorua, serving as the second and third part of a combination late in the course. There was also a deer appearance in the Wellington region last weekend. “Their cousin was in Wellington last week for the event, Clive Long made a body and I lent him a head,” said Campbell Draper, who built the deer jumps and had a little say in the recent re-designed course in Wellington. “The deer may head to Matamata for their next appearance,” Campbell suggested.
Another new fence was the duck which looked resplendent as the first fence into the water for the 3* competitors. It was also good to see the pigs out again, having enjoyed their outing to Taupo earlier in the season.
Also featuring on the course were two memorial fences, the first a solid trout fence made by Campbell as a memorial to Barbara Thomson, the acclaimed equestrian photographer and keen trout fisher who died in 2017.
The second was “Ian’s Brush”, named in honour of Ian Lawrence, who passed away earlier this year. He had always been responsible for providing and putting in all the brush needed on the course and thoughts are with his family and friends who are sorely missing him. His hardworking widow Raewyn and daughter Abby serve as Secretary and Committee member/riders representative and continue to make a huge contribution to making this event happen.
It was also great to see Joanne Bridgman there for the day on Saturday, catching up with friends, clients and horses. Joanne is recovering from serious injuries sustained in a car crash early this year and is currently unable to drive, or ride, but enjoyed her time on the sidelines watching the show jumping.
This year’s main class Pub Charity CCN3*-S plus was won by Clarke Johnstone and Aces High, who also won the Oro Equestrian CCN2-S on Watermill Hadleigh. Maddy Crowe on Jolis Coeur won the Dunstan CCI3*-S. Dana Hawkins and Bold Trader won the Dunstan CCI2*-S and the Beta Vet CCN1*-S was won by Vicky Browne-Cole on Corona Xtreme. Midnight Hawk, ridden by Abby Long won the Pub Charity CCN105 -S and Abby also won the Vet Post CCN95-S A on Codak Xtreme.
Man of Honour, ridden by Tessa Milina won the Pub Charity CCN105-S Amateur. Nash Jordan won the Take the Moment CCN105-S U21 riding Come Along LS, and in the Vet Post CCN95-S B class it was a win to Kirsity Bale on Kelaray Gifted. Hannah Doak and Jemima’s Dream won the C division. Spot On Photo CCN 95-SU18 class was won by Ava Holah on Xante.
By Jane Thompson
Photos: Jane Thompson