NZL-Oliver Edgecombe rides Henton Excalibur Copyright Photo: Libby Law Photography

Top rider and long-time equestrian supporter Oliver Edgecombe has been appointed to be the new ESNZ jumping high performance manager.

“This is just what we need to move our sport to the next level,” said Oliver, who is a previous winner of the Olympic Cup. “This programme means we can get more riders prepared to take the step to go offshore, and through it, we will hopefully have a bigger pool of combinations to choose from for championships events in the future.”

As someone who has been involved with the sport for many years and ridden at all levels, Oliver feels he knows what is involved and is passionate about pursuing those opportunities.
“It is exciting to think we will be seeing improvement and exposing our riders to new opportunities.”

The COVID-affected world means it was necessary for those behind top programmes to think outside the box so that while international competition and travel was challenging, riders could still be exposed to a little bit of Europe.

Oliver, who is currently a jumping selector, will take up the new role in August. He and wife Brooke, along with three-year-old daughter Sophie, live on a sheep and beef station in Waipukurau.

The role has been established thanks to a funding boost from Waikato philanthropists Mitch and Kate Plaw who are underwriting the new jumping high performance programme. It is currently being designed by ESNZ after an extensive consultation process and will be managed and implemented by the federation.

High performance general manager Jock Paget says he is looking forward to having Oliver in the role. “He is very well liked and respected within the jumping community,” says Jock. “He understands the realities of competing internationally and has a really great performance mind.”

Jock felt he was just what the programme needs. “It just won’t happen without someone really good in the position . . . it is the only way it will be successful.”

The role had attracted an exciting group of applicants and Jock said when things had gotten down to the nitty gritty there were a few who would have been capable of doing the job well. “That is pleasing to see we have so many quality people with good experience who are keen to step up and see the sport progress properly.”

ESNZ Jumping chair Mandy Illston welcomed the appointment. “This is an exciting opportunity we have thanks to the generosity of Mitch and Kate Plaw,” she said. “It will enable us to grow our high performance programme properly.”

She too felt Oliver was an excellent choice for the position. “We have huge respect for Oliver’s technical knowledge from an equestrian perspective and he really does carry the respect of the riders. He will be a key part of the high performance team, and this will indeed require a team to put it together. We need to be looking beyond the three years to ensure future growth. This is just the beginning.”

By Diana Dobson – HP Media Liaison
Photos by Libby Law/ESNZ