A topsy-turvy year for sport has resulted in the New Zealand Young and Junior Rider One Day Eventing Championship being contested at the Dunstan-Fiber Fresh National Equestrian Centre at Taupo this coming weekend, Dec.10-12, following the postponement of the November Taupo event due to covid restrictions.
The contestants, all from within the North Island, comprise a quality field of eight young women, all with their sights set on the elite level of the sport. They will be competing for the Charisma Trophy, a handsome bronze statue of the double Olympic champion being ridden by Sir Mark Todd, first contested in 1985.
Sponsored by Portage Cars, the CCI3*-S class will be run under international rules and judged by the experienced ground jury of Nicoli Fife, Putaruru and Virginia Tocher, Cambridge. The showjumping track will be designed by Phillipa Howells, Te Kauwhata, and the cross-country course by Campbell Draper, a former senior national eventing champion and now FEI Level 2 course designer.
Four of the contestants are members of the Talent ID Squad, and have had coaching at the Centre, so the remainder will be keen to show their ability to the selectors. In addition, most have been working pupils with a top international rider here in New Zealand, so they are fully committed to a future in eventing.
Local rider Charlotte Penny, an Aucklander working for Monica Spencer, better known as Monica Oakley, has two rides in the class, Festival, bred by Monica, and SD Amourosi, on which she leads the Young Rider Eventing series. Also with two rides, Kaitlyn Freeman from Otaki has the well performed Landisohn, and Ricker Ridge Parkour, her hope for the future.
Jasmyne Speake, Cambridge, Junior Rider champion in 2018 and 2019, will be hoping to add the Young Rider title to her resume, riding Pioneer Jeepers Creepers. She has been based with Donna Edwards-Smith at Te Kauwhata in the past, while Kelli Frewin, Hastings, who rides Phoenician Zatalk, worked with Amanda Pottinger prior to her going to the UK.
The only South Islander, Brittany Fowler, from Methven, is now based with Olympian Clarke Johnstone at Matangi. She rides Game Keeper, and will undoubtedly be well prepared. The field is rounded out by Carys McCrory on Nemesis, from Havelock North, who I suspect has also had help from Amanda Pottinger.
All three of these senior internationals will be competing in the Reyna Equestrian sponsored event at Taupo, bringing on younger horses they hope will be stars of the future, as well as helping their Young Rider protégées. Dressage will take place on Friday, Cross-country on Saturday, and Showjumping on Sunday.
The Junior Rider title, for riders under 18, is running as part of the CCI2*-S class and with only one eligible combination, Catriona Lamb riding Oskars Gold, providing they complete the competition, will see their name etched on the Hoffman Trophy as the 2021 title winner.