The New Zealand three day event at Taupo was blessed with bluebird skies from Wednesday to Saturday bringing very cold weather at night but stunning days for the rider & horse combinations to shine. It would not be the NZ3DE at Taupo in May without rain which, fortunately, only tarnished the last day of competition.

The Event began on Wednesday evening with an official welcome for all and introduction of the officiating team which includes two international visitors – Vicky Lymbery (Australia) as president of the 3* and 4* ground jury’s and Catherine Baker (USA) as a member of the Stewarding team. Thursday morning started bright and early with all classes completing the first trot up.   Fiber Fresh picked Kirsity Bale & Kellaray Gifted as the best presented of the day and generously awarded Kirsity and her affectionately known, Annabelle, with 25 vouchers for Fiber Fresh product.

Thursday bought the first test of the Event for the two 95cm classes, sponsored by Penny Homes & Oronoa Sport Horses, the Taupo Veterinary Centre 105cm, Canter for Cancer 1* and the CRYNZ 2* Open class. The lower level classes were at capacity for entry numbers and their dressage marks were very close which is an exciting prospect for the level of dressage in these lower levels.

The Fiber Fresh Rider’s BBQ was held on Thursday night with delicious Beard Brothers sausages and mulled wine. The evening was a hit with a very long line for the BBQ that seemed to never disappear!

Friday started off bright, frosty and early for the Fiber Fresh CCI2* & NRM CCI3* classes completing their dressage, followed by the Gardener Family Trust CCN3-S, Wade Equine Coaches CCI4*-L & Fiber Fresh CCI4*-S classes.

Cross country for the lower levels kicked off at midday on Friday with the aim of being completed by 3pm to avoid any health and safety issues with the sunstrike reducing visibility of jumps. This was pulled off with no hitches – kudos to the organising committee with Rowan Armer and Jenny Draper at the helm of cross country organisation, as well as the Cross Country starters & officials. A job very well done by all. Chris Lever provided wonderful tracks for these horse and rider combinations to enjoy.

Friday evening saw the Equissage Rider’s Function which was well attended, with standing room only remaining. Thank you riders and supporters for leaving the comfort of your warm trucks!

The 2021/2022 season Series winners and placegetters were recognised for their efforts with the prizegiving being held during the Rider’s Function. The results of the Series can be found on Evo Events here.

The organising committee had an incredibly pleasant surprise when Tim Redstone of Northfuels arrived with a giveaway to five lucky rider’s to receive 50L of diesel each! This was an incredibly special and generous offer from Tim & Northfuels and we cannot thank them enough for this gesture. The recipient riders were absolutely thrilled and appreciated the diesel top up for their trip home.

As per the super promotional material on social media, the initiative to raise funds for Breast Cancer Foundation NZ was very well received and participated by all at the NZ3DE. The brilliance behind this initiative is attributed to Jenny Pearce & Chris Lever.

Jenny’s Pink Ribbon Challenge raised $100 for the Breast Cancer Foundation NZ. Every jump on the CCN95-L cross country had something pink on it. To enter, you had to locate the pink items, write them on the entry form and submit along with a donation. Three lucky winners were drawn and received a pile of pink goodies each.

Chris’ “Pink Pig” attracted a fantastic winning bid of $900 won by Liz Anderson. Thank you Liz for a terrific bid and donation to the Pink Ribbon Challenge for Breast Cancer Foundation NZ.

Saturday saw the lower levels completing their second horse inspection of the event as required when competing in a long format. This was followed closely by Show Jumping getting underway and before long, the winners of these lower level classes decided.

The Oranoa Sport Horses CCN95-L Restricted class was won by 15 year old Charlotte van der Zwan & her 10 year old Edgewater Grace 

The Penny Homes CCN95-L Open class was won by Ashra McAvinue & her beautiful chestnut thoroughbred gelding, TR Horizon.

The Taupo Veterinary Centre CCN105-L Open class was won by Erica Alderton & the 12 year old mare, Sundays Jazz

The Canter for Cancer CCN1*-L Championship class and Thomson Trophy was won by Sarah Dalziell-Clout & the 6 year old Irish Sport Horse mare, Thornfield Ana.

Keeping with the busy theme, whilst the lower levels were completing their competition, the 2*, 3* and 4* classes were getting their Saturday started with cross country day underway. Congratulations to John Holmes & Chris Ross for building brilliant cross country tracks for the riders to enjoy. The spectators were treated to fantastic, up close viewing of our top combinations currently in NZ. The water jump was generously sponsored by Eventstars – would be a great stat to know how many ex Eventstars horses were competing in the NZ3DE this year! Treadlite generously sponsored the splash which looked fantastic with their big bales of Treadlite for all to view.

With warmer weather came the rain on Sunday, at times rather heavy but did not dampen spirits or fantastic riding.

Alena Dorotich & Cassiana Xtreme, second after the dressage, moved into the lead in the Fiber Fresh CCI2*-L Champ class, and managed to hold onto this lead to win following a clear SJ round to win the Mamaku Trophy.

The CRYNZ CCI2*-L open class was won by Molly Moffatt and her 15 year old Stationbred x Holsteiner mare, Ngahiwi Makem.

NRM were the generous sponsors of the CCI3*-L Championship class with Helen McGrath and her 10 year old pinto mare, Woodbine Magic Maze, coming out on top of the class to also win the Picadilly Trophy and the Charlton Stud sponsored, best performed mare of the Event.

The Gardner Family Trust sponsored CCN3*-S class packed with our Young Rider Oceania team heading to Melbourne to represent NZ in June was won by Greer Caddigan and the gorgeous Ricker Ridge Pick Boo following a beautiful clear SJ round.

The popular Young Event Horse (YEH) sponsored by NZPH, began in the morning with the top five appearing in the main arena for final judging at 1pm. The eventual winner of the Young Event Horse was Juliet Proctor and her 5 year old thoroughbred by Sacred Falls, Stirling Falls who also won best thoroughbred. The best mare and four year old was awarded to Paula Brocklehurst and her grey mare, Parisian Affair. The judges advised that this was an incredibly hard decision to make as all Young Event Horses entered could have been chosen for the top five. What an exciting future for ESNZ Eventing.

Following Lynley Price announcing her retirement from the role of Dressage Convening at the NZ3DE, she was acknowledged at the YEH prize giving with a gift on behalf of the Event. Thank you Lynley for your 20+ years of service to NZ3DE and for your good humour & can do attitude.

To finish off the weekend, spectators braving the rain were treated to fantastic riding from our 4* combinations.

Vicky Browne-Cole & Cutting Edge produced a superb clear round in the SJ to add no more to her score and become the winners of the Fiber Fresh CCI4*-short class.

Matthew Grayling defending his title, entered the SJ ring with two rails in hand over Diane Gilder & Your Attorney. Matthew & Trudeau’s partnership paid off and they came out on top of the Wade Equine Coaches CCI4*-L. Rumour has it that breeder and co-owner, Winky Foley, shed some emotional tears when the combination confirmed the title for a second year in a row!

A considerably large congratulations must go to the Event Director, Anna Clark. She has contributed significant hours of her own time towards the Event, all done with a smile on her face and never loosing her beautiful friendly demeanour. Anna’s husband and daughter also gave up their weekends to help out so thank you Clark family! Anna was supported by a fantastic organising committee consisting of Alex Dempster, Jenny Draper and a raft of valued convenors and officials who must be commended for their much appreciated efforts