The biggest FEI (International Equestrian Federation) Seminar ever held in New Zealand will take place at the Fiber-Fresh Dunstan National Equestrian Centre at Aratiatia, Taupo, during the Reyna Equestrian Spring Horse Trials on Friday 18th to Sunday 20th November.

Normally FEI seminars are regional (New Zealand is in the Asia/Pacific region) but due to the cancellation of so many seminars during the Covid pandemic, many eventing officials throughout the world are in need of attending a seminar to maintain their status or to upgrade to the next level, so this Seminar is open globally.

42 participants from Australia, Japan, USA, Finland, Germany, and Great Britain, as well as New Zealand, will be attending. Eleven will be hoping to upgrade, and 31 will be completing their maintenance course to retain their FEI status. Course designers, technical delegates, and judges will participate from Thursday 17th to Sunday 20th, and stewards from Friday 18th to Sunday 20th.

The Seminar directors are appointed by the FEI, and include two New Zealanders, Helen Christie, Southland, and Susan O’Brien, Waikato. The others are former international eventer Ian Stark (GBR), Philine Ganders-Meyer (GER), Christian Landholt (SUI), Stuart Buntine (GBR), and Geoff Sinclair (AUS). It is huge recognition of New Zealand’s standing in eventing to host this international seminar.

The course designers for the event are Chris Ross, Helensville, assisted by Campbell Draper, Putaruru. The technical delegates are Neil McKenzie-Hall, Tauranga, and Hamish Butler-Gallie, Auckland, for the top two classes (3* and 4*), and Peter Ponsonby (IRE) for the 2*. The judges on the ground jury are Faith Ponsonby (IRE), Jill Sinclair (AUS), Jenny Draper (Putaruru), and Mura Love (Gisborne).

Adding to the prestige of this event, the 2022 New Zealand Young and Junior Rider National One Day Eventing titles will be awarded at these horse trials. The Young Riders will contest the Portage Cars CCI3*-S for the Charisma Trophy and the Junior Riders the Coast NZ CCN2*-S for the Hoffman Trophy. The top class, the Reyna Equestrian CCI4*, is the first 4* event of the season, so the first opportunity to earn points in the year long Eventing Super League.

Over three hundred horses will descend on the Fiber-Fresh Dunstan National Equestrian Centre, with the event catering for six levels of competition. The three phases of dressage, showjumping, and cross country are spread over three days, with the dressage starting at noon on Friday, continuing on Saturday, and the two jumping phases taking place on both Saturday and Sunday.

One to watch out for is local rider Monica Spencer, a member of the bronze medal team at the FEI World Eventing Championships in Italy in September. The horse she rode there has recently returned after quarantining in Australia, but she has other up and coming mounts in a number of classes. Her student, Charlotte Penny, who groomed for Monica in Italy, will be defending her 2021 Young Rider One Day Event Champs title.

Spectators are welcome, but dogs must be on a lead at all times. Entry is free, and food and drink is available on the grounds.

Virginia Caro