Sam Carrington Photo Credit: KAMPIC / Sarah Lord

All roads lead to Gisborne this week for some of the nation’s most exciting up-and-coming showjumpers who will take on Australia in a young rider test series at the Larsen Sawmilling 32nd Equestrian Championships.

The annual Trans-Tasman Young Rider Challenge sees four person teams from Australia and New Zealand go head-to-head on borrowed horses over three days of two round competition.

Rylee Sheehan  Photo Credit Cornege Photography

Fronting for New Zealand are Georgia Bouzaid (Cambridge), Rylee Sheehan (Te Aroha), Tyla Hackett (Cambridge) and Sam Carrington (Takapau), with Sam Gillies (Oamaru) the reserve. Australia has named Clemency Hughes, Hayden Parker, Charlie Richardson and Anneliese Wansey.


Georgia Bouzaid 

The clash dates back many years and Australia last won the test in 2017 but New Zealand has held it since, albeit with a few non-competition COVID years in the mix.


Tyla Hackett Photo Credit KAMPIC

New Zealand trainer and chef d’equipe John Cottle was one of the drivers behind the clash all those years ago. “We just don’t have enough team competitions in New Zealand and it brings with it quite a different way of riding,” says the Olympian. “It is added pressure for these young riders when they are jumping for their team.”

Sam Gillies  Photo Credit Michelle Clark

The riders will only be allowed to jump their horses just before they head into the arena. “The challenge is for them to get used to a horse – not training it but rather adapting and reading that horse.”

John says his team are a strong bunch. “We have some very talented riders in there.”

While the Australians were unknown, he had no doubt they too will be bringing their A game. The chance for the riders from both teams to network and create new friendships was another big bonus.

The test will run over three days, with points awarded for double clears and wins. It is part of three big days of competition at the very popular annual championships. John Vallance is the course designer for ring one, with Edward Bullock in ring two.

John, who hails from Australia, is an FEI level four designer and has been part of three Olympic Games, among other top events.

It’s a full schedule of both showjumping and show hunter classes on offer, including the series classes which have attracted some top horses and riders.


WHAT: Larsen Sawmilling 32nd Equestrian Championships, including the Easts Outdoor Work & Leisure New Zealand v Australia Young Rider Test

WHERE: Showgrounds Park, Gisborne

WHEN: January 27-29, 2023



Diana Dobson

25 January, 2023