The in-form Sophie Scott and Waitangi Skynet are making the long trek south to one of their favourite hunting grounds to see if they can add to their already bulging trophy cabinet. Photo by Michelle Clarke Photography
Some of New Zealand’s oldest and most treasured trophies are on the line at the Tavendale and Partners New Zealand National Jumping and Show Hunter Championships in Christchurch.
Entries are slightly down, but with more than 480 combinations competing, there’s guaranteed exciting competition. The biggest classes include the Wade Equine Coaches New Zealand 1.1m horse championship and the Greenlinc 90cm-1m Horse Emerging Talent Challenge.
Entry numbers at the top of Nationals has meant the organising committee will not run the Tavendale and Partners New Zealand Premier Championship for the Rutherford Cup but are pooling the prize money from the top class into the Wilcox Perlas Potatoes New Zealand Grand Prix Championship.
Putting on the champs is no mean feat, and it has not been without its challenges this year, with disruption to the Cook Strait ferries not helping either for those heading south or the hardy crew planning to go north for some of the biggest shows of the season.
While much of the North Island is awash, the skies are blue and temps toasty down south. So much so that Dunstan Fiber Fresh National Equestrian Centre caretaker and show committee member Blue Clark – the previous show director – has been busy watering in preparation for the big event.
Show director Nathan Brown says Blue does a tremendous amount for the show. “The Hampton Oval is in really good nick,” he says. “Being the Nationals, it brings together people from all over the South Island, so there is a lot of collating and dealing online rather than in person meetings to be had.”
The weather forecast was looking promising with temperatures in the mid-20s which would be kinder on both horse and rider. “Riders need to be smart for this,” says Nathan. “They need to ride for the final round from the get-go, not just each as they come. Keep those rails up and produce a nice first round over the table C, then take it from there. It is amazing how much things can change on the last day.”
The Nationals open with speed rounds across most of the showjumping divisions, followed by two rounds a day thereafter. Competition is run over three arenas for the showjumping, with Eryn Duffy designing in the Oval, Sarah Ching in ring two, and Heather McDonald in ring three. The show hunter champs are across two rings with Janet Morgan designing for the horses and Pauline Webby the ponies.
WHAT: Tavendale and Partners New Zealand National Jumping and Show Hunter Championships
WHERE: Dunstan Fiber Fresh National Equestrian Centre, McLeans Island, Christchurch
WHEN: February 9-12, 2023
MORE INFO: Facebook – Tavendale and Partners New Zealand Jumping & Show Hunter Championship
START LISTS AND RESULTS: www.main-events.com