The Dunstan Fiber Fresh National Equestrian Centre at Aratiatia, Taupo, has once again proved the foresight of those who selected the site in the early seventies to be invaluable, being able to host events when other venues have been rendered impossible due to adverse weather.

The latest event is the Peninsular Medical Centre Horse Trials which were scheduled to run at Springbush, the Massey Farm at Hunua, this coming weekend, 25th & 26th February. The ground there was too wet for course designer Tich Massey to prepare the cross-country course following Cyclone Hale, let alone the further damage wreaked by Gabrielle.

Fortunately the Centre has the capacity to host the event, which will only run 2* and 3* classes, alongside the Taupo Dressage Tournament which was scheduled to take place the same weekend. It is not possible to run the originally planned 4* class as so many of the 4* fences had already been transported to Hastings, where the Oceania Eventing Championships were to be contested at the Land Rover Horse of the Year Show, before the inevitable postponement.

Prior to Gabrielle, the event would have been a selection trial for the New Zealand Senior and Young Rider teams to compete against their Australian counterparts at Hastings, but that is now on hold until decisions are made regarding the Horse of the Year Show. The Australians will be relieved they had not already flown their horses over here.

Around fifty of the North Island’s top eventers are expected to be at Taupo, depending on access routes being open. It will be the first top level outing for the North Island, with all national title holders entered, so eager anticipation for all involved. Dressage and showjumping take place on Saturday and cross-country on Sunday.

Virginia Caro