Ben Weir and Lanice van de Heffinck – Photo by KAMPIC


FMG Young Rider Series


The season has been a cracker for Ben Weir who this weekend added the FMG Young Rider Series to his trophy cabinet, joining the dressage young rider crown he won earlier.

The quietly-spoken Auckland rider didn’t even need to start in the grand final (co-sponsored by The Rider Shop) at the Trust House Glistening Waters ESNZ Series Final Show to secure the showjumping title having led from the start of the season and not giving an inch to anyone.

That first win came very early at Hawke’s Bay, aboard Lanice van de Heffinck, and remains a special one for the talented rider. His success prompted him to suggest to his coach, former world champ Vaughn Jefferis, that perhaps he chases the eventing young rider title.

“Our goal for the season was the young rider. I had three really good horses I was a bit spoilt. We just placed them throughout the season at different shows.”

He is quick to credit the team around him for the success. “Vaughn helped, the owners played a big part, as did my parents Jacki and Bruce, and the sponsors,” he said. “It has been a real team effort. To win the series really is the icing on the cake.”

It is busy balancing between dressage and showjumping and his two bases. “I have to stay focused, have a plan and stick to it. I am quite determined and I do thrive on having more to do.”

But he does admit it puts more pressure on those around him.

Ben started his equestrian journey in dressage, and at 14 moved his focus to showjumping. “Showjumping is my passion,” says the 20-year-old who splits his time between Auckland and Cambridge, “but my dressage has laid such good foundations for it. Actually it helps my riding in general and definitely makes a lot of things in jumping a lot easier.”

His win in the young rider series today is his first showjumping crown but he has won several dressage series before.

“It has been a pretty good season. You never know what is going to happen but I do believe in my horses.”

However, there is a shake-up about to happen in his camp. This is Ben’s last season in young riders, with Lanice on the market and Amorcito is heading back to its owner, leaving him with Cil dara Bonaparte. “I will be sad to get off those two horses,” he says.

Ben is driven to win but says at the end of the day the priority is a happy horse. “It is good to go out and do your best – sometimes you don’t pull it off but that’s the sport and it makes the good days seem better,” he says. “Vaughn says it’s just not normal to have this many good days, so it is a nice end to the season. It has been a big season with a lot of work from many different people but all that has been worth it. It’s also been plenty of fun.”

Ben has got a handful of nice youngsters coming through and is looking forward to stepping Cil dara Bonaparte up to horse grand prix in the future.

Things didn’t quite go Ben’s way in this afternoon’s grand final (co-sponsored by The Rider Shop) where it was all about Sophie Scott (Palmerston North), who bagged the only faultless round of the opener aboard Edison DN. Karis Spurway (Taranaki) and Maddox Allheart placed second with their clear round with a single time penalty, with Emma Gillies (Oamaru) on Chic Xtreme in third and Francesca Corich van der bas (Paraparaumu) and Bannockburn ECPH fourth.


FMG Young Rider Series: Ben Weir (Auckland) 154 points 1, Sophie Scott (Palmerston North) 140 2, Samantha Gillies (Oamaru) 119 3, Makenzie Causer (Christchurch) 118 4, Francesca Corich van der bas (Paraparaumu) 108 5, Sam Carrington (Takapau) 107 6.


FMG Young Rider Series Grand Final (co-sponsored by The Rider Shop): Sophie Scott (Palmerston North) Edison DN 1, Karis Spurway (Taranaki) Maddox Allheart 2, Emma Gillies (Oamaru) Chic Xtreme 3, Francesca Corich van der bas (Paraparaumu) Bannockburn ECPH 4, Tara Gower (Ohura) Riverhills Bayliner 5, Sophia Blackbourn (Tamahere) Roxette ECPH 6.


For full results, head to


Diana Dobson – 15 April 2023