The weather has been unrelenting on the Eventing Spring and Autumn season and unfortunately, the One Day Champs hosted by Eventing Northland was no exception. The ground was left rather soft from wet weather in the days leading up to the Event which left the Organising Committee and Officials with some hard decisions. This horrible spell of weather has taught us is resilience & this is exactly what the Organising Committee, Officials & Riders called upon which made the Event a huge success. Thank you so much to the team who carefully managed the trying conditions & made great decisions with the safety of horse and rider front of mind.

The Event was generously sponsored by Keith Andrews Trucks & the 3* & 4* combinations were treated to a jump made out of brand new Keith Andrews Truck! Grant Johnson from Canberra, Australia, made the trip over to be Cross Country Course Designer for the FEI 3* & 4* classes with Mike Guilfoyle designer of the National 2* & 1*/105 tracks with local Northlander, Megan Finlayson designing the 95cm track.

Saturday afternoon saw host to a sponsor event in the “wool shed” – a very clever wool shed on wheels turned host for the 4* Show Jumping spectating. This was generously sponsored and hosted by Dunstan Horsefeeds where sample packs of Dunstan Treats and Dunstan Recovery Mash were on offer for the horses and drinks and nibbles for the spectators.

The formidable duo of Matthew Grayling and Trudeau came into the weekend holding the Forest Gate Trophy title from 2022 & the question on everyone’s mind was, could he do it again? In true Matthew and Trudeau style, they lead from start to finish in the Portage Cars Ltd CCI4*-S class to retain their hold on the Forest Gate Trophy. Records show that this is not the first time Matthew has won back to back Forest Gate titles – he did so back in 2000 and 2001 on “Revo”.

Matthew had strong competition in the Portage Cars Ltd CCI4*-S with experienced combinations, Christen Lane & Thunder Cat hot off their win in the CCI4* class at Matamata in April slotting in to second place. Donna Edwards-Smith and her gorgeous 14 year old, NZ TB gelding by Scaredee Cat owned by Lesley & David Going, Ross & Kim Keown, Donna and Elise Edwards-Smith ended up in third position and Shannon Galloway and Day Walker rounded off the placegetters in fourth spot after a lovely Cross Country round.

The Waitangi Sport Horses CCI3*-S class had some serious competition with very experienced combinations scattered throughout the entries. Also leading from start to finish and a popular win were Kyle Calder & his lovely 14yo Clydesdale x TB, Apteryx (Kiwi). This combination were the winners of the Waiteko Trophy (first male winner since 2012) and had this to say about his win: “I’m still buzzing about the weekend – what a horse! Kiwi felt amazing in the lead up to the show, and outperformed my expectations in all three phases. He gave me such a great feeling in the jumping phases, even though the conditions were less than ideal. We knew the cross country was going to be tricky with the softer ground, especially in the later parts of the course, but Kiwi knows his job and he really gave everything. There was a bit of suspense as the XC scores came in as I ended up with more time penalties than I actually had (due to being held on course), but I had a feeling we had done enough to secure the win. It was a career highlight to hold the Waiteko trophy after such a great performance.”

Sofie Boswell and her stunning Anastasia ended up in second place adding only time faults to their Dressage mark – this pair are great to watch! Talented Young Rider, Charlotte Penny and her athletic chestnut mare ended up in third and Donna Edwards-Smith and crowd favourite, DSE Mr Hokey Pokey took out 4th spot in the Waitangi Sport Horses CCI3*-S class.

The Dunstan Horsefeeds CCN2*-S class really came down to the wire at the end! Both Scout Lodder & Emily Cammock finished the competition on 31.5 faults therefore Article 641 of the ESNZ Eventing Rules was utilised which meant Scout Lodder & Overnight Success were the winners. Scout was the winner of the Ferndale Trophy in 2022 with her horse Kingsguard who ended up third in the Dunstan Horsefeeds CCN2*-S – very impressive performances from this very talented 16 year old. It was fantastic to have Emily Cammock back in the North Island who made the dedicated trip from Canterbury to Whangarei. She ended up second in the Dunstan Horsefeeds CCN2* class on the beautiful 7 year old warmblood by Zirroco Blue bred by Amanda Roy of Hokonui Sport Horses. Fourth place in this class ended up with fellow Cantabrian, Fabriana McQuarrie & Oceanic.

The Tait Trophy was hotly contested in the Ryco Hose CCN1* class with the eventual winners being Matisse Platt and her 14yo warmblood x TB, Rockquest. Second place went to Sinead Gordon & I Told You So, Third was Sophie Alexander & JL Benedik and fourth was Harriet Gleb on Henton High Class.

The Watco Plumbing CCN105 class was won by Dana Hawkins and the current Young Event Horse Champion, Stirling Falls owned by Juliet Wood. Second was Rosa Wilkinson & Kabo Pongo, third went to Jessica Aislabie & Weiti Tiberius and fourth place was Olivia Sutton and Henton High Court.

There were three 95cm classes – the first was sponsored by Oranoa Sport Horses and was won by Briar Woolley and Delta Solitaire, second was Catherine Burden and My Dream, third was Vicki Robson & Milagro and fourth was Fleur Von Batenburg and Renegades Night Rider.

The second 95cm class was sponsored by Northgate Lodge and was won by Dressage rider turned Eventer, Greg Smith & Secret Runner, Amanda Ball & This Dream Came True, third was Laura Bellamy & Brizzy and fourth was Rachel Wood and King of Platinum.

The third 95cm class was restricted to Young Rider’s and was sponsored by Metalcraft Roofing. This class was won by Nicole Collier & Kabo Cosmic who were also picked as the popular XC Style Prize winner. Nicole receives a $50 voucher to spend at Rangiora Equestrian Supplies / The Rider Shop NZ! To read more about the XC Style Prize, please visit the ESNZ website here. Second place went to Lucy Cadwallader & Night n Day, third went to Kaiya Browning & South Pacific Moves and fourth went to Zara Main & Dingmac Demoiselle.

Stunning photos below by Julia Murch Photography. To view & purchase photos, visit here

For full results, please visit Evo Events here