As kiwi Tim Price tops the FEI World Event Rider Rankings with his wife Jonelle sitting in second spot, New Zealand riders will soon head to the country’s most prestigious eventing championships to be held at Taupō’s renowned National Equestrian Centre on 12–14 May 2023. Like all New Zealand’s top riders, before they moved to the UK Tim and Jonelle cut their teeth at the championships.

Taking inspiration from Tim and Jonelle’s success is talented rider Abigail Long, who leaves NZ for the UK in late May, together with her horse Henton Audacious. Abigail has been a regular competitor at the championships for some years, including as a New Zealand team member in the biennial Trans-Tasman competition.

This year’s championships look likely to be a battle between the more established competitors and a very promising group of young riders. Experienced combinations lining up include Olympian Matthew Grayling and Trudeau who will be looking to repeat last year’s double of the 4* title at both the National One Day Championships and the National Three-Day Event Championships and Olympic hopeful Monica Spencer and Artist, team bronze medallists at the 2022 World Equestrian Games in Pratoni, Italy who will be hoping to atone for a disappointing run at the recent Adelaide 3-day event. Leading the young riders’ challenge is 20-year-old Charlotte Penny, the reigning Young Rider Australasian Champion, who won the title at the Melbourne International Three-Day Event last

Despite many regions battling flood recovery, competitors are expected from as far afield as Kaitaia and Southland. While Cyclone Gabrielle left the venue relatively untouched, it has affected the build up to the event with a number of competitions (including the Horse of the Year Show) being cancelled or transferred to another venue. Riders from the east coast have faced an additional challenge with travel time to relatively local lead-in events effectively more than doubling to seven or eight hours.

This year an 80cm class is being introduced to give younger and less experienced riders their first taste of competing at a three-day event. The emphasis in this class is on fun, with the jumps on the cross-country course taking in different cities in the world. Championship classes range from 80cm to 4*, the top level of competition available in New Zealand.


ANNA CLARK 022 313 7668

CHRIS PERKINS 029 737 5467

Abigail Long & Henton Audacious who both leave for the UK in late May, tackle the cross country at the Taupo National Three-Day Event in 2021. Photo by KAMPIC/Sarah Lord