Two of our top dressage combinations will be using ORO Dressage by the Lake to earn New Zealand a start at the Paris Olympics when they compete at the world class Takapoto Estate near Cambridge next weekend.
NZL must finish either first or second on the Asia-Pacific Olympic Rankings at 31st December 2023 meaning the event is the final opportunity for home based combinations to earn ranking points.
The top Olympic contenders competing at the show include Marlborough’s Melissa Galloway and her chestnut gelding Windermere J’Obei W, and Wendi Williamson from Waimauku in West Auckland with her talented young Grand Prix gelding Don Vito MH who is relatively new to this level. The pair competed at the CDI3*Sydney in April taking runner up to teammate Galloway in all three starts.
ORO Dressage by the Lake will also host the FEI Dressage Pacific League World Cup Final, last held in New Zealand in 2017 and won by Williamson on her former mount Dejavu MH with whom she travelled to the World Final in Omaha (USA). In 2019 she again won the Pacific League Final held in Australia, this time on Don Amour MH, but unfortunately the World Final, scheduled for Las Vegas in April 2020 was cancelled due to COVID-19.
The winner of the World Cup Freestyle class at Takapoto will earn a place in the elite eighteen strong field at FEI Dressage World Cup Final in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from 16-20 April 2024.
Along with a total of 184 combinations riding over 600 individual dressage tests over three very full days, it promises to be the best spectacle of dressage ever seen in New Zealand.
According to Event Director Debra Cowen, this is the first time a New Zealand dressage event will be livestreamed on a global platform, scheduled to be screened on Horse and Country TV a leading equestrian sports and lifestyle network reaching over 40 million households through its network of pay-TV and digital channels.
“The exposure we will get from the live streaming is huge for our sport. By showcasing our competitors globally, people around the world can see what our horses look like – our breeding and their ability to perform. We expect it will be a valuable boost for our home-grown Dressage horses and their riders, as well as attracting a significantly bigger following especially as we get closer to next year’s Olympics,” she says.
Melissa Galloway has made a remarkable come-back after suffering from a broken tibia after being kicked by one of her young horses just over a year ago, resulting in the loss of two critical months of training.
Last month, Melissa Galloway achieved the highest Dressage score by a New Zealander with an eye-watering 79.865% in the Grand Prix Musical Freestyle, and went on to win the Australian Grand Prix Championship in Melbourne. This performance included a personal best from the pair, with scores giving them a commanding 99-point lead in the Asian-Pacific individual Olympic rankings.
Galloway has also just achieved a New Zealand Dressage record by receiving a World Rider Ranking of 33, and her horse is currently ranked number 37.
This weekend she won the Churchill Hospital Sportswoman of the Year category, and the supreme prize – for the second consecutive year – at the annual Marlborough Sports Awards.
In addition to these all-important Grand prix classes, up and coming combinations of all levels including ponies, young riders and Para-Equestrians will have the chance to experience this international style event.
Spectator popular Freestyle to Music classes will be held every day. The musical classes allow riders to match music to their horse’s personality and style while completing a set range of technical moves. Music choice ranges from rock to classical ensuring spectator entertainment.
The event commences at 8am each day, concluding at approximately 7.45pm Friday and Saturday, and 3.45pm Sunday.
It will be live-streamed on Horse & Country at https://horseandcountry.tv/live/307511742.