Brooke Edgecombe rides LT Holst Andrea. Copyright Photo: Libby Law Photography

Two of New Zealand’s top showjumpers are heading Stateside with the hopes of making a New Zealand Nations’ Cup team at the CSIO4* in Florida next month.

Olympian Maurice Beatson (Dannevirke) and HP Squad rider and FEI World Cup (NZ League) Series winner Brooke Edgecombe (Waipukurau) and have finished their New Zealand season as they prepare the horses for their February 12 flight.  Central Park and LT Holst Andrea will be taking the long route to Chicago – going via Sydney and Anchorage – before three days in quarantine and an 18-hour truck ride to Ocala in Florida.

Maurice is no stranger to competing in the United States but it’s been a while – 14 years to be precise. He’s taking Central Park to the States to sell. He and partner Sally Clark, who based in the US before winning her individual silver medal at the Atlanta Olympic Games in 1996, will base with fellow Kiwi Olympian Sharn Wordley with the horse across the road with Australian Michelle Lang-McMahon.

“It’s good having that experience in the States, so it is not so much unknown for us,” says Maurice. “We’ve been waiting three months to get a flight to the States, so it is exciting to finally have a date. It is going to be a lot of fun.”

While the Nations Cup is a big first-up goal, Maurice says a lot will depend on how the horses travel. “It will be tough up there. There are a lot of top competitors including some from Australia and Europe as well as the Americans but it will be good to see how Central Park stacks up.”

Maurice Beatson rides Central Park.  Copyright Photo: Libby Law Photography

Brooke’s win in the New Zealand FEI World Cup Series earned her the right to contest the world final in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in April, but instead she opted to head west. “The World Cup final is held indoors, which is always tough for us Kiwis given we don’t do a lot of that here, and Andrea would have had to fly to Europe before going to Saudi and then straight back to Europe, so all that for just one show,” she says.

“Our trip to the States will give us some good all round experience at a number of different shows. There are shows most weeks within easy reach. There is good prize money to be won and it is easier to get into the big shows.” There she will base with fellow Kiwi showjumper Kimberley Bird.

“This seems like the next logical step after our Australian competitions. I have thought about it for a couple of years so it is exciting for it to be happening.” Husband Oliver will hold the fort at home, ably helped by their young daughter Sophie while Brooke is away for a couple of months.

“I want to see how she goes and am open to whatever the trip brings really. We will be jumping at nice venues and I am so looking forward to different course designers and gear and experiencing those different events.”

Andrea is generally a good traveller and Brooke is hopeful the consistent mare will just pick up where she left off.  She and 14-year-old Andrea will also be missing the Land Rover Horse of the Year Show in March where they would have defended their Olympic Cup crown as Showjumper of the Year. “It is a shame but Andrea has limited time and she has won that, so onwards to new horizons.”

By Diana Dobson – HP Media Liaison
Photos by Libby Law/ESNZ