It’s a lead apiece in the Oceania Eventing Challenge at the Land Rover Horse of the Year Show in Hastings after an influential cross country day.

The Australians have a significant 70 penalty point lead in the Land Rover CCI4*-S while it is the way of the Kiwis by 24.5 penalty points in the Fiber Fresh CCI3*-S.

It’s an Australian press at the top of the individual 4* with one through five all claimed by the visitors. Australian Olympian Shane Rose and Virgil lead the 4* on 30.8, with New Zealand young rider team member Bridie Quigley and Oranoa Greyson at the front in the 3* on 33.4, with her team mate Mia Gilbert (West Auckland) aboard Schnapps MH in second on 34, and individual Kiwi Abbey Thompson (Te Kauwhata) on Cadbury KSNZ in third on 36.9.

The overnight leaders in both classes dropped away, with 4* Australian combination Andrew Barnett and Go Tosca now in seventh and 3* dressage leader Olivia Shore (AUS) on Dreamcatcher now in 12th. Australian 4* chef d’equipe Stuart Tinney is very happy with his team. “It is exciting,” he said. “We had some really nice rides out there today and overall it is a great experience for them all. The experience gained from that team environment and atmosphere is wonderful for them all.”

New Zealand chef, Jock Paget felt the Chris Ross-designed course had been very influential. “It was a real course where you had to make a decision and ride it one way or the other,” he said.  The third element at the second water had been a challenge for quite a few combinations. Jock praised Donna Edwards-Smith who had been the trailblazer for the Kiwis on a relatively green horse.  “It is invaluable experience to compete as a team and while it wasn’t such a good day for us, there will be benefits from it and lessons learnt.”

Shane Rose had plenty of positives to say about his horse Virgil and Chris Ross’ course. “Virgil is a good horse and very experienced. He found the time surprisingly easy to get but I have ridden a lot of courses similar to this. You need to keep the gallop up when you are doing those lines.” Shane first rode a Chris Ross-designed course at Taupo in 2019 and loved it. “He has absolutely done a good job out there. Chris makes it fair for horses and the riders will make their own mistakes.”

Lizzie Green, chef of the New Zealand 3* team was ecstatic to have her charges produce four fast clear rounds to lead the class. “It is very exciting,” she said. “Coach Heelan Tompkins had them pumped and they left the start box looking very serious.” The build-up had been less than ideal with events cancelled but the extra preparation had paid off. “These are a great group of girls on and off their horses and it is fabulous to be a part of it.”

Three star leader Bridie was over the moon to be at the front at the end of the cross country. “It is a pretty cool feeling,” said the 19-year-old from Coatesville. “Everything happens so fast out there. I had hoped for a quick clear round and that I delivered. It was so much fun riding around Chris’ course – he did such a great job.”

It was just her second time competing at the show, and the other had been in show hunter. “I came one other time to watch Monica (Spencer) and saw the eventing and thought ‘I could do that’, and here I am.” She was stoked to be doing so well on a horse she adored. “I wouldn’t want to be doing it on any other horse. He is pretty cool, super rideable, nifty and good on his feet.”

The competition concludes tomorrow with the showjumping.

For full results, head to

Diana Dobson – ESNZ hp media liaison
Photos  – Libby Law – ESNZ