2024 NZ Endurance Trans Tasman Team by Sarah Sullivan Photography

Kiwi endurance chef d’equipe Ursula Keenan isn’t the only one buzzing about the efforts of the New Zealand team at the 2024 Endurafest Australasian Championships in Queensland.

The team – comprising Lucy Allomes (Tararua), Ashley Cole (Coromandel), Helen Graham (South Canterbury) and Susie Latta (Otago) – notched a 100% completion for third place in the FEI CEIO1* 100km teams’ race, with Ashley aboard Razarback Blue Avatar first individual, Helen and Wattle Tree Amir ninth, Lucy with Shanelli-Park Phoenix 15th and Susie aboard Allusion TA 16th.

The international teams competed on Australian-owned horses. “A huge effort in organisation by owners, event coordinators and officials saw this process work incredibly well for riders,” says Ursula. The horses were drawn from a pool with riders introduced to them soon after.

Ashley’s horse, who she has previously campaigned, was also Australian owned and organised under a different process, which was welcomed by the event organisers. “Our riders and crew should be very proud of the care and attention paid to these horses and words cannot express how grateful they were for the opportunity to ride such amazing horses.

Our whole team were just incredible. They couldn’t have done more.” Ursula says they worked so well together, which was critical. “We rarely get to compete as a team and they need to adapt to that from an individual sport. The course was technical but the weather was kind making for perfect conditions to ride and crew in.”

The New Zealanders’ efforts shone at the Bremervale Justice Challenge which was all about presentation, equitation and recovery times from the ride, finishing a very strong second with the highest team presentation and equitation scores. “There were so many very positive comments about the team there,” says Ursula. “I am incredibly proud of them all.

This was my first trip as chef d’equipe and the team was an absolute pleasure to be a part of. They completely embraced the team mindset at the event and it was a massive stepping stone for New Zealand endurance.”

Hosts Australia won both the team ride and the challenge on their own horses and were pushed very hard in the teams’ competition by Malaysia, who finished a very close second. “Neither competition were foregone conclusions.”

Ashley enjoyed more success, this time placing second in the 2* 120km ride aboard Kurrajong Revolution with Daryl Owen and De-Sharvarll el Dakar fifth. Abigail Enstrom and Rhinestone TA were third in the national junior 80km ride with her father 10th aboard Chronicle TA in the middleweight 80km.

By Diana Dobson – HP Media Liaison