Archive - March 2005

Jockey dies after race fall
Cottle and Telegraph take HOY title
Vincent St James top dressage winner
Power sponsor for Pony Club champs
Dressage title to Kilimanjaro
Showhunter results
Trent retains YR title
Pony of the Year a close call
NZ wins HOY teams event
Third time lucky for Leanne Chambers
Classic car picnic to feature at Eventing World Cup
Steele takes Norwood at HOY
Derby a first for HOY
Access question on coastal riding area
2005 Arabian Nationals report
Top prize keenly fought
Dressage down to the wire
Teen rider makes impression
Dressage champs results
Ireland loses Olympic showjumping gold
Shark attacks racehorse in Aust
Prohibited substance at Endurance Champs
New format for Badminton, Burghley

Jockey dies after race fall -- (Mar 27) A young apprentice jockey died during Riverton's Easter meeting on Saturday, after falling and being dragged for half a mile.

Sam McRae, a 16-year-old apprentice indentured to Southland trainer Brian Ridley, suffered chest and head injuries after his foot was caught in the stirrup. he was the son of former Riverton trainers Gareth and Robyn McRae.

"The horse just kept on galloping with him (McRae) being dragged behind like a rag doll," said Riverton club stipendiary steward Stewart Ching. "There was a feeling of helplessness - you couldn't do anything.

"It was the most awful thing you can view on a video. It was quite horrific. You start to see this person being dragged along. You think it's going to give at anytime now, but nothing gave. His foot was just jammed solid in that iron because it was twisted around."

Riverton club manager Doug Stuart said: "It was bloody awful, it absolutely numbed the crowd."

McRae's mount Queen's Evidence clipped the heels of another runner and stumbled. McRae had been riding for only a couple of months and had already won two races.

The last time a jockey died from injuries in a fall in New Zealand was in 2002, when Ray Hewinson fell at Ashburton in 2002.

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JohnCottle and Telegraph Cottle and Telegraph take HOY title -- (Mar 25) Conditions were trying for the Bell Tea Horse of the Year class, with the 1.60m jumps proving too difficult on the ground for many. The original 24 soon became 10; Merran Hain and Tregonning (Gisborne), John Cottle and Telegraph (Clevedon), and Sue Thompson and Air Hill The Rajah (Hastings) were the only riders to go clear. Four faulters included Claire Wilson on Vita Power Answer Back (Waipukarau), Catherine Cambridge on Kahurangi Tardak (Cambridge) and Maurice Beatson on Primo Ventura (Dannevirke). Eight faulters were Lisa Coupe on Forest II (Kumeu), defending Horse of the Year champion Simon Wilson on Vita Power Swinger (Waipukarau) and Jamie Beatson on Aberdeen Road (Dannevirke). The second round saw rails fall, with Lisa Coupe having the only clear, and Simon Wilson was clear but with time faults.

Hain, Cottle and Thompson went through to the final round jump-off, all with four faults each. Hain was first out, going clear in 45.12. Next was Sue Thompson who dropped two rails, which put the pressure on Cottle to go clear and fast.

He did it, snipping corners and racing home clear, in 40.78. It was his sixth Horse of the Year crown, and a well deserved win. Cottle and Telegraph will compete at the Royal Easter Show before heading to the World Cup Final in Las Vegas with Telegraph's owners, Steve Cohen and Monica Lindemann.

* After a wet start on the Wednesday and Thursday, which resulted in cancelled classes, the rain held off for the remaining three days of the year's premier event. Sadly the Puissance and Pony Two-Fence Challenge had to be postponed and were then cancelled due to the ground conditions. Viewers were treated to tent pegging, mounted games, carriage driving and then trick riding, which culminated in a Palomino horse reminiscent of Roy Roger's Trigger, jumping through a ring of fire which exploded! The explosion was much louder than anyone expected and the heat that radiated was incredible. The horse of course was obviously used to doing this, and didn't turn (or singe) a hair.

Saturday held the Cathay Pacific International classes in Showjumping and Dressage. The New Zealand Showjumping team (non Olympic) consisting of Grant Wilson, Katie McVean and Duncan McFarlane won the Showjumping, with the Germans and Italians tied for second. The NZ Olympic team (Guy Thomas, Bruce Goodin, Daniel Meech) suffered bad luck when Guy Thomas's girth broke during his round. What great entertainment it was to see the international riders taking on the Kiwis on borrowed horses.

The Dressage International Derby Prix St George was won by Andreas Meuller (EUR) on Resa Van Der Ven's Great Gatsby, with Louisa Hill on Gaye Withers' Walks Far second, and Jeff Coenegrachts (EUR) on Catherine Scott's Oscar Del-Lahoya third. A close team score saw Europe edge out New Zealand to take the team award, 186.91 against 185.67.

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Bill Noble and Vincent St JamesVincent St James top dressage winner -- (Mar 24) The dressage programme at the Horse of the Year Show in Hastings concluded with the Grand Prix freestyle to music to decide the overall Grand Prix Horse of the Year title. Going in to the event the two leading contenders were neck and neck with a win apiece.

Bill Noble (Ardmore) on his rising 12-yearold Vincent St James pulled out all the stops to with the freestyle and the title from Jody Hartstone (Raglan) and her imported stallion Landioso, reserve for the national championships a couple of weeks ago in Christchurch.

Vincent St James is a thoroughbred cross by Wharf's Son and has been brought on steadily through the grades by Noble. They contested Grand Prix when not fully established at the level two years ago in the run-up to the Athens Olympics. Now, however, the bay gelding has matured physically and is well established in the more difficult, collected paces required at this level of competition. Noble is a popular and busy instructor and doesn't always have the time he would wish to spend on his own riding. However, he was delighted with the horse over the show and said that he had kept improving each day.

The international musical freestyle gave a win to the New Zealand team of Lucy Robertshawe, Alex Matheson and Jacqui Winspear, but the individual winner was Germany's Andreas Meuller. All the riders were on borrowed horses.

Fifteen-year-old Jasmine van der Heyden (Putaruru) and her lovely Cottage Squire won the elementary pony of the year title. Twice a winner of the pony saddle hunter at this show, he has turned to dressage with great success.

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Power sponsor for Pony Club champs -- (Mar 24) Competitors at this year's Pony Club horse trials teams championship will run under the sponsorship of one of the country's largest electricity retailers.

TrustPower, which operates the Tararua Wind Farm, overlooking the venue at Tielcey Park Equestrian Centre and Wairakau Farm, Aokautere, near Palmerston North, is to be the major sponsor of the TrustPower 2005 New Zealand Pony Clubs Association Horse Trials 50th Jubilee Teams Championships, from April 22-24.

The event attracts 16 teams of riders aged up to 21 from throughout the country's 16 NZPCA areas, with the overall teams trophy and individual cups to be won after the three phases, dressage, cross-country and show jumping.

TrustPower's Community Relations Manager, Graeme Purches commented that involvement with Pony Club fitted very well with the company's support for volunteers who are so important in the community.

"Pony Clubs throughout the country," said Mr Purches, "would not exist without volunteers, whose input gives youngsters fun, training and life skills. The TrustPower 2005 New Zealand Pony Clubs Association Horse Trials 50th Jubilee Teams Championship has required huge input from volunteers and we are delighted to be associated with this special occasion."

The celebration of the 50th running of the event also features a "state of origin" Masters' competition for teams of former Pony Clubbers and this has attracted several former international eventing stars, like Seoul team bronze medallist Tinks Pottinger, Atlanta team bronze and individual silver medallist Sally Clark. Other international riders include 61 year-old Merran Hain, the only rider to have represented the country in all three Olympic disciplines and still a major force in show jumping, Bryce Newman, Jo Wilson, Hamish Cameron and current young star Bundy Philpott. Athens Olympic star horse Glengarrick is reunited with Carla Jameson, the pair former winners at Champs to carry the flag for Taranaki.

In addition there will be an international teams challenge, with riders expected from the United Kingdom, Ireland, South Africa, Japan, USA and Canada, will be mounted on borrowed horses in composite teams. Australia is sending a full team and is also expected to field a team for the Masters competition.

The event is the first of its kind to have its own website, and, even if its official title is a bit of a mouthful, the kids of Pony Club will still call it "Champs", the first national competition established here and still the one they all want to win.

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Dressage title to Kilimanjaro -- (Mar 20) Palmerston North veterinary surgeon Susan Tomlin on her brown gelding Kilimanjaro is the Advanced Dressage Horse of the Year, after a win in the musical freestyle competition. Tomlin, who started her competitive career in eventing and was named for the world championships team in 1986, has successfully turned to dressage. Kilimanjaro, who embodies the height of his namesake, was reserve for the national title earlier this month.

Reserve was Amanda Goldsbury (Waipukurau), one of the up and coming young riders in the sport, on Glenturret, who had won the Intermediate I competition earlier in the week. Goldsbury also won the Young Rider of the Year title from Joanna York (Taupaki) on Kiteroa Kingston.

Former air stewardess Vanessa Way (Oakura) on Winter's Realm lifted the Open Medium title from the national champion, Alex Matheson (Hamilton) and KH Deutz who had to be content with second place in both the competitions which counted for the Horse of the Year crown. Way gave up full time work to concentrate on horses and spent some time in Germany last year. She hopes to go back later in the winter to further develop in the sport.

The Dressage Horse of the Year title will be decided today (Sunday) with the Kur, or Musical Freestyle, and will be a needle match between Jody Hartstone (Raglan) on the veteran imported Holsteiner stallion Landioso and Auckland trainer, Bill Noble with his New Zealand bred sport horse, Vincent St James. The latter won the first qualifier, Landioso triumphing yesterday, so they go into the final event level-pegging.

The first international competition between New Zealand and a composite European team, resulted in a win for the visitors by a narrow margin. All riders were on borrowed horses and the visitors will meet another New Zealand team again today, all on different horses.

Results: Horse of the Year Champions: Preliminary - Amanda Goldsbury (Waipukurau) Avante Garde 1, Katherin Gorringe (Taupo) Dream World MH 2, Nicoli Fife (Putaruru) Kinnordy Gym 3.

Novice - Natasha Bell (Wellington) Huntcliffe Captain 1, Gaye Withers (OngaOnga) Wesaway 2, Jenna Campbell, La Belle Cheval 3.

Elementary - Anna Bramley (Auckland) Greengates Ambrose 1, Rachel Bird (Palmerston North) Wolf Whistle 2, Charmian Pearson-White, Abendstern 3.

Medium: Sarah Matheson-Reay (Hamilton) Volte SL 1, Kieryn Walton (Auckland) Saraceni 2, Sarah Elliott (Palmerston North) Antaeus 3.

Advanced: Susan Tomlin (Palmerston North) Kilimanjaro 1, Amanda Goldsbury, Glenturret 2, Resa van der Ven (Auckland) Great Gatsby 3.

Open Medium - Vanessa Way (Oakura) Winter's Realm 1, Alex Matheson (Hamilton) KH Deutz 2, Debbie Barke (Rotorua) Mzungu 3.

Cathay Pacific International Derby Prix St George: Andreas Meuller (GER) R van der Ven's Great Gatsby 1, Louisa Hill (NZL) G Withers' Walks Far 2, Jef Coenegrachts (BEL) C Scott's Oscar del-Lahoya 3. Europe: Meuller, Coenegrachts & Nicola Geisen (GER) J Craike's Showfields Sunrise 1. NZL: Hill, Kallista Field, L. Matheson's The Baron, Mandy Littlejohn, T Smith's O'Neill Himself 2.

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Showhunter results -- (Mar 20)
Junior showhunter of the year: Wild Thing (Gisborne) Tessa Williams (Gisborne) 1, Zigazigaar (Rotorua) Olivia Middleton 2, Kiltierny (Marton) Tiffany Pickford 3, Mario Lanza (Hamilton) Martin Fox 4, Castellon (Palmerston North) Lucy Akers 5.

Amateur showhunter of the year: Das Plateau (Auckland) Denise Chrispe 1, Hanalei (Cambridge) Robbie Miller 2, Rata Mill Perry (Rotorua) Joan Couper 3, Dreams R Free (Waikato) Joanne Bridgman 4, Squirt (Waikato) Kathryn Corry 5.

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Trent retains YR title -- (Mar 19) Kaukapakapa rider Anna Trent successfully defended her Young Rider of the Year title under trying conditions at the Horse of the Year Show on Saturday.

Only two horses jumped clear in the first round of the Toyota Young Rider of the Year on Saturday morning. The class started promisingly, with the second to go, Hayley Fraser on Icyred, going clear, but their round was followed by a string of eliminations and retirements, until Anna Trent and Katana NZPH delighted the crowd with the second faultless round. The only other riders to come close were Katie McVean and Briten, who dropped one rail, and Alysha Hutton and Goodness Gracious, who went clear until the very last fence, a big spread, which they approached too carefully, taking out the final rail.

The jump off was against the clock, but both riders were more intent on jumping clean. Hayley Fraser and Icyred toppled the second-last fence, a narrow upright that had caused trouble throughout, to finish on four faults and 46.09 seconds. Anna Trent had the choice of being even more careful, hoping to go clear, or risking a rail for speed. In the event, she just did what she and Katana NZPH do best - jumped clear a full second faster than the opposition.

Anna Trent, 19 years old, is a full-time rider. She won the Horse of the Year Young Rider Championship last year on Miss Brunei, the 6 Year Old Championship in 2003 on John Cottle's Kool Bananas and has represented New Zealand seven times.

The Trent family own Katana NZPH in partnership with New Zealand Performance Horses. Katana NZPH is a 7 year old Selle Francais gelding, at present in the top of five of the 7 Year Old Showjumper series. Anna rides another four young NZPH horses, including Lexicon, presently 2nd in the 6 Year Old series.

Results: Anna Trent (Kaukapakapa) - Katana NZPH, 1; Hayley Fraser (Waikanae) - Icyred, 2; Katie McVean (Matangi) - Briten, 3; Alysha Hutton (Pleasant Point) - Goodness Gracious, 4; Jody-Ann Nicholson (Te Awamutu) - Jagermeister, 5; Jamie Beatson (Dannevirke) - Aberdeen Road, William Willis (Auckland) - Comfortably Numb, Simon Harrison (Wanganui) - Magic Moments, 6=.

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Pony of the Year a close call -- (Mar 19) The FMG Pony of the Year went down to the last rail. 11 ponies went forward into the final after qualifying this morning. In that first round only two jumped clear - Palmerston North's Chloe Akers and Repias Rosie, and Gisborne rider Emma Williams on Wild Thing.

The four and eight faulters went into the final and most fared worse than their first round. Biggest trouble was the treble of rustic rails. A lot of ponies misjudged the height of the first element and compounded the problem with a refusal at the second. Jeffery Schofield and Can Can jumped the only clear in the second round, finishing with a combined score of 8 faults. Hawera's Kirk Myers and Sir Solomon also took one rail to take their final faults to 8. Schofield and Myers shared second place.

Chloe Akers and Repias Rosie had a bad time in the second round, dropping four rails; the 16 faults relegated them to 6th.

Last to go, Tessa Williams took Wild Thing carefully through the very technical course. They dropped one rail but ended on a combined score of four faults, to take FMG Pony of the Year 2005.

Wild Thing is a 12 year old black gelding formerly competed by Katie McVean. Tessa, a 15 year old student at Woodford House in Havelock North, was the winner of the New Zealand leg of the FEI Children's International in 2003, and was 4th in the World Final. An all-round athlete, Tessa is interested in hunting, skiing, netball tennis, athletics and volleyball. She was Gisborne's Sportsperson of the Year in 2004.

Results: Wild Thing - Tessa Williams (Gisborne), 1; Can Can - Jeffery Schofield (Clevedon), Sir Solomon - Kirk Myers (Hawera), 2=; Zing - Fraser Tombleson (Gisborne), 4; Scrubfire - Lucy Olphert (Tauranga), 5; Repias Rosie - Chloe Akers (Palmerston North), 6.

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NZ wins HOY teams event --(Mar 19) New Zealand won the Nations Cup-style feature showjumping event at the Horse of the Year Show on Saturday.

The Cathay Pacific International Teams Competition had seven teams of three riders, from Sweden, Mexico, Germany and Belgium, as well a team of New Olympic riders and another team of mostly New Zealand-based riders.

All on borrowed horses, the riders had tried out their mounts in pouring rain and increasingly muddy conditions on Friday. Saturday's ground was still soft but much firmer, and the weather was fine and breezy.

Venezuelan course designer Leopoldo Palacios,set a fairly open track, but with a tricky one stride-two stride triple followed by an upright related fence, which caught out a lot of horses.

In the first round there were only six clears from the 21 riders, two of them from New Zealand - Katie McVean and Grant Wilson jumped clear and Duncan McFarlane had two rails, leaving the team in the lead by one rail from Germany and NZ Olympics. In the second round teams jumped off in reverse order, with the worst score going first.

There were 8 clears in the second round, and an unusual penalty; Guy Thomas, riding for NZ Olympics, had his girth break. Not unnaturally, he had to stop and was eliminated. Because he was part of a team the judges gave him the worst score from the first round - 28 - plus the faults he had incurred before his girth broke. The 34 penalties tumbled NZ Olympics' ranking from 2nd to 2nd-last.

Germany and Italy tied for second, and McVean, Wilson and McFarlane repeated their performance with two clears and two rails to take the International Teams Competition.

Results: New Zealand: Katie McVean - Wild South (Geoff Worker), Grant Wilson - Pico Bello (Mt View Sporthorses), Duncan McFarlane - The Glacier (Sue Thompson), 1; Germany: Bjorn Nagel - The Jackal (Tim Pearce), Carsten Averkamp - Mundy Blues (Des Lowe), Ray Texel - Excite (Amy MacMillan), 2=; Italy: Enrico Frana - Abacus (Jane Burmester), Stefano Fertitta - Meersbrooke Flinstone (Paula Mussen), Natale Chiaudani - Smog (Sally Clark), 2=.

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Third time lucky for Leanne Chambers -- (Mar 17) Steady rain made the showjumping arenas increasingly slippery throughout the day at the Horse of the Year in Hastings and organizers had to reschedule or cancel a number of events, in an effort to preserve the jumping surface as much as possible. Course designer, Venezuelan Leopoldo Palacios, extended the time allowed in two competitions, and moved fences for the jump offs, so that horses wouldn't be jumping out of deep mud at speed.

The first of the showjumping Horse of the Year title classes, the Lady Rider of the Year, was held in heavy rain, with the ground cutting up badly, so that those in the second half of the 38-strong field were jumping out of fetlock-deep mud.

Many combinations wisely elected to retire as soon as they had three fences down. Only three jumped clear; Alysha Hutton (Pleasant Point) on Goodness Gracious, Lady Rider of the Year for the past two years, Merran Hain (Gisborne) and the evergreen Tregonning, and Leanne Chambers on Findas Keepas.

Hutton, the youngest rider in the jump off, had one rail. Hain, riding for a threepeat, also dropped a rail, leaving the field clear for Chambers, who not only jumped clear but also recorded the fastest time.

Leanne Chambers won her first Lady Rider title in 1982, with Emma Jane. She won again in 1999 with Country Harvest Chamonae. Her win with Findas Keepas showed her extensive experience and ability to perform at a high level in the most trying of conditions. It was a special win for her, after her mount had colic surgery this season and she broke her leg after being pushed through the stable door during the colic bout.

The conditions during the Lady Rider deteriorated so much that course designer Leopoldo Palacios extended the time allowed by two seconds.

The most prestigious of the showjumping age group classes, the Cushionride 7 Year Old Series, has been a close-fought contest from early in the season.

The 7 Year Old final at the Horse of the Year Show gives double points to placegetters - very important to a series which concludes next month.

Only six of the 22 starters jumped clear, including the two horses leading the series; Kiwi Relic, owned jointly by the gelding's breeder, Graeme Hart, rider Maurice Beatson and Tracey Brensell, and John Cottle's Kool Bananas NZPH.

Despite slippery ground in steady rain, the riders trusted their horses to cope with the three 180 degree turns the jump off required, at speed. First to go, William Willis (Auckland) and Quiddity set a good pace to jump clear in 39.89 seconds. Maurice Beatson (Dannevirke) and Kiwi Relic started at speed and just got faster. Maurice's stirrup leather broke on the first corner and he completed the course with one stirrup, clear and in 37.23 seconds. Anna Trent (Kaukapakapa) had two horses in the jump off and rode both of them at a rolling gallop, striking every fence just right. She just tipped the second fence to roll a rail with Katana NZPH but had the fastest time overall at 33.29. She jumped clear with Catch Me in 34.99 seconds. Megan Heath and Pablo also jumped clear in 37.42. Last to go, the very experienced John Cottle (Clevedon), shaved corners and time and opened up Kool Bananas NZPH in the run to the last fence to post the next fastest time of 33.76 seconds and win the competition with a clear round.

The win closed the gap between the two top horses in the series to 2 points. Kool Bananas NZPH moves to 114 points, with Kiwi Relic still a shade in front on 116.

Equitation - the art of beautiful riding over jumps - opened the second day of the Horse of the Year Show in Hastings today.

Ten riders in the Horse Equitation were called back to demonstrate precision jumping; they had to jump two jumps with four strides between them, then turn and jump the same two fences from the other direction in five strides. The judge looked not only at the correct number of strides, but the overall picture of calmness and harmony horse and rider presented.

Matangi rider Katie McVean, one of the stars of New Zealand grand prix showjumping, won the Horse Equitation with her handsome grey Wild South. Tauranga young rider, Lucy Olphert, was second on Tiara, and was 6th in the following class, the Pony Equitation.

The Pony Equitation started with over 80, with ten called back to jump two fences in five strides and then the same fences in six strides. Gisborne's Tessa Williams and Wild Thing took the honours, with a relaxed and accurate work out, followed by Sarah Worker on Waimanu Latoya.

Results: Lady Rider of the Year: Leanne Chambers (Pukekohe) - Findas Keepas, 1; Merran Hain (Gisborne) - Tregonning, 2; Alysha Hutton (Pleasant Point) - Goodness Gracious, 3; Anna Trent (Kaukapakapa) - Catch Me, 4; Julie Hart (Hastings) - Victoria II, 5; Anna Stephen (Masterton) - Justaboy, 6.

Cushionride 7 Year-old Final: Kool Bananas NZPH - John Cottle (Clevedon), 1; Catch Me - Anna Trent (Kaukapakapa), 2; Kiwi Relic - Maurice Beatson (Dannevirke), 3; Pablo - Megan Heath, 4; Quiddity - William Willis (Auckland), 5; Katana NZPH - Anna Trent, 6.

Horse Equitation: Katie McVean (Matangi) - Wild South, 1; Lucy Olphert (Tauranga) - Tiara, 2; Julia Fagan - Lakota, 3; Jamie Campbell - Century, 4; Claire Wilson (Waipukurau) - Vita Power Red Bull, 5; Caroline Parkes (Gisborne) - Irish Descent, 6.

Pony Equitation: Tessa Williams (Gisborne) - Wild Thing, 1; Sarah Worker (AucklanD) - Waimanu Latoya, 2; Kimberley Winks (Waikato) - Little Miss Me, 3; Helen Bruce - Shizado, 4; Kirsty McHugh - Innisfree, 5; Lucy Olphert (Tauranga) - Mini Cooper, 6.

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Classic car picnic to feature at Eventing World Cup -- (Mar 17) The Mitavite Horse Trial which incorporates the New Zealand Qualifier for the FEI Eventing World Cup is to feature a Classic Car Picnic. Organisers are excited to showcase an arena-side picnic during the Show Jumping Finale of the FEI Eventing World Cup Qualifier on Sunday 10 April.

The complete package combines an impressive array of gourmet finger food, a range of beverages and of course close-up equestrian action, all from the boot of a real classic car. "It's a really novel and relaxed way to treat staff, clients or friends to hospitality with a difference" said organiser Trisha Waugh.

A variety of real old-timer classic cars will be set up with tables, chairs, umbrellas and gourmet hampers. "Each car will come with everything you would need for a great picnic for 10 guests" said Trisha. The Classic Car Picnic concept has already been well received, and organisers expect it will bring added colour and atmosphere to the World Cup proceedings.

Anyone interested in booking a Classic Car Picnic can contact Trisha on 025 249 3847 or email

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Steele takes Norwood at HOY -- (Mar 16) The first of the major showjumping events at the Horse of the Year Show gave both the top riders and the course designer the chance to evaluate their skills today. The Norwood Gold Cup, with fences at 1.45m in an arena many feared would be slippery after overnight and morning rain, left only four horses in the jump off. Ground conditions were ideal, but many riders found the time too tight.

Sydney Olympics showjumping designer Leopoldo Palacios set a challenging course requiring pinpoint accuracy, especially in the double of oxers. This combination caused a lot of problems, including a fall by Merran Hain and Tregonning.

After six of the field of 30 had jumped without a clear round, Palacios and the judges extended the maximum time by two seconds, eliminating the single time fault for Dannevirke's Maurice Beatson and My Gollywog's and giving them the first clear round.

Robert Steele (Hawera) and Gospel, Sue Thompson (Hastings) and Air Hill the Rajah and Clevedon's John Cottle and Telegraph also jumped clear, all with increasingly better times.

The jump off, over a shortened course which included the troublesome double, started with another clear for Beatson and My Gollywog. Robert Steele and Gospel shaved corners to jump a faultless and deceptively relaxed round three and a half seconds faster. Sue Thompson and John Cottle both had a rail, but Cottle's jump off with Telegraph was spectacular; more than three seconds faster than Steele's.

But honours go to Robert Steele and his homebred 10-year-old gelding by Jaguar from Spot On. Gospel and Steele were members of the New Zealand team which competed successfully in Australia earlier this year, where they won the World Cup class in Australia. They were 9th in the New Zealand World Cup series.

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Derby a first for HOY -- (Mar 14) The newest event at the Horse of the Year Show in Hastings this week (Wednesday-Sunday) features New Zealand Olympic riders and several overseas riders, including Australian Olympian, Olivia Bunn.

The Cross-Country Derby incorporates both show jumping and cross-country fences in a timed competition. All obstacles - including the cross-country fences - are topped with a loose rail, and competitors are penalized five seconds for each dislodged rail.

The cross-country section of the course has been especially built for the derby outside the main arena at the Hawke's Bay showgrounds and includes the creek and the lake. The track was designed by Olympic riders Tinks Pottinger and Blyth Tait, who are confident the eventing riders will prevail over the show jumpers in the competition.

Eventing horses are well-used to dealing with both brightly-painted show jumps and the rustic rails, ditches and water of a cross-country course - most of which are foreign to show jumpers - so the eventers have confidence and the show jumpers are keen to prove that their horses are equal to any challenge.

The Derby starts at 11.45 on Sunday morning, the final day of the Horse of the Year Show.

Matthew Grayling (Taranaki)
Andrew Scott (Feilding)
Clarke Johnstone
Bundy Philpott (Cambridge)
Lucy Jackson (Waikato)
Jorn Van Springle (Belgium)
Kurt Heyndrickx (Belgium)
Olivia Bunn (Australia)
Katie McVean (Cambridge)
Maurice Beatson (Dannevirke)
Daniel Meech (Hastings/Belgium)
Grant Wilson (Waikato/Germany)
Bruce Goodin (Waikato/Sweden)
Anna Trent (Waitemata-Rodney)
Duncan McFarlane (Auckland/USA)

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Access question on coastal riding area -- (Mar 9) Canterbury horse enthusiasts will be interested in a public consultation document released covering a 550ha coastal area between the Waimakariri River and Waikuku township.

These reserves stretch along the coastline for about 10.5km and comprise many natural features of local, regional, and national importance.

As a coastal park, it will provide a number of opportunities to preserve Ngai Tahu values, enhance biodiversity, and provide recreational opportunities.

This area is commonly used by horse riders and many may consider it in their best interests to make a submission in support of continued horse access, and the reasons why. There has been publicity in the past, in particular about four-wheel-drive access to this area. There may even be people sending in submissions against continued access of horses.

The following link to the Waimakariri District Council will allow you to download the document as a PDF, but be warned, it is 59 pages and will take some minutes. It is called the Tuhaitara Coastal Reserve and Waikuku Beach Reserves Draft Management Plan.

For those who do not wish to download it, we can tell you that we can see nowhere in the document where it suggests that access will necessarily be denied. However, users would be well-advised to make a submission in support of continued access and why this is important to them. For one thing, any riding areas without the danger of road traffic are obviously of considerable value to horse riders.

Submissions need to arrive by April 1, and should be sent to:
Karen Friedauer
c/o Waimakariri District Council
Private Bag 1005, Rangiora.
The trust that will administers this reserve land is keen to get community feedback.

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Top prize keenly fought -- (Mar 6) Competition for the Burkner Medal, the country's most coveted dressage award, this weekend was very, very close throughout.

Going into today's Grand Prix Kur - or musical freestyle - at the national dressage championships in Christchurch, the two main contenders were neck and neck. At the end of the class, which carried extra points, Mandy Littlejohn from Wanganui on Jahann just had the edge on Raglan sport horse stud manager, Jody Hartstone on her veteran stallion, Landioso.

This was only Jahann's fourth grand prix test, whereas the imported Landioso was trained to that level many years ago in Germany and Holland before coming to New Zealand as a schoolmaster and breeding stallion, which makes Littlejohn's performance that much more impressive.

Now Hartstone is looking to take Landioso to Australia later in the year to try to gain a certificate of capability that will qualify her for the World Equestrian Games in Germany next year. Speaking after the championship, she commented that this may be her best and only chance to get to a major international event and she was going to grab it with both hands.

Littlejohn was being a little more cautious and would look at going across the Tasman in the Spring to have a try for the qualification, but she remarked that her horse is still only young and has plenty of time, rather than rushing him.

Looking to the future of the sport, 15-year-old Hannah Appleton from Nelson impressed judges and spectators alike as she moved through the competitions on her lovely mare, Zactac Graceful to win the Elementary title on top of the young dressage horse championship. The pair has tremendous potential and Appleton is focused on going further in the sport.

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Dressage down to the wire -- (Mar 5) With the possibility of representing New Zealand at next year's World Equestrian Games in Germany, competition in the Grand Prix classes at the national dressage championships in Christchurch is coming down to the wire for today's (Sunday) Grand Prix Kur (Musical Freestyle).

Jody Hartstone (Raglan) and her veteran imported stallion, Landioso, and Mandy Littlejohn (Wanganui) on her much younger Jahan are neck and neck after the last three days' competition. Both hope to travel to Australia later in the year to try and score the magic 64% over two international competitions, that will qualify them for WEG.

Hartstone and the 18 year-old Holsteiner, which she brought into the country last year as a schoolmaster had the best of the competition on Friday, while Littlejohn on the eight-year-old chestnut bred by veteran racehorse trainer Eric Ropiha, did the best test yesterday. Hartstone, who manages the family's sport horse stud, can try more tricks on the experienced Landioso - but they've got to come off well! Littlejohn's horse is, at this stage, less flamboyant but is steadier and less likely to show off than his opposition!

Fifteen-year-old Hannah Appleton from Nelson is having a super season on her lovely mare, Zactac Graceful. Having won the South Island leg of the Pony Club dressage championships and finishing second nationally, she has also won several Preliminary championships in both North and South Islands. Zactac Graceful was placed top in the North Island Young Dressage Horse title, and yesterday the bay mare, bred by Helen Ensor, and bought by Hanna a couple of years ago, became the National Young Dressage Horse Champion. Australian judge, Dirk Dijkstra from Victoria said of the mare, "She's light on her feet, beautiful to ride and very 'electric'...just what one wants to see in a modern dressage horse."

On Friday Appleton and Graceful won the national Elementary grade challenge final and the series points prize and they go in to today's Elementary championship as hot favourites.

Palmerston North veterinarian Susan Tomlin and her huge warmblood, Kilimanjaro, won the Advanced freestyle to music with a dramatic performance to the music of Vangelis and Robert Miles, with local Jenny Scotter (Kaiapoi) on JK L'Amour close behind after an elegant test to Vivaldi's Four Seasons.

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Teen rider makes impression -- (Mar 4) Nelson schoolgirl Hannah Appleton is having a great season in equestrian dressage with her bay mare Zactac Graceful. Having won the South Island junior title of the NZ Pony Clubs dressage championships, in which she finished second nationally, the 15 year-old is now taking on open competition with great success.

Yesterday, at the Weatherbeeta Freestyle National Dressage Championships in Christchurch, Appleton and her seven-year-old won the Elementary Challenge final from a strong field, with a performance that also snared her the prize for most points over the series.

Higher in the grades, Franzi van Bruggen (Blenheim) on her imported Cavour added to their win on the first day with a win in the Advanced Challenge. The horse was bred in Switzerland and imported by his owner, a friend of van Bruggen's international trainer father, Mel. Van Bruggen, a riding instructor, has found the key to the horse, which had a reputation as being difficult, and has won the Advanced section of the FEI World Challenge.

Despite kicking up his heels at one stage during his test, Jody Hartstone's Holsteiner stallion, Landioso, scored a win the in the Grand Prix Challenge. Hartstone, who runs a sport horse stud at Raglan, imported the 18year-old horse from Germany as a schoolmaster and breeding prospect and his first foals are on the ground this year. His score of 64.63% was good enough to relegate FEI World Challenge winner, Mandy Littlejohn (Wanganui) and Jahan to second on 63.80 %, but over the season's qualifiers the latter scored more often to win the series.

It was a double, also, for Alex Matheson who made the long trip from Hamilton with KH Deutz, by the late imported stallion Dynamit. The pair won the Open Medium Challenge final and the series and look set for an impressive debut soon in the Advanced ranks.

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Dressage Champs results -- (Mar 3-6)

Weatherbeeta Freestyle National Dressage Championships, Christchurch: FEI Intermediate II Equine Herbals Grand Prix Qualifier: Jody Hartstone (Raglan) Landioso 1, Mandy Littlejohn (Wanganui) Jahann 2, Betty Brown (Waverley) Repertoire 3.
FEI Prix St George Vetpro Challenge Final: Franzi van Bruggen (Blenheim) Cavour , Susan Tomlin (Palmerston North) Kilimanjaro 2, Deborah Rutherford (Palmerston) Just Hollie 3, Kate Dodd (Ranfurly) Friexenet 4; Diane Wallace (Blenheim) Danielle 3.
Hobson Horsecoaches Open Medium Challenge Final: A Matheson (Hamilton) KH Deutz 1, H Wells-Parmenter (Whitford) Rubinstar 2, Sonya Heineman (Dunedin) Vandalar 3, Jenny Scotter (Kaiapoi) JK L'Amour 4, Sue Hobson (Pahiatua) Candanz 5.
NRM Medium Challenge Final: Laurel Cross (Blenheim) Winter Acacia 1, Sarah Elliott (Palmerston North) Antaeus 2, Angela Fergusson (Blenheim) Monique III 3, NIcki Page (Kaiapoi) Boss II 4, Miriam Poot (Paeroa) Demure 5.
Reichenback Scrapmetals Elementary Challenge Final: Hannah Appleton (Nelson) Zactac Graceful 1, Emma Malcolm (Richmond) Maple Thorpe 2, Nicola Laing (Darfield) Dallaglio 3, Catherine Edgeler (Mosgiel) Murphy's Quest 4, Sally Field-Dodgson (Christchurch) Amberleigh Elite 5.
Matthews Hanoverian Novice Challenge Final: Kristen Atkinson (Queenstown) Calando 1, Bev Marquet (Nelson) Boredom Buster 2, Noelene Lissant-Clayton (Nelson) Knightsman 3, Anna Monopoli (Nelson) Princess Anastasia 4, Sharon Inwood (Seddon) Padrino 5.
Cavallo Preliminary Challenge Final: Debbie Nelson (Geraldine) All Delight II 1, Morwenna Power (Ashburton) Ana 2, Debee Nunan (Christchurch) Anamoon 3, Di Sebelin (East Taieri) Amirallo 4, Ashleigh Donald (Kaiapoi) Sherwood Accent 5.
Challenge Accumulators: Preliminary: M Power, Ana 1, D Nunan Anamoon 2, A Monopoli, Charlton Jackaroo 3. Novice: K Atkinson, Colando 1, Sharon Hatton (Blenheim) Andora 2, Gaye Withers (Gisborne) Wesaway 3.
Elementary: H. Appleton, Zactac Graceful 1, Wendy Hamerton (Hawera) Pot of Gold 2, E Malcolm, Maple Thorpe 3. Medium: Anya Tovey (Kumeu) AEA Flemington 1, L. Cross, Winter Acacia 2, Mandy Blokland (Christchurch) O Frabjous Day 3.
Open Medium: A. Matheson, KH Deutz 1, Brigette Learmonth (Kumeu) Lord Lagerfeld 2, Glenda Boereboom (Mosgiel) Roanoake Souvenir 3. Advanced: S. Tomlin, Kilimajaro 1, D. Rutherford, Just Hollie 2, Gaye Withers, Walks Far 3.
Grand Prix: M. Littlejohn, Jahan 1, J. Hartstone, Landioso 2, K Field (Pahiatua) Jasper 3.

Weatherbeeta Freestyle National Dressage Championships, Christchurch: Lion Foundation Preliminary: Anne Cochrane (Springston South) Counsellor 1, Debee Nunan (Christchurch) Anamoon 2, Debbie Nelson (Geraldine) All Delight II 3, Soo Wells (Nelson) Gluck Star MH 4, Ashleigh Donald (Kaiapoi) Sherwood Accent 5.
Lion Foundation Elementary: Hannah Appleton (Nelson) Zactac Graceful 1, Anya Durling (Dunedin) Final Word 2, Wendy Butler (Dunedin) Final Word 3, Sally Field-Dodgson (Christchurch) Amberleigh Elite 4, Emma Malcolm (Nelson) Donnerheim 5.
Lion Foundation Novice: Kristen Atkinson (Queenstown) Calando 1, Kay Boon (Leeston) Smoulder 2, Kay Stott (Darfield) Bossanova Phoenix 3, Noelene Lissant-Clayton (Nelson) Knightsman 4, Anna Monopoli (Nelson) Princess Anastasia 5.
Lion Foundation Medium 4.4: Laurel Cross (Blenheim) Winter Acacia 1, Angela Fergusson (Blenheim) Monique III 2, Nicki Page (Kaiapoi) Boss II 3, Shiwon Green (Christchurch) Gosh 4, Sonya Heineman (Dunedin) Cupids Arrow 5.
Lion Foundation Open Medium: Alex Matheson (Hamion) KH Deutz 1, Sonya Heineman (Dunedin) Vandalar 2, Haydee Wells-Parmenter (Auckland) Rubinstar 3, Sue Hobson (Pahiatua) Candanz 4, Jo Wadworth (Blenheim) Greyhawk 5.
Lion Foundation Advanced Freestyle to Music: Susan Tomlin (Palmerston North) Kilimanjaro 1, Jenny Scotter (Kaiapoi) JK L'Amour 2, Tracey Johnson (Blenheim) Royal Aspen 3, Kate Dodd (Ranfurly) Friexenet 4, Diane Wallace (Blenheim) Danielle 5.
Lion Foundation Grand Prix B: Mandy Littlejohn (Wanganui) Jahann , Jody Hartstone (Raglan) Landioso 2, Betty Brown (Hawera) Repertoire 3, Mandy Blokland (Christchurch) Let's Party 4.
Horsepower Young Dressage Horse: 4 Year-old - Jasmin Percasky (Christchurch) Amberleigh Annalisa; 5 year-old - Debbie Nelson (Geraldine) All Delight II; 6 Year-old and overall: Hannah Appleton (Nelson) Zactac Graceful.

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Ireland loses Olympic showjumping gold -- (Mar 28) Following a hearing held in Zurich on Sunday, the FEI Judicial Committee determined that there had been a breach of FEI General Regulations Art. 146.2 at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens relating to the presence of the prohibited substances of fluphenazine and zuclopenthixol in the horse Waterford Crystal ridden by ireland's Cian O'Connor.

The Judicial Committee accepted the reports of the analysis of the A urine sample as performed by the Laboratoire des Courses Hippiques (FRA)and also the analysis on a blood sample as performed by the USEF Drug Testing and Research Laboratory (USA). The FEI Veterinary Regulations Art. 1022 permits the combination of analyses of blood and of urine.

As a result, O'Connor has been disqualified from all competitions of the 2004 Olympic Games, and will be fined CHF 5000. He has also been suspended for three months. The Judicial Committee is satisfied that O'Connor (the PR - "person responsible") has established that he was not involved in "a deliberate attempt to affect the performance of the horse ..." as referred to in General Regulations 174.7.3.

Silver medallist was Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA) on Baloubet du Rouet.

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Shark attacks racehorse in Aust -- (Mar 24) A racehorse was dragged underwater by a bull shark while was swimming in the Brisbane River yesterday.

Trainer Alan Treadwell said the horse, Glen-burns Arm, a six-year-old gelding, was bitten on the rump by the shark, which was up to 2m long. Treadwell was leading the horse off another.

Glen-burns Arm went over backwards and Treadwell kept dragging the horse in. Bull sharks are aer usually between just 1.5 and 2.5 metres in length but can cause death by loss of blood from bites or shock.

The attack on the horse lasted about 30 seconds, leaving a "jaw mark", puncture wounds and bruising around the horse's leg.

Glen-burns Arm was due to race today at the Gold Coast trots.

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Prohibited substance at Endurance Champs -- (Mar 23) The analysis of the urine sample collected from the horse Hachim during the World Endurance Championship on 27 January 2005 in Dubai (UAE) revealed the presence a prohibited substance according to FEI Rules.

The positive result was notified to the person responsible Sheik Hazza Bin Sultan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan (UAE) through his National Federation. Sheik Hazza Bin Sultan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan has requested a confirmatory analysis to be carried out. The analysis of the B sample shall take place by 8 April at the latest.

Sheik Hazza Bin Sultan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan / Hachim finished first of the championship.

The MCP Team sampled 10 horses participating in the championship. All the other samples proved negative.

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New format for Badminton, Burghley -- (Mar 19) British Eventing's proposal for the world's most famous Horse Trials, Badminton and Burghley to adopt the modified Cross Country format from 2006 has been agreed by both Events, after over a year of consultation and worldwide trials. British Eventing chairman Michael Tucker said: "Last year we wanted to take time to evaluate the implications of the International changes of removing the Roads and Tracks and Steeplechase phases, and after much debate the new format has emerged as the preferred way forward for the sport at present. We feel that it is right to adopt the Olympic, World and European template to give our riders the best chance of medals in the future."

Director of the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials, Hugh Thomas added: "Our Trials were of course instigated as an Olympic preparation, and the sport of Eventing, as the consummate test of all round horsemanship, has been seen in many guises since it was introduced at the Stockholm Olympics in 1912. The gradual fine tuning of the shape of the competition requires evolution but not revolution. At Badminton from 2006 we will provide the fair but ultimate challenge in our sport, and as ever a fine spectacle for our visitors."

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