April 14, 2008

by Virginia Caro

This year's Bell Tea Three-day Event takes place at the National Equestrian Centre at Aratiatia, Taupo, on 15-18 May, with both seniors and young riders vying to catch the selectors' eye.

The Trans-Tasman Young Rider team is scheduled to go to Lakes and Craters, NSW, in November, and the seniors defend the Trans-Tasman Trophy at Adelaide CCI**** in November next year.

The Trans-Tasman Young Rider is contested at CCI** level, and the current bunch of young riders are well performed at that level, as demonstrated at Pukemarama in the Massey University NZ YR One-day Championship at Easter weekend. The problem of returning to New Zealand after competing in NSW is uncertain at this stage, as quarantine restrictions following the EI outbreak have not yet been lifted, but it is hoped the situation will have improved by then.

New Zealand has lost the senior Trans-Tasman Trophy to Australia only twice since 1985, both times at Adelaide CCI****, so the challenge is to retain it when contesting the CCI**** there next year. Adelaide is the only 4-star event in the southern hemisphere, so is an important stepping stone to international competition for down-under eventers.

John Carmichael, from Southland, will again design the CCI** and *** tracks, with Brian McDonald, from Wellsford, doing the CCI*, which will be run in two divisions, a championship and a non-championship class. Ford will sponsor both these 1-star classes, and Bell Tea will again support the top class, as they have for many years.

The Bell Tea CCI*** is the final event in the Eventing NZ Leaderboard series, which runs throughout the competition year, and recognizes the top combinations in the country. The winner receives the Trssh Birnie Memorial Trophy and $5000 prize money.

The first veterinary inspection is on Thursday, dressage is scheduled for Friday, with all the cross-country on Saturday, and the showjumping on Sunday following the final veterinary inspection.