Hot competition for Kiwi Trans-Tasman eventers

November 11, 2009

from Stan Henderson in Adelaide

Record November temperatures of 38-40degC are expected to continue in Adelaide for the remainder of the week, adding to the challenges being faced by a relatively inexperienced New Zealand Trans-Tasman team at the Australian International 3 Day Event.

With Heelan Tomkins and Sugoi the only combination with experience at 4-star level, the Adelaide event will provide a timely opportunity for our other combinations to impress selectors ahead of next year's WEG in Lexington, Kentucky.

Cross-country action from last year's four-star event.
Best performed in lead-up events has been Matangi based Otago rider Clarke Johnstone, who has brought two horses to Adelaide, the experienced and well performed Oakley Vision and his younger rising star Orient Express.

Johnstone successfully campaigned both horses in Australia over the last winter and will looking to capitalise on this experience here in Adelaide.

Reports are that despite some delays, team horses travelled well on the flight from New Zealand and the 12-hour road trip across to Adelaide.

Australian-based team member Blair Richardson wasn't spared the stresses of long distance travel to be in Adelaide. He drove more than 2000km from his home at Scone in New South Wales, a journey that took him more than 20 hours driving to complete.

Without doubt reducing heat stress on both horses and competitors will be the top priority of organisers, coaches and vets over the days leading up to dressage day on Friday and during the cross country and showjumping phases over the weekend.

The Australians are not taking the Trans-Tasman competition lightly. Although they are being picked as firm favourites to win back the coveted Trans-Tasman Trophy, squad members assembled in Adelaide last weekend to complete their preparation under the watchful eyes of the Australian Team coaches and management.

The Australian squad includes three members of their silver medal winning team from the Olympics in Hong Kong, gold medal winner Stuart Tinney and last year's Adelaide winner Chris Burton.

Final teams will be announced after all horses trot up for the ground jury on Thursday afternoon.