Historic Kiwi vaulting team on way to World Equestrian Games

The Kapiti Vaulting club team, pictured with ESNZ's Warrick Allen, head to the departure lounge.
The Kapiti Vaulting club team, pictured with ESNZ’s Warrick Allen and team manager Lyn McIntyre, head to the departure lounge.

New Zealand’s vaulting team is about to touch down in Germany ahead of the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in France.

The eight-strong team from the Kapiti Vaulting Club – including two reserves – range in age from 11 through to 21 years old, are accompanied by two trainers. They left for Germany on Thursday. The team had its final session at the weekend, backing up an intensive two months of work which has seen the athletes training six days a week at the gym as well as with horses.

A Kapiti Club vaulter during a demonstration at Equidays in 2012.
A Kapiti Club vaulter during a demonstration at Equidays in 2012.

Team manager Lyn McIntyre is very pleased with where the team is at.

“The kids have all worked extremely hard and have been so dedicated that I couldn’t be happier,” she said.

“We have been through the ups and downs and now they are all looking forward to the next step in their WEG journey.”

The team will join a 10-day vaulting training camp in Germany, which will be attended by many of the top vaulting clubs from round the host country as well as South Africa’s WEG team.

“We have booked a top German vaulting coach to work with the team during this camp, which will be so valuable, particularly in providing them with feedback and input as we head into this final preparation stage.”

At the end of the camp, the team will perform in front of a German vaulting judge for a final critique.

While at the camp, the team will also try out the three horses that have been provided to them by German vaulting clubs to determine which two they will take to the WEG competition. One of the horses scored very well during the recent Vaulting Championships at CHIO Aachen, which has given the team confidence. The horse mark given by the judges in a vaulting competition is vital to the overall score.

The team watched the CHIO Aachen competition with interest over the weekend, giving the athletes a clear understanding of the standard they will need to be at for WEG. Team trainer Verena Fiess is already in Germany and attended the prestigious Aachen competition. Fiess is a former German vaulting representative, and says she is very excited about this team.

“I have been to World Champs many times for Germany, but I have never been as excited as I am about the New Zealand vaulting team – they are ready for this.”

Vaulting Team NZ has received a lot of support from Germany. “The support and assistance we have been getting from the German vaulting community has been amazing, they are really excited to be hosting the kids from Down Under,” Fiess said.

While in Germany, the team will be billeted with local vaulters.

Equestrian Sports New Zealand high performance operations manager Warrick Allan has been working closely with the vaulting team in their preparations for WEG and he too has been impressed with what he has seen.

“For a group of young people the dedication they have shown has been outstanding. They are focused and really excited about the challenge ahead of them, and I have every confidence that they will do New Zealand proud,” Allan said.

“They have spent countless hours training, just like any of our other senior teams from different disciplines, and are a true high performance squad. I am looking forward to supporting them when they arrive in Caen.”

Following the training camp, the team will continue to train in Germany before arriving in Caen on August 31 in preparation for the first competition on September 2.

The team is – vaulters: Danielle Schwabe, Brooke Dunstan, Lily-Claire Palmer, Georgi Curran, Rhyanne Vasta, Evangeline Goldie, Grace Williamson, Jennifer Ponne. Coaches: Catarina Strom, Verena Fiess.

New Zealand's WEG vaulting team show their colours.
New Zealand’s WEG vaulting team members show their colours.

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