Best of NZ’s eventers taking on Horse of the Year show

Share
2014 winners Clarke Johnstone and Balmoral Sensation are among 17 combinations in the CIC3* Super League class at New Zealand's Horse of the Year show this week. The eventing starts on Thursday.
2014 winners Clarke Johnstone and Balmoral Sensation are among 17 combinations in the CIC3* Super League class at New Zealand’s Horse of the Year show this week. The eventing starts on Thursday.

The first ESNZ Eventing Super League for the autumn season gets under way at the Farmlands Horse of the Year Show in Hastings this week, starting with the dressage phase on Thursday morning at the Hawkes Bay Showgrounds.

The Land Rover CIC3* Super League class has attracted 17 contestants, including the 2014 winners, Clarke Johnstone and Balmoral Sensation, who are the only onshore members of the NZ High Performance Eventing Squad. They placed third at the Australian International Three-day Event in Adelaide in November, the only CCI4* in the southern hemisphere, qualifying for Rio selection in the process.

Katharine Van Tuyl and Double J Sunshine at Arran Station.
Katharine Van Tuyl and Double J Sunshine. © Barbara Thomson Photography

This will be their last start in New Zealand before flying to the UK, where they will join the other NZHP Eventing squad members, Sir Mark Todd, Tim and Jonelle Price, Jock Paget, and Blyth Tait, preparing for Rio. The Badminton CCI4* Horse Trials will be the first big competition in the build-up, with the squad of six to be reduced to a team of four for the Olympic Three-day Event.

The current leaders of the Super League are Katharine Van Tuyl and Double J Sunshine, who have been consistent in their first season at elite level. They are sure to challenge Johnstone and his big moving grey gelding. Van Tuyl has ridden for New Zealand at Adelaide, but the aptly named Sunshine is relatively inexperienced, although he looks to have a big future.

Virginia Thompson, who moved into third place in the Super League with Star Nouveau after winning the Puhinui CCI3* event in December, is one of six Talent Development squad members participating, all of whom will be hoping to show the benefit of their training.

Seasoned international competitor Donna Smith will attract attention on the over-grown palomino pony, Mr Hokey Pokey, who is making his debut at this level, while at the other end of the scale, NRM Young Rider series leader Jackson Bovill steps up to 3* on his promising youngster Visionnaire.

The atmosphere at this event is unrivalled anywhere else in the country, giving competitors great experience in front of big crowds, and spectators close up viewing of the cross-country action. They pass through hospitality tents surrounding the premier arena, and traverse the lake in the Waikoko Gardens twice, with enthusiastic fans lining the route.

Contributor

This article has been written by a contributor to Horsetalk.co.nz.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *