Archive - April 2005

Horse cloned in North America
Horse killed during Flicka remake
Michaels-Beerbaum clinches World Cup title
Lloyds makes donation for equine research
Anky and Salinero win World Cup Final
Champion endurance gelding cloned
Australian quinellaes Chatsworth WC qualifier
Olympic horse events may be held in HK
Snowbound joins SJ hall of fame
Horse cloning okayed in England
International eventers bound for Wairarapa
Zabeel service for charity auction
NZ stallion leads Aust rankings
Canterbury wins PC eventing champs
Otago-Southland leads PC HT champs
Northland take early PC champs lead
Obituary - Thady Ryan
Blyth Tait new manager for Eventing NZ
Zara Phillips joins NZ spinal trust
All-the-way win for Grayling at FEI Eventing World Cup
Grayling continues lead after cross-country
Grayling shines during WC dressage
Pooh Bear goes cross country for WC qualifier
FEI Eventing World Cup in NZ

Horse cloned in North America -- (Apr 28) In what is believed to be the first success of its kind in North America, researchers at the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at Texas A&M University have successfully cloned a horse.

The privately owned colt named Texas-Cryozootech-Stallion was cloned from the adult skin cells biopsied from its genetic donor by French collaborating partner Cryozootech, a company dedicated to preserving the genes of exceptional horses for their use in producing cloned offspring.

Texas is the clone of a 20-year-old European show jumping champion and he was produced for the owner of the donor animal. His name will remain confidential until the model and the foal will be presented for registration in a European stud-book.

The bay colt with three socks was born on March 13, weighing 60 pounds. His weight doubled during his first three weeks. The pregnancy was carried by Greta, a Quarter Horse mare who was chosen for her maternal ability. He comes shortly after Pieraz-Cryozootech-Stallion born two weeks earlier in Italy. The technique developed by Dr Hinrichs in Texas presents a few differences with the one of professor Galli in Italy: Instead of electro-fusion of the donor cell with a denuded oocyte, the nucleus is introduced mechanically into the cytoplasm of the oocyte, using a piezo drill. Dr Hinrichs obtains an additional stimulation of the embryonic development by injecting biochemical extracts of equine spermatozoa. The biopsy, cell cultures, deep freezing and conditioning were performed by Cryozootech who provided the cells.

Cryozootech bought the rights for cloning Pieraz and producing the clone, whereas Paris-Texas was made on behalf of the owner of the donor animal. This is the first proof of a market for horse cloning. In this case, the owner has the decisions of storing, cloning and disclosing the identity of the horse. Footnote: In October 2005 the donor was revealed as European showjumper Quidam de Revel.

The foal's birth makes Texas A&M the first academic institution in the world to have cloned six different species. Previously, researchers at the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences have cloned cattle, goats, pigs, a deer and a cat.

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Horse killed during Flicka remake -- (Apr 28) A mustang was killed earlier this week in the San Fernando Valley in the US after an accident during the filming of 20th Century Fox's Flicka, a remake of My Friend Flicka. The modern adaptation is about a Wyoming ranch girl who adopts a wild mustang horse.

Reports said that the horse was galloping when it stood on its own leadrope and broke its neck. The Los Angeles Department of Animal Services ruled the death an accident. In another report, Animal Services said: "The horse reared up, got caught in the lines and, when it fell down, it broke its neck,". Another witness said: "One horse, pursued by guys on horseback, spooking the hell out of him, tripped on his rope and went down. The other horse kicked him in the head, that's what it looked like to me."

Some reports said the horses being used in the film were wild - American Humane Association (AHA) film guidelines bar untrained horses on movie sets - another said the horses were domestic rodeo horses being used in the film, and they were to be shipped home to their owner in Montana.

"We are terribly saddened by the events that occurred yesterday," Fox said in a statement Tuesday. "The production has taken every possible precaution and safety measure in shooting scenes where horses are involved."

The American Humane Association was monitoring the set when the accident occurred. "This is a tragedy," AHA spokeswoman Sara Spaulding said. "As an organization, we feel terrible that this horse died."

The association is investicating the incident. Other reports said it was the second accident during the filming of Flicka; another horse broke its leg two weeks ago and had to be euthanised.

The accident means the film will not carry the AHA disclaimer saying that no animals had been harmed in the making of the film.

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Michaels-Beerbaum clinches World Cup title -- (Apr 25) Germany's Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum claimed the 27th FEI World Cup Jumping title in Las Vegas today where the closing stages kept spectators on the edges of their seats.

In the end it was a clear-cut victory but the 31-year-old rider was obliged to compete under the greatest pressure and she held firm when the going got really tough.

She is the first woman to claim the trophy since Katharine Burdsall steered the Natural to success 18 years ago, in 1987, and the fourth woman ever to take the title. All the lady champions prior to this competed for the USA - Melanie Smith in 1982, Leslie Burr Lenehan in 1986 and Katharine Burdsall the following year.

Somehow today's title had Meredith's name written all over it. Winner of the Top Ten Final last December and the first woman ever to hold the World No. 1 ranking she was feeling really at home all week as her family and friends had poured in from her home-place in California and they got exactly the result they were hoping for.

"This is my first individual title and is definitely the biggest win of my career" she said afterwards, "its a great privilege to be amongst the great names on this trophy - I'm very proud today" she added.

Results: (note - first number refers to points carried into final day - remaining numbers relate to faults collected in third final competition): 1, Shutterfly (Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum) Ger 0/4/0 = 4; 2, Portofino (Michael Whitaker) GBR 5/1/1 = 7; equal 3, Gitania (Marcus Ehning) Ger 5/4/0, Lucie (Lars Nieberg) Ger 3/6/0 = 9; 5, Marlou (Kimberley Frey) USA 6/4/0 = 10; 6, Isovlas Pialotta (Steve Guerdat) Sui 7/4/0 = 11; 7, Baloubet du Rouet (Rodrigo Pessoa) Bra 4/0/8 = 12; 8, Cash (Marco Kutscher) Ger 6/8/1 = 15; equal 9, Parco (Ludo Philippaerts) Bel 4/12/0, Candy (Alois Pollmann-Schweckhorst) Ger 3/4/9 = 16; 11, Constantin (Markus Beerbaum) Ger 5/4/8 = 17; equal 12, Ilian (Schuyler Riley) USA 14/4/0, Couleur Rubin (Ludger Beerbaum) Ger 5/4/9 = 18; 14, Quibell (Jessica Kuerten) Irl 16/0/4 = 20; 15, Hooligan de Rosyl (Bruno Broucqsault) Fra 11/5/5 = 21; equal 16, Sapphire (McLain Ward) USA 19/4/4, Tempete V/h Lindehof (Eric Lamaze) Can 13/13/1 = 27; 18, El Campeon's So Long (Nicole Simpson) USA 19/4/5 = 28; 19, Laguina (Richard Davenport) GBR 18/4/9 = 31; 20, Cyrenaika (Philippe Leoni) Fra 20/12/0 - 32; 21, Sandstone Laurin (Gabriella Salick) USA 20/12/9 = 41; 22, Arko (Nick Skelton) GBR 9/0/Elim; 23, Andante (Tina Lund) Den 21/12/ - 33.

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Lloyds makes donation for equine research -- (Apr 25) Major equine insurer Lloyd's of London has made a donation for horse research at the University of Kentucky. In addition to a $40,000 contribution announced last week, Lloyd's has donated more than $640,000 for research at the institution.

"Lloyd's is the preeminent insurer of bloodstock, and we insure some of the most interesting and valuable equine risks in the world. We are committed to supporting equine research and to providing the insurance cover to meet client needs worldwide," said Julian Lloyd, Chairman of Lloyd's Livestock Committee and Bloodstock Underwriter at member carrier Hiscox.

"Over the past 20 years, the Lloyd's market has donated to the Department of Veterinary Science at the University of Kentucky, and we have been delighted to do so," Mr. Lloyd said.

Lloyd's also supports The Equine Disease Quarterly, an award-winning publication from the University of Kentucky which provides research-based reports to the horse industry around the globe. Recent reports from the publication highlighted various emerging equine diseases such as West Nile Virus infection for horses and mare reproductive loss syndrome.

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Anky and Salinero win World Cup Final -- (Apr 24) Anky van Grunsven of the Netherlands won her seventh World Cup Final during the FEI Offield Farms World Cup Final.

Van Grunsven and the 11-year-old Hanoverian gelding, Keltec Salinero, performed before a sold-out crowd of more than 11,500. The pair scored a total 86.725% with four artistic scores in the 90s. "I was proud of my horse," she said. "It's great to have two Dutch riders here. I'm really happy."

Van Grunsven's score was possibly a freestyle record, beating her previously held 86.05% achieved at the 2000 Olympic Games riding Bonfire. "The scores are slowly getting higher," she commented. "A lot of riders are now on this high level. I can't sit back and think it's easy."

Edward Gal, also of the Netherlands, came in second to his trainer riding Geldnet Lingh. Gal and the 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion received artistic scores in the 90s from three of the five judges for a final score of 85.225%. The crowd uncharacteristically broke out in applause during his one-tempis on a circle. "I don't remember the clapping," he said. "However, it made Lingh go even better. I liked it!"

US favorite and 2003 World Cup Champion, Debbie McDonald of Hailey, Idaho, and the 14-year-old Hanoverian mare, Brentina, came in third with an 83.45%. McDonald broke out in a huge grin as she rode down centerline to "R-E-S-P-E-C-T" with the crowd clapping along with the music. The audience was out of their seats before she could even make her final salute. "Obviously I was having fun," she said. "My goal was to bring fun, not only for myself but for the audience. I think I achieved my goal."

American Robert Dover of Wellington, Florida, riding FBW Kennedy, came in fourth place with an 80.1%. Leslie Morse of Beverly Hills, California, riding Kingston, took sixth place with 78.475%, and Guenter Seidel of Del Mar, California, riding Aragon, placed 12th with a 70.650%.

President of the ground jury, Uwe Mechlem, of Germany, said, "It was very difficult to find the winner. The level of riding was unbelievably high. After seeing each ride, you think it can't be beaten, then the next and the next. It is frustrating but exciting."

Judge Mariette Withages said, "I thought this was more difficult to judge than in Athens because of the level and the small differences between riders."

Mechlem said Van Grunsven's music and choreography set her apart from the rest. "In the end, I gave her a 10 for music. The combination of horse and music couldn't be better. The style of the music fit the horse and the movements were in the right moment. Anky did it perfect."
*Olympic champion Anky van Grunsven, who took the FEI World Cup Dressage title just 24 hours earlier, married her long-time partner and trainer Sjef Janssen in a special Las Vegas wedding ceremony within an hour of the finish of World Cup Jumping Final - a fitting end to a great week of sport in a city that has greeted equestrian sport with colossal enthusiasm.

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Cloned colt Pieraz-Cryozootech-StallionChampion endurance gelding cloned -- (Apr 14) LTR-CIZ and Cryozootech have announced the birth of a colt cloned from Valerie Kanavay's world endurance champion Pieraz.

Named Pieraz-Cryozootech-Stallion, the colt is the first horse clone produced for the genetic purpose of making a breeding animal out of a sterile animal. He is the second horse clone born. Pieraz was cloned in order to preserve his bloodlines, lost because of the castration. His clone will not be used in competition, but instead will be used as a breeding animal only.

The foal was born on February 25, weighing 42kg and in very good health, as was the first clone foal born two years ago. Repeatability of the technique is now proven as both births were obtained in the Italian laboratory LTR-CIZ lead by Prof. Cesare Galli, famous for many years in the area of advanced animal reproduction and cloning. He produced in 1999 the first bull clone from blood cells. Between the two horse clone births, the technique was improved by better oocyte maturation and more efficient embryo culture in vitro.

World Champion endurance horse Pieraz
World Champion endurance horse Pieraz, with Valerie Kanavy.
In 2002, Valerie Kanavy, the owner of Pieraz immediately liked the innovative idea that in spite of having been castrated, her champion could transmit his qualities to the future generations of endurance horses. No horse clone was born yet when she allowed Eric Palmer to perform a biopsy in order to culture a cell line and to store it in liquid nitrogen. The genetic bank now contains the cells of 30 different horses, all of them being exceptional is their specific category: not only champion in endurance, show jumping, dressage, eventing, but also endangered breeds of horses and donkeys; a nice demonstration that cloning can help to preserve biodiversity.

"The original horse is a champion with a good record, but was gelded, so couldn't have any offspring," said Professor Galli of LTR-CIZ.

"In these cases, the best horses are never bred, so they do not contribute to genetic progress. What we have achieved overcomes this problem; in two or three years, the cloned foal can be used as a stallion."

Pieraz was twice world champion in individual with two different riders. In 1994, he won the world championships (individual) at The Hague with Valerie Kanvay. In 1996, he renewed his sucess with his victory in the world championships in Fort Riley with Danielle Kanavy and proves his value. He won 12 160km races during his career.

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Australian quinellaes Chatsworth WC qualifier -- (Apr 10) Australian Phillip Dutton cruised to victory in the FEI World Cup Qualifier at Chatsworth International Horse Trials (CIC***-W) with The Foreman on 46.2 penalities and also took second place with Hannigan (46.9) after the final cross-country phase at Bouckaert Farm, North Georgia, USA. Olympic silver medalist, Kimberly Severson, who won here in 2000 (Over The Limit) moved into third place following a clear round on her 2002 winner, Winsome Adante, to finish on her dressage score of 50.50 and also take 5th place on the 15 year-old Thoroughbred gelding, Royal Venture. Darren Chiacchia who was lying in the third place overnight slipped to fourth place on Windfall 2 after collecting a few time penalties.

Dutton, who has now won two of the four FEI World Cup Qualifiers in the US having won Red Hills Horse Trials, FL in March, has secured his ticket to the final in Sweden in August for Australia and collected $16,000 from a total purse of $30,000 (the largest purse for a Qualifier in the US) along with the North American Beaulieu Classic Perpetual Trophy. The amiable Dutton was naturally pleased with his horses' performances this weekend.

"Hannigan was brilliant as I would have expected with him," he remarked of a horse that he is particularly fond of. "He's one of my all-time favorite horses; a real character, I've got a soft spot for him," he said. The pair was one of only two combinations to make the optimum time of 4 minutes and 43 seconds over Mark Phillips course, which had been reduced to omit some soft footing after the heavy rain of last week. "I had to work harder on The Foreman," added Dutton who collected just 1.2 time penalties on Ann Jones' nine year-old thoroughbred gelding, The Foreman. "Hannigan made the time easy but The Foreman is not so experienced so I went easy on him.

Severson, who collect a cheque for $3500 as well as qualifying for the FEI World Cup Final as the highest placed US rider, was clearly relieved that the weather had cooperated to dry up the footing and that the course had been shortened. "I think they [the ground jury] did the right thing," she said after returning with the only other double clear round from 26 starters. "I was very surprised at how good the footing was; it was excellent. My horses finished well and I think most people had a good time," she added.

Although Chiacchia returned with a slower time, he was please with Dr, Timothy Holekamp's stallion, Windfall 2. "I was thrilled with my horse, he went beautifully today, he was right on form. I didn't press him in between the fences," he commented. "The course made a lot of progress after the rain and the footing was darn good."

Many riders were using this outing as warm-up for the major spring events, such as the Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event at the end of the month, and were satisfied that the course tested them fairly in their preparation.

US riders have one more opportunity to qualify for the FEI World Cup Final at the last Qualifier in this country will take place in July at Kalispell, MT.

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Olympic horse events may be held in HK -- (Apr 10) Horse events at the 2008 Beijing Olympics may be held in Hong Kong. After a presentation by the Beijing Organising Committee (BOCOG) to the FEI General Assembly, the Beijing delegates said they underestimated the veterinary issue of temporary import of horses in China and presented an alternative plan for hosting the equestrian competitions in Hong Kong.

A decision will be taken by the Executive Board of the IOC on 19 April.

The FEI General Assembly clearly stated its determination to adhere to the original concept of being located in Beijing, together with the other sports of the Olympic Programme.

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Snowbound joins SJ hall of fame -- (Apr 5) Legendary horse Snowbound was inducted into the Show Jumping Hall of Fame on Saturday, joining 54 previous inductees whose contributions to the sport set them apart and earned them the honor of enshrinement.

Snowbound was a mediocre, unsound racehorse, kicking around Northern California in the early 1960s who went on to make history by carrying Bill Steinkraus to the first individual Olympic Gold Medal ever won by a U.S. rider, capturing Mexico City's show jumping Gold in 1968.

Discovered by John (later Sir John) Galvin as a green hunter being shown by Show Jumping Hall of Famer Barbara Worth Oakford, who had bought him off the racetrack, Snowbound was presented as a gift to his daughter, Olympic dressage rider Patricia, and loaned to the USET for Steinkraus to ride.

A brown gelding just over 16 hands in height and foaled in 1958, Snowbound was by Hail Victory out of Gay Alvena and had jumping blood on both sides of his pedigree. He was precocious from the start and equally at home indoors and out, though he was never much at home in heavy footing. In 1965, he jumped double clears to clinch the Nations' Cups of London and Dublin, won the Grand Prix of New York, and capped the year by helping the U.S. win two more Nations' Cups. The following year, he won the Grand Prix at Harrisburg and the Democrat Trophy in New York, and he contributed to another Nations' Cup victory.

This was Snowbound's pattern: try to jump double clear rounds in Nations' Cups--over one stretch he jumped 15 Nations' Cup clear rounds in 16 attempts--and try to win Grand Prix. Always threatened by recurrence of the tendon trouble that had driven him from the track, Snowbound was too valuable to the Team to risk in ordinary classes and was shown lightly. In 1968, he jumped double clears in all of the European Nations' Cups in which he competed. He also won London's coveted Daily Mail Cup prior to the Olympic Games. At the Olympics, he jumped one of only two clear rounds in the first round of the Individual Competition, and though he finished on three legs, incurred only a single fault over the huge fences of the second round to win the Gold.

In 1970, Snowbound won four individual competitions in Europe--two in Lucerne and two in Aachen - -but ended up sidelined again for most of 1971. The following year, his preparations to defend his Olympic title went well, but though he scored several victories in minor international competitions, he failed to qualify for the second round in the individual competition at the Olympics, and Steinkraus was obliged to ride Main Spring on the Silver Medal-winning U.S. team.

After the Munich Olympics, Snowbound was retired to the Galvins' farm outside Dublin. He and Steinkraus had shared a remarkable career and had become one of the best-known horse-and-rider combinations ever to represent the United States. Though Snowbound set no endurance records, he combined remarkable gymnastic ability with a stubborn determination not to hit fences. He was a truly extraordinary water jumper and will always be remembered for his consistent brilliance when the chips were down.

"The one thing I must say is that the USET, and I personally, will be eternally grateful to Sir John Galvin's family and especially to Trish, the Princess de la Tour d'Auvergne, the wonderful dressage rider, for their generosity in making available to the show-jumping team such horses as Snowbound, San Lucas and Night Owl. The Team's jumping record would read very differently, as would our dressage and eventing records, too, without their contributions," said Bill Steinkraus.

Steinkruas continued, "I am thrilled that Snowbound has been inducted into the Show Jumping Hall of Fame, for I think he truly belongs. Like all great horses, Snowbound was very much a one-off, a totally unique individual, with a very distinctive personality. He was not the fastest horse I ever rode, nor the strongest, nor could he jump the biggest puissance fence, and he certainly didn't have the easiest temperament. However, the bigger the occasion, the more he rose to it, and he never gave up. I've wracked my brain for a long time trying to formulate a short description that did him justice, but the best I can come up with is this simple statement: If my very life depended on jumping a clear round over the biggest, trickiest, most technical jumper course I can imagine, the horse I would want to be riding would be Snowbound at his best."

Snowbound joins an impressive list that the Show Jumping Hall of Fame has inducted since 1987. The list includes William C. Steinkraus, Bertalan deNemethy and Idle Dice (1987); Patrick Butler and August A. Busch, Jr. (1988); David Kelly, Jimmy Williams, Ben O'Meara and Frances Row (1989); Arthur McCashin, Kathy Kusner, Brigadier General Harry D. Chamberlin and San Lucas (1990); Adolph Mogavero, Whitney Stone, Morton "Cappy Smith" and Pat Dixon (1991); Eleonora "Eleo" Sears, Mary Mairs Chapot, Barbara Worth Oakford and Snowman (1992); Dr. Robert C. Rost and Joe Green (1993); Frank Chapot and Gordon Wright (1994); Mickey Walsh and Trail Guide (1995); Pamela Carruthers, Jet Run, Richard "Dick" Donnelly and Heatherbloom (1996); Edward "Ned" King, Bobby Egan and Sun Beau (1997); Fred "Freddy" Wettach, Jr., Melanie Smith Taylor and Johnny Bell (1998); Rodney Jenkins, Sinjon, Franklin F. "Fuddy" Wing, Jr. and Democrat (1999); George Morris, Carol Durand and Touch of Class (2000); Eugene R. Mische, Lt. Colonel John W. Russell, Bobby Burke, and Untouchable (2001); Harry R. Gill, Clarence L. "Honey" Craven, Calypso and Gem Twist (2002), and Mainspring and J. Russell Stewart, Sr. (2003).

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Horse cloning okayed in England -- (Apr 4) The equine fertility unit at Cambridge University has been given government permission to clone horses for research purposes.

Professor of the unit, Dr. William "Twink" Allen, one of racing's foremost experts on the subject, says he is pleased with the decision, but disappointed he is not allowed to clone for commercial reasons. "The value of the cloning there would be to recreate the champion gelding, or at least his testicles," he said.

Prof Allen pioneered a donkey implantation technique that allowed a horse to give birth to a donkey at Monash University, Australia, in February 2002, and his team was behind the birth of Europe's first test-tube foals, Quickzee and Eazee, in Newmarket in May 2001. The professor will now be able use nuclear transfer to carry out further experiments.

The team will use the same technique used to clone Dolly the sheep a nuclear transfer in which the nucleus of one animal is placed inside the hollowed out egg of another.

The world's first cloned horse, Prometea, was produced in May 2003 by scientists in Cremona, Italy.

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International eventers bound for Wairarapa -- (Apr 26) Organisers say record entries for this weekend's Ford Explorer National One Day Equestrian Championships in Wairarapa can only enhance the sport's international prospects as it begins a long term buildup for Beijing 2008.

More than 140 horses and riders have entered the championships at Tauherenikau racecourse, near Featherston, and the line up includes two of last year's Athens Olympians.

Taranaki's Matthew Grayling has opted to rest his Games mount Revo but is in scintillating form with a new ride, Gordon, on which he won this month's FEI World Cup qualifying round in the Waikato.

That success means Grayling will be gunning for five straight wins when he and Gordon line up in the Advanced, or three star, division. He also has a second contender in this class, the veteran Klinsmann.

A decision by Canterbury's Montgomery family to offer Grayling the ride on Gordon appears to have paid off, with the tantalising long term prospect of a Games berth at stake.

"It's great to see riders like Matthew continuing to progress after Athens," said Event director Andy Pottinger. "And make no bones about it, this weekend represents an excellent chance for any rider to enhance their international prospects."

Both the Tauherenikau competition and next month's Bell Tea National Three Day Event at Taupo are regarded as key stepping stones to this year's major challenge, a Trans Tasman clash against Australia in Adelaide.

"We really want to take it to the Aussies in November, so all these horses and riders need to be up and running now," said Pottinger.

New Zealand's highest place eventer from Athens, Heelan Tompkins, is also competing at Tauherenikau but does not have a horse in contention for the three star division.

Other big names include experienced international Andrew Scott (Feilding), who has three rides in the advanced class, while Bay of Plenty's Barbara Wallis will start two in a field of 22. 38 riders will contest the two star (intermediate) class and there are 53 contenders for the novice championship, including Wairarapa riders Brett Winter on Thomas de Brett, Emma Borlase on Cimarron Spirit Wind, Sarah Kendall on Sharvani and Daryl Hodder on Take a Break and The Affair.

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Zabeel service for charity auction -- (Apr 25) Super sire Zabeel is the latest in a list of high profile supporters of a new charity - set-up to raise funds for research into finding a cure for spinal cord injury.

Zabeel, owned by Cambridge Stud, will have a stud service nomination auctioned at the CatWalk Trust's fundraising dinner in Auckland on 23 June. A service to Zabeel usually goes for more than $95,000, and this one is expected to attract some high spirited bidding.

"Zabeel is the most successful living sire standing in Australasia and I'm hopeful the auctioning of this service nomination will attract considerable interest and raise significant funds for the Trust," owner Patrick Hogan said.

"Zabeel's father Sir Tristram, in his day, was in huge demand, services by him made up to $200,000 and this time it's a case of like father, like son".

Trust founder and international equestrian Catriona Williams, herself confined to a wheelchair following a riding incident three years ago, says Zabeel's involvement is hugely appropriate. "A high proportion of spinal cord injuries in New Zealand are a result of equestrian accidents so we're extremely grateful to Sir Patrick and Justine Lady Hogan for this generous contribution to our cause," she says.

The CatWalk Trust, which was launched last week, has secured a strong contingency of high profile supporters. Royal Zara Phillips is the Trust's international patron, with New Zealand based patrons including sporting greats Sir Brian Lochore, Dion Nash, Aaron Slight and Lance O'Sullivan.

Other items to be auctioned at the high profile event include a return Cathay Pacific business class airfare to the UK with a golf package at Woburn Abbey.

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NZ stallion leads Aust rankings -- (Apr 25) For the third year in arrow Foxton based Pinto Stallion Sherron Shadow Caster has won the Highest points Sporting Horse for the Australian National Saddle Horse Association throughout Australia.

There are more than 7000 Horses registered throughout Australia, and Sherron Shadow is the only Registered ANSA Horse in NZ. Last season he had the highest points in the Campdrafting Horse of the year as well, and finished 4th in the overall highest points of the year awards only being beaten by 16 points by the winner.

Owner Ron Weller is over the moon with his pride and joy. "I bred him myself and when we moved here to New Zealand eight years ago we put him on a plane and brought him with us.

"This year I took him to NZ Horse of the year where he won Champion Senior Games Horse, and he also won the overall highest points open tent pegging horse and was in the Champion pair of tent pegging horses. You name it this little horse has done it with success in the horse world even Harness classes."

Mr Weller says he is considering taking Sherron Shadow Caster to Brisbane in August for the Royal Show, to take on the Best of the ANSA and Pinto Horses in his final year of showing. "We will chase our 4th year in a row to win the highest points sport Horse of the year as it would be a great way to retire him," Mr Weller says.

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Canterbury wins PC eventing champs -- (Apr 24) The Canterbury Pony Club team followed the Crusaders' narrow win on Saturday night, with a narrow win in the 2005 TrustPower 50th Jubilee Teams Eventing Championships yesterday at Aokautere, Palmerston North.

Third after dressage and cross-country, where two of the team of six were eliminated, the four remaining riders made sure to be right in contention with clear show jumping rounds.

Individually, Carissa McGregor won the DC Trophy for the leading junior competitor. The 16 year-old, a pupil at St Margaret's College and member of Christchurch Pony Club, lay second after dressage on the first day. She and her 14 year-old dark bay gelding Indian Rebel had a dream run on the technical, hilly cross-country course where the overnight dressage leader, Minta Smith (Franklin-Thames Valley) on Solitaire 3 were eliminated. A clear show jumping round secured the win for McGregor.

The margin between the top teams after cross-country, Friday's dressage leaders Northland having dropped down the rankings, was very slight, just 1.29 dividing overnight leaders Otago-Southland, Hawkes Bay and Canterbury with Waitema-Rodney hovering dangerously close.

With a few rails down in the junior section, Canterbury was in the hot seat of the lead, and their seniors Rachel Lenton on Willow Bend and Angus Taylor on Why Mac were the last two to jump. Faults from the southerners and Hawkes Bay had given them a little more of a margin, but the pair went clear to seal the win without doubt. Lenton, 19, is a member of North Canterbury PC and is in the NZ Eventing Talent ID Squad with her 14 year-old bay gelding. Taylor, 18, a pupil at Christ's College, is also from the North Canterbury club and on the same talent squad with his 12 year-old novice eventer. The other junior in the Canterbury team was Andrew McGregor, from Christchurch, another member of the eventing talent squad on the 15 year-old Classical Rhythm, an experienced three star eventer. This pair finished third individually.

Otago-Southland dropped a place with all but one of their team faulting in the show jumping, Hawkes Bay also slipping to third, but the margin between these two was less than half a penalty at the end of the three days.

The individual senior A1 Cup went to Northland team captain, Kelly Wells-MacClure, a 20 year-old law and arts student at Auckland University, and member of Whangerei Pony Club. A classy dressage test to lead was followed by a foot-perfect cross-country and clear show jumping. Her 13-year-old chestnut thoroughbred, Flyway, is an advanced eventer owned by her mother, Sheena, and Whitford rider Wendy Felton who took the horse through to advanced eventing and Medium dressage before going overseas. Flyway was originally bought for Kelly's sister, but she took over the ride this season and, apart from the horse establishing who was boss by dumping Kelly at their first outing, they have formed a winning partnership.

A Wairarapa-Wellington team of former international Hamish Cameron, Sonia Falloon, Vanessa Brownie and Sonya Mason, won the Masters Competition, a celebration for the 50th "Champs", while the individual top scorer was Athens Olympic veteran Glengarrick, reunited with Karla Hiestand (nee Jamieson), the combination which won the junior title in 1994. Australia won the international teams class.

Teams Trophy: Canterbury (Carissa McGregor, Indian Rebel; Rochelle McGregor, Rainbow Joshua; Andrew McCorkindale, Classical Rhythm; Rachel Lenton, Willow Bend; Hanna Barley, Just Jitterbug; Angus Taylor, Why Mac) 156.48 1;
Otago-Southland (Lauren Tippet, Our Tom Thumb; Katie Christie, Armistad; Hollie Swain, Henry Rudd; Jackie Hugheson, Alingi; Suzanne Black, Cinda Rella; Clarke Johnstone, 45 South) 168.11 2;
Hawkes Bay (Laken Rose Scare 'D' Cat; Tim Thorburn, Pepp; Thomas Walshe, Kudos; Laura Sykes, Kiwi Lad; Erin Maher, Gallant Man; Amanda Bellerby, Benefactor) 168.44 3;
Waitemata-Rodney (Deborah Mansell, MacAllister; Marisna Roodt, The Countryman; Kaylee Anderson, Do Tell; Amanda Kelly, Pouliche; Chanel Campbell, Damascus; Edward Ewbank, Habakkuk Clannad) 170.59 4;
Bay of Plenty (Sarah Koster,Almelad; Corrine Smit, Little Sir Echo; Megan Laing, Wai; Alex Palmer, Beau Dandy; Daniel Wilks Tullamore; Ross Lawrence, Amongst Friends) 173.70 5;
Auckland 187.70 6; Wairarapa-Wellington 212.40 7; Waikato 213.95 8; Ashburton-South Canterbury-North Otago 229.83 9; Northland 249.17 10; Marlborough-Nelson-West Coast 254.43 11; Franklin-Thames Valley 284.98 12; Manawatu-West Coast 419.21.
Horsemastership Award: Auckland.
A1 Cup (17-21): Kelly Wells-MacClure (Northland) Flyway 32.96 1; Chanel Campbell (Waitemata-Rodney) Damascus 34.26 2; Jackie Hughson (Otago-Southland) Alingi 35.19 3; Erin Maher (Hawke's Bay) Gallant Man 35.37 4; Emma Fraser (Northland) Ridgewood Smarty Pants 36.67 5.
DC Trophy (Junior): Carissa McGregor (Canterbury) Indian Rebel 31.30 1; Tara Harvey (Taranaki) The Zeus 33.89 2; Andrew McCorkindale (Canterbury) Classical Rhythm 38.33 3; Lauren Tippett (Otago-Southland) Our Tom Thumb 38.44 4; Freya Thomson (Wairarapa-Wellington) Preferido Heights 39.81 5.

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Otago-Southland leads PC HT champs -- (Apr 23) Fortunes fluctuated dramatically on the cross-country phase at the TrustPower 50th Jubilee NZ Pony Club horse trials championships near Palmerston North yesterday.

With two of their three junior riders eliminated and one of their seniors having a fall, the dressage winners from Northland are now well down the team standings, although team captain, Kelly Wells-MacClure and Flyway had a great round to hold their lead in the A1 Cup, senior, competition.

The Canterbury team retained its third position. Junior Canterbury rider Carissa McGregor on Indian Rebel, had a clear round, to move up to first place going into today's show jumping after dressage leader, Minta Smith and Solitaire 3 had trouble on the hilly, technical cross-country track and were eliminated.

The Otago-Southland team, fourth after dressage, rocketed into the lead in the teams trophy with five of their six riders jumping clear.

Hawkes Bay's team also had a good day, moving up to third after cross-country from a being in equal seventh position after dressage, five out of their six riders jumping clear.

Taranaki, second after dressage, didn't enjoy the same success, dropping out of teams contention after two of their juniors were eliminated, although Tara Harvey and The Zeus are second in the junior individual competition.

However, the position at the top of the teams table is very close and to hang on to their placings, the leading teams will have to be very accurate in their show jumping.

Results (after second day):
Teams: Otago-Southland (Lauren Tippet, Our Tom Thumb; Katie Christie, Armistad; Hollie Swain, Henry Rudd; Jackie Hugheson, Alingi; Suzanne Black, Cinda Rella; Clarke Johnstone, 45 South) 155.19 1; Hawkes Bay (Laken Rose Scare 'D' Cat; Tim Thorburn, Pepp; Thomas Walshe, Kudos; Laura Sykes, Kiwi Lad; Erin Maher, Gallant Man; Amanda Bellerby, Benefactor) 155.93 2; Canterbury (Carissa McGregor, Indian Rebel; Rochelle McGregor, Rainbow Joshua; Andrew McCorkindale, Classical Rhythm; Rachel Lenton, Willow Bend; Hanna Barley, Just Jitterbug; Angus Taylor, Why Mac) 156.48 3. Waitemata-Rodney 162.59 4; Bay of Plenty 173.0 5.
A1 Cup (17-21): Kelly Wells-MacClure (Northland) Flyway 32.96 1; Chanel Campbell (Waitemata-Rodney) Damascus 34.26 2; Jackie Hughson (Otago-Southland) Alingi 35.19 3; Erin Maher (Hawke's Bay) Gallant Man 35.47 4; Emma Fraser (Northland) Ridgewood Smarty Pants 36.67 5.
DC Trophy (Juniors): Carissa McGregor (Canterbury) Indian Rebel 31.30 1; Tara Harvey (Taranaki) The Zeus 33.89 2; Lauren Tippett (Otago-Southland) Our Tom Thumb 34.44 3; Andrew McCorkindale (Canterbury) Classical Rhythm 38.33 4; Freya Thomson (Wairarapa-Wellington) Preferido Heights 39.81 5.

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Northland take early PC champs lead -- (Apr 22) The Northland team has taken the early lead at the TrustPower 50th Jubilee Pony Club horse trials championships at Aokautere near Palmerston North.

After the dressage phase, Northland team captain Kelly Wells-MacClure from Whangarei on the 13 year-old Flyway is lying first of the senior riders (17-21) in the A1 Cup competition, scoring 32.96. Wells-MacClure is a law and arts student at Auckland University and only started riding Flyway this season, taking over from her younger sister. The pair have built a good partnership in a short time, winning their only horse trials outing at Whangarei. They represented Northland at the national Pony Club dressage championships in January, but a paddock accident on the way to Taupo for the competition left the horse sore and he didn't perform up to his ability.

Yesterday, however, he impressed the judges with his performance. Wells-MacClure won the junior, Dorothy Campbell Trophy, event in 2000 and was second the following year.

The other Northland seniors had solid performances, with Emma Fraser (Whangarei) on Ridgewood Smarty Pants lying 7th on 36.67, Nadine McFadzien (Bay of Islands) on Little Big Man in 18th place on 41.48. The Northland junior riders did equally well, with Cara McLelland (Bay of Islands) on Still as a Statue third in the DC Trophy, Kylie Watts (Whangarei) Totem Pole 4th and Jana Hurley (Bay of Islands) 25th.

Following in her family's hoofprints, Minta Smith riding Solitaire 3 for Franklin-Thames Valley is leading the DC Trophy. The 14 year-old is a niece of former international team member Andrew Scott and grand-daughter of Warren Scott, a past president of the NZ Equestrian Federation and himself a leading rider in his youth.

Second is Carissa McGregor on Indian Rebel, representing Canterbury.

The teams standings have the usually strong challengers Taranaki in second spot and Canterbury third. The margins are narrow and today's cross-country course is likely to have a considerable influence on the standings by the end of the day. Show jumping is on Sunday.

In the special Masters "State of Origin" competition for former Pony Clubbers, international experience is showing with 1988 Olympic team bronze medallist Tinks Pottinger (Tinui) riding Lunchtime Rock for Hawkes Bay leading from Taranaki's Carla Jamieson reunited with Athens Olympic veteran Glengarrick, this combination members of the winning team in 1994, 95 and 96, and 1994 DC Trophy winners. They are followed by four former internationals - Bryce Newman (Bulls) riding for his old area Bay of Plenty is third on Bates Marcus, Heelan Tompkins riding for Taranaki on Portrait, and Atlanta Olympics silver medallist Sally Clark (Dannevirke) riding for Manawatu-West Coast on Ambidextrous. Taranaki lead the teams from Manawatu-West Coast NO 1 and Wairarapa-Wellington No 1.

Results: Northland (Jana Hurley, Adhoc; Kirsity Bale, Thunder Mountain Blue Ben; Cara McClelland, Still as a Statue; Emma Fraser, Ridgewood Smarty Pants; Nadine McFadzien, Little Big Man; Kelly Wells-MacClure, Flyway) 134.63 1; Taranaki (Courtney Newton, Odd Spot; Tara Harvey, The Zeus; Cherie Holdom, Ice Cold; Jon Smyth, Our Zapa; Stacey Managh, JK Soda Pop; Fraser King, Carnegie) 146.48 2; Canterbury (Carissa McGregor, Indian Rebel; Rochelle McGregor, Rainbow Joshua; Andrew McCorkindale, Classical Rhythm; Rachel Lenton, Willow Bend; Hanna Barley, Just Jitterbug; Angus Taylor, Why Mac) 147.96 3. Otago-Southland 149.81 4; Franklin-Thames Valley 152.22 5; Waikato 1533.33 6; Auckland & Hawkes Bay 155.93 7eq; Manawatu-West Coast 160 9; Waitemata-Rodney 160.19 10; Ashburton-South Canterbury-North Otago 164.63 11; Wairarapa-Hutt Valley-Wellingto 167.96 12; Bay of Plenty 172.78 13; Marlborough-Nelson-West Coast 187.04 14. A1 Cup (17-21): Kelly Wells MacClure (Northland) Flyway 32.96 1; Kristy Hanks (Waikato) Banana Republic 34.07 2; Chanel Campbell (Waitemata-Rodney) Damascus 34.26 3; Jackie Hughson (Otago-Southland) Alingi 35.19 4; Erin Maher (Hawkes Bay) Galant Man 35.37 5; Natalie Russell (Ashburton-South Canterbury-North Otago) Merlin II 35.56 6; Emma Fraser (Northland) Ridgewood Smarty Pants 36.67 7; Clarke Johnstone (Otago-Southland) 45 South 36.85 8; Fraser King (Waikato) Carnegie 37.22 9; Nicola Kahn (Auckland) Prince Alydar 37.78 10.
DC Trophy (Junior): Minta Smith (Franklin-Thames Valley) Solitaire 3 30.56 1; Carissa McGregor (Canterbury) Indian Rebel 31.30 2; Cara McLelland (Northland) Still as a Statue 32.04 3; Kylie Watts (Northland) Totem Pole 32.96 4; Tara Harvey (Taranaki) The Zeus 33.89 5; Karla Tarr (Auckland) Walkabout 34.07 6; Lauren Tippett (Otago-Southland) Our Tom Thumb 34.44 7; Cherie Holdom (Taranaki) Ice Cold 34.81 8; Rochelle McGregor (Canterbury) Rainbow Joshua 36.11 9; Jo Beazley (Manawatu-West Coast) Woody & Nick Brooks (Waikato) Groove Armada 37.59 10eq.
Masters Competition: Taranaki 99.64 1; Manawatu-West Coast No 1 102.14 2; Wairarapa-Wellington No 1 102.50 3.
Individual: Tinks Pottinger (Hawkes Bay) Lunchtime Rock 27.14 1; Carla Jamies (Taranaki) Glengarrick 28.21 2; Bryce Newman (Bay of Plenty) Bates Marcus 28.93 3.
International Competition: Teams - Six Nations 139.64 1; New Zealand 158.21 2; Australia 172.503. Individual: Tory Smith (USA) CTS Sokuson 33.21 1; Erin Tuohy (Ireland) Global Warning 35 2; Amelia Clarke (NZL) Nasdaq, Lili Janse van Rensburg (South Africa) Pintado Chevalle, Kirstie Fossett (AUS) Stoney Mara & Becky Medlock (GBR) Monty 36.07 3eq.

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Obituary - Thady Ryan -- (Apr 20)
by Patricia Feehily, of the Limerick Leader
The late Thady Ryan in action with his beloved Scarteens
The late Thady Ryan in action with his beloved Scarteens.

Thady Ryan, the former master of the Scarteen Hounds, one of the most famous packs in the world, was laid to rest on January 11 in New Zealand, far from his beloved Galtee mountains in Ireland.

Aged 81, he died in New Zealand at the weekend where he and his wife Anne had lived for over a decade, and where he once said he had known "the most marvellous sunsets".

At his own request, his remains were encased in a coffin of solid oak made from a tree that grew at his old home in Scarteen, near Knocklong.

Huntsman, horseman, farmer, sporting ambassador, Thady was larger than life. He had an extraordinary life by any standards and chronicled it all two years ago in his autobiography "My Privileged Life".

It was privileged, certainly. He came from an old Irish Catholic family, kinsmen of the Liberator, Daniel O'Connell and enjoyed a happy childhood home, peopled by at least five servants, including a cook and a nanny. He was educated at the exclusive Benedictine public school Ampleforth, in England. One of his classmates was the late Cardinal Basil Hume, who once snatched a sprig of shamrock from Thady's lapel on St Patrick's day.

"I visited the Cardinal years later and we had a great laugh over that incident," he told the Limerick Leader on his last visit home over a year ago.

But Thady's privileged life had its crosses too. He and Anne lost a beloved daughter Claire when she was just 12 years old.

He often spoke too of the depression years of the 1930s when the family was bankrupt, and the bailiff ordered the cattle to be sold. They were on their way to the railway station at Knocklong when news came that a wealthy relative had come to the rescue and Scarteen was saved.

Thady spent much of his life farming the 500 acres at Scarteen. He was involved with Bord na gCapall and the Irish Draught Horse Association. But hunting was his life, and he took over the Scarteens from his father John, nearly 60 years ago, becoming the seventh generation of his family to hunt with the famous black and tans.

He came from a long line of horsemen, soldiers and businessmen. His grandfather, Thaddeus, was a survivor of the Indian Mutiny and his father, John fought in the Boer War.

He is survived by his wife Anne, his children Rachel, John, Hugh, Chris (current master of the Scarteens) and Mark and by his sister, Gwen.

He was a man who empathised with people from all walks of life and he always proclaimed his loyalty to his Catholic faith.
Reprinted with permission from the Limerick Leader

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Blyth Tait new manager for Eventing NZ -- (Apr 19) Eventing New Zealand has announced the Atlanta Olympic gold medallist and former World Equestrian Champion Blyth Tait as its new Team Manager.

Tait will tackle the 'hands on' role of managing New Zealand's eventers at high profile events such as next year's World Equestrian Games in Germany and the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

"It's certainly a challenge but one which I'm looking forward to," said Tait. "Eventing New Zealand has identified the manager's role as becoming increasingly technical and more detailed. It'll be good to support the Kiwi riders because I know from experience just how complex these elite events can become.

"My job will be to liaise with riders during their preparation for major championships and at the actual events, I will be in a position to give them the technical support they need."

While the public focus was on dressage and jumping performances, Tait said issues such as fence construction and competition surfaces often became critical behind the scenes. It was important that the interests of the New Zealanders were kept to the fore.

"It's a team leader role but one which will have a high input into technical issues related to the horses and riders."

Tait has also recently been appointed as High Performance Director for Eventing and ENZ chairman Andy Pottinger said he was ideally placed to guide the Kiwi riders.

"Blyth knows the world scene inside out," said Pottinger. "He's also a great communicator who commands tremendous respect overseas. Our riders can only benefit from his experience."

Blyth Tait has been involved for past 10 years in training equestrian squads as well as competing at an international level. He has served as a board member of Eventing New Zealand and was recently appointed as the discipline's High Performance Director.
He has conducted regular clinics in Australia, USA, UK, Ireland, Italy Sweden and Spain.
Blyth Tait coached Enrique Sarasola to win the European bronze medal in 2001 and he also taught for the British Equestrian Federation. He has guided many other international riders in addition to writing three books on technique and training.
Blyth has personally trained with Mark Todd, Tracey Foster, Rodrigo Pessoa and Fiona Craig.

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Zara Phillips joins NZ spinal trust -- (Apr 13) Royal Zara Phillips is to be the international face of a new New Zealand charitable trust - her first ever patronage role - and will visit here later this year as part of her involvement.

Announced today, the CatWalk Trust and its royal patron will raise funds for research to help sufferers of spinal cord injury walk again. Fundraising kicks off with a black tie dinner in Auckland on 23 June.

Founded by New Zealand equestrian international Catriona Williams, herself confined to a wheelchair following a riding accident in 2002, the CatWalk Trust is committed to helping find a cure for spinal cord injury.

"We are absolutely dedicated to raising the funds necessary to carry out this research and we're delighted that Zara has agreed to be our international patron and help us achieve our goals," Catriona Williams says.

"Zara is an avid horse rider and has seen the devastating effects of spinal cord injury. She also loves New Zealand, and is looking forward to coming here for the CatWalk Trust Dinner in June," she says.

Catriona says the Trust has an important mission.

"We plan to play a major role in helping the 70 plus New Zealanders affected by spinal cord injury every year to walk again," she says.

Zara, the second child of Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips, says she was keen to be involved with the CatWalk Trust when she heard about it from friend and New Zealand Olympic gold medallist Mark Todd.

"The CatWalk Trust's cause is a very good one and they have my full support. I am extremely happy to be involved and I'm looking forward to spending time in New Zealand to help raise funds for it," says Zara.

While a number of New Zealand based organisations provide valuable rehabilitative support to those with spinal cord injuries, the CatWalk Trust believes there is an on-going need for research funding generated in New Zealand.

And with a high number of spinal cord injuries occurring in the sporting arena, the Trust is receiving major support from the sports' fraternity.

"New Zealand based patrons include a number of sporting greats - Sir Brian Lochore, Dion Nash, Aaron Slight and Lance O'Sullivan - and we are extremely grateful for their support," Catriona says.

The 23 June black tie fundraising dinner attended by Zara Phillips is expected to earn a substantial sum for the Trust through the auction of a range of unique and high value items. High profile sponsors of the dinner include Cathay Pacific (who will fly Zara Phillips to New Zealand) and Sir Patrick Hogan.

Funds raised will pay for research into finding a cure for spinal cord injuries. Dr. Leanne Parker of Burwood Hospital's spinal unit is the Trust's medical advisor.

"We know the research will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars so we'll just continue to raise funds until there's a cure," says Catriona.

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Grayling claims victory at FEI Eventing World Cup -- (Apr 10) The New Zealand Qualifier for the FEI Eventing World Cup has been won by Matthew Grayling aboard Gordon. In the final show-jumping phase at the Kihikihi Domain, Grayling jumped clear and within the time to finish on a score of 64.1. Grayling lead throughout all three-days of competition, and had three rails in hand after second place-getter Chelsey Hawthorn dropped a rail and added 1 time penalty. Andrew Scott on Clifton Mitavite X Factor finished third on 84.5.

Grayling, who blitzed yesterday's creative and challenging cross country course, said he was thrilled with the result. "Gordon is only 8 years old and is already showing great potential, and success at a World Cup level is very encouraging" said Grayling. The weekends result means Grayling now has the ability to compete at the FEI Eventing World Cup Final in Sweden held during August.

This is the second time Grayling has won the New Zealand Qualifier for the FEI Eventing World Cup. Last year Grayling and Revo won the qualifier and went on to finish a credible eighth at the Final in France. "It's fantastic to have won this event twice on two different horses," said Grayling.

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Grayling continues lead after cross-country -- (Apr 9) Matthew Grayling aboard Gordon continues to lead the New Zealand Qualifier for the FEI Eventing World Cup after the challenging cross country phase. Grayling, the overnight leader following dressage jumped clear but added 17.2 time penalties to his score. Chelsey Hawthorn who was placed mid-field after dressage shot into second position after jumping clear and posting the days fastest time. Jenna Mahoney lies third, while Megan Finlayson has dropped to fourth position.

The cross country course was the centre of much discussion from the large crowd of spectators as its presentation and difficulty was of a true world class standard. The obstacles were themed around the tale of Winnie the Pooh and included sculptured Roo, Piglet and Tiger figures, each with their own stump houses. These obstacles demanded very accurate riding, with most of the field choosing to take the slower alternative at Pooh's Honey Pots.

The event concludes at the Kihikihi Domain (Waipa District) 11am Sunday with the Show Jumping finale. Additional festivities include a Classic Car Picnic and Jazz Music.

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Matthew Grayling and GordonGrayling shines during WC dressage -- (Apr 8) Mathew Grayling aboard Gordon leads the New Zealand Qualifier for the FEI Eventing World Cup after the dressage phase. Grayling, the previous winner of this event, posted a dressage score of 46.9 leading Megan Finlayson who scored 56.3. Grayling also delivered a good result on his second ride Klinsmann, but later withdrew due to injury.

International Judge Jim Dunn (Australia) commented that Grayling was a standout during today's dressage, while some others showed potential for greater improvement.

On Saturday competitors turn to the Cross Country phase where they face a very unique and challenging course which has been themed around the tale of Winnie the Pooh. The competition finishes on Sunday with the Show Jumping Finale.

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Pooh Bear goes cross country for WC qualifier -- (Apr 8) NZ World Cup Eventing Qualifier cross country course An encounter with a hive of wild bees was the inspiration John Nicholson was looking for when designing his latest cross country course for New Zealand's FEI Eventing World Cup to be held this weekend at the Kihikihi Domain (Waipa District).

John stumbled upon the hive by chance, and it has become the catalyst for his creative new themed jumps to be showcased this weekend. John is fast developing a reputation for providing unique and interesting obstacles, with last years cross-country course reflecting the wide range of sporting codes undertaken at the Kihikihi Domain. Jumps included a cricket pitch, polo sticks, a football and even a stock-car.

This year John says that he has been reacquainted with the classic children's story Winnie the Pooh after his encounter with the wild bees. "I was having sleepless nights trying to come up with a new theme until those bees came along" said John. The detail of the course includes sculptured Roo, Piglet and Tigger figures, each with their own stump houses. "We have had a lot of fun transforming the Kihikihi Domain into Christopher Robin's 100 Acre Wood" said John.

Other obstacles of interest include a 100-year-old original restored wagon, and as well as a carved Maori Waka (traditional canoe).

The New Zealand Qualifier for the FEI Eventing World Cup commences Friday with Dressage, Cross Country on Saturday and finishes with the Show Jumping on Sunday.

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FEI Eventing World Cup in NZ -- (Apr 5) This weekend New Zealand hosts the first 2005 FEI Eventing World Cup Qualifier to be held outside the northern hemisphere. The Mitavite Horse Trial based at the Kihikihi Domain (Waipa District) will feature New Zealand's only qualifier for this annual 17 linked event series held through-out the world.

No less than 22 leading New Zealand based competitors have entered the competition, held at the highest level of the sport using the format without steeplechase.

Several of these competitors have recently returned from the northern hemisphere after basing their Olympic campaigns abroad. The most notable inclusion is Matthew Grayling, the winner of last year's inaugural New Zealand Qualifier who then went on to finish a credible eighth at the FEI Eventing World Cup Final in France. Grayling, a member of the New Zealand Athens Olympic Team will have his sights set on a repeat performance to ensure eligibility to again compete at this year's Final in Sweden. With two horses entered at Kihikihi (Klinsman and Gordon), he will have the opportunity to make a impressive debut on the 2005 FEI Eventing World Cup Standings which is currently lead by Australian Phillip Dutton after just 4 qualifying events.

Other competitors back from the northern hemisphere to compete at Kihikihi include Megan Finlayson on Lion Heart, Kate Wood on Staccato, Tim Price on Sugio and Kate Hewlett on Striking Distance. Further hopefuls include New Zealand's Eventing stalwart Andrew Scott on Clifton Mitavite X Factor, and there will no doubt be support for the local talents of Chelsea Hawthorn on the diminutive Look at That, and former Brazilian Alex de Luca Oliveira on Clifton Checkers.

Cross-country course designer John Nicholson in conjunction with consultant Mark Todd has themed jumps around the Tale of Christopher Robin, Pooh Bear and the 100 Acre Wood. The course as developed by this pair is fast gaining an enviable reputation for having well designed and innovative fences which make the venue well worthy of its international status.

The Show Jumping finale will feature an arena-side Classic Car Picnic offering equestrian action, a blend of jazz music, fine food and wine in the company of classic and vintage cars.

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