By: Eventing Canterbury  05-Apr-2012


Intensity is building at the National Equestrian Centre at McLeans Island as plans for the NZCT South Island Three Day Event and trans-Tasman Young Rider Challenge hit overdrive.

With six weeks to the event, Eventing Canterbury chairman Kevin Bowden said preparations for the event were progressing well. The addition of the inaugural show jumping young rider trans-Tasman clash had added a whole new dimension to the event, which should increase public appeal. 

“It’s a big honour for Eventing Canterbury to be hosting this event. Our young riders are the stars of the future, and to have the two disciplines competing together was a bold new step for ESNZ. It’s very exciting, but there is still a long way to go.”

Despite the tough economic climate, he said the committee had worked hard to attract great sponsorship for the event with the New Zealand Community Trust sponsoring the FEI CIC3*, Tavern Harewoodsponsoring the FEI CCI2*and New Zealand Young Rider Three Day Event Championship, as well as the 4-6 Year Old Training. New sponsors AW Interiors had come on board for the Pre Novice, with the Training Open picked up by Armitage Williams. The Pre Training would be sponsored jointly by Betavet and Blue Gum Motels, while the Saddlery Barn has continued its long-standing association with the South Island Young Event Horse.

At this stage, Bowden said they were still awaiting confirmation of a major sponsor for the FEI CCI* and New Zealand Junior Rider Three Day Event Championship.

Cross country course designer Nick Pyke said work on preparing the cross country was well underway. His ultimate goal was to produce a true test for the young riders in the 2*, with jump efforts and distances right up to maximum to ensure the best team and best combinations end up in the winner’s circle.   

Pyke said significant new areas of track have already been levelled, new surfaces have been added and re-grassed, and two areas have been re-contoured for new jump complexes. 

The tracks for both the 1* and 2*classes, which would include the trans-Tasman young rider battle, would follow a very different path to previous years, with the 2* running through the main arena twice to maximise spectator viewing. Key parts of all tracks were being irrigated and have been regularly mown since Christmas to give a good grass base.
He said work had started on the new Meadow Mushrooms-sponsored jump complex and timber for this was being sourced from some large trees in North Canterbury.  Plans were also in the pipeline for modifications to some of the existing fences and work was planned to commence on these before the end of last month (March).  The new trot up track would also be used for the first time at the event and would provide unparalleled viewing for spectators.

As The Bulletin went to print both the New Zealand and Australian teams for the young rider eventing and show jumping competitions were yet to be announced.  The Australian teams are scheduled to arrive in New Zealand on the Tuesday (April 17), which would be followed by a welcome function to be held at the McLeans Island Golf Club on the Wednesday (April 18).

The NCZT FEI South Island Three Day Event officially gets underway on Thursday, April 19, with the Saddlery Barn South Island Young Event Horse, with the dressage in the main competition and first round in the show jumping to start the following day.

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Mike is an internationally acclaimed cross country course designer and was the course designer and builder for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games held in Kentucky in October. Alltech brands have been available in New Zealand for the past 17 years with the local office being incorporated in March 2008. Olympic Games course at Sydney in 2000 and is the technical delegate for the Athens.