Top level eventing returned to the NZ National Equestrian Centre at McLeans Island this weekend, with the first ESNZ Eventing Canterbury One Day Horse Trial of the eagerly-awaited autumn season.
A field of seven started the CNC2* over the track designed by Stephen Montgomery. Christchurch PE teacher Kirsty Sharapoff breezed to an easy win riding the nine-year-old former racehorse Shoot The Breeze. The combination put in a strong dressage performance to lie second behind Larissa Srhoy and Rockquest. A faultless cross country round, picking up 13.6 cross country time penalties, and the only clear in the show jumping saw them move into the lead on a total of 46 penalties.
Afterwards she said: “We have been working on his dressage so was pleased with his test although it still needs more work. The cross country looked to be a nice inviting run with a couple of good questions for the first autumn event. He was a bit sticky at the start but improved as I rode more positively. I was really pleased with the show jumping.”
Sophie Abbott moved up from fifth in the dressage to finish second on 49.1 penalties aboard the vastly experienced Time To Tango Too, with Corey Wood third with 61.7 on Pick Up Line. Young rider Jessie Fitzjohn, who was debut at 2* level, was fourth with What’s the Buzz.
In the 11-strong CNC1*, Sophie Griffith guided Noir et Blanc to victory finishing on their dressage score of 36.6 penalties. Clean jumping also saw Todd Magner move up the leaderboard to finish second on Kawhaka Concorde with Elizabeth Wylaars on Wairoa Ruby, third.
In all, more than 200 combinations from across the South Island took part with riders looking to build up to the ESNZ FEI South Island Three Day Event at the NEC McLeans Island in April, followed by the NRM National Three Day Event.
Eventing Canterbury chairperson Margaret Evans was thrilled with the response. “It’s huge for us to have that many competitors. The addition of a CNC65cm came on the back of demand from riders attending the Twilight meets who were keen to try a real competition at a level they were comfortable with,” she added.