Horsezone News

Kihikihi a Picture . . . Without the Rain

Published on Thursday, April 6, 2017 in General

It’s all systems go for this weekend’s Kihikihi International Horse Trial, despite torrential rain over much of the North Island. 

It’s a favourite event on the nation’s eventing calendar as this year, for the first time, is playing host to the National One Day Championships.

Riders make no secret of their love of John Nicholson’s cross country course – he’s known internationally for his skill in designing.

The weather has added a new dimension to his course, and he jokes the new Kihikihi water jump will make the one at Badminton look like a fish pond!

“Everyone has been working very hard and the course looks great, but the weather is the one thing we can’t control,” said Nicholson.

Kihikihi will be a key selection and preparation event for riders tilting towards the Oceania Eventing Senior Rider and Young Rider Championships in Melbourne in June.

Nineteen combinations are down for the Waipa Home of Champions CIC3* Championship, which this year carries with it the Forest Gate Trophy. Missing from the field is defending Kihikihi 3* champ Katharine van Tuyl and Double J Sunshine.

The horse was injured in September, meaning they missed the Adelaide 4* event, and haven’t competed since the Taupo 3Day last year.

“I so wish I was back there this year, but hopefully we will be next time,” said van Tuyl. “He is in work, but just hacking around the farm.”

However, it opens the door for a raft of other combinations, including Donna Edwards-Smith (Te Kauwhata) and DSE Mr Hokey Pokey, who lead the ESNZ Eventing Super League Series. Edwards-Smith also has DSE Tangolooma and either horse is more than capable of a top result.

Also in contention is Samantha Felton (Cambridge) and her two – Ricker Ridge Devine Right and Ricker Ridge Escada – who is always one to watch. Former 3* winner Abby Lawrence (Te Puke) has entered Song, while Brent Jury (Rangiora) is making the long trek north with SE Hedging. Andy Daines (Kumeu) has his Melbourne 4* Spring Panorama, while Dannie Lodder (Auckland) is bringing Balmoral Henton.

Dad and daughter Matthew and Victoria Grayling (Taranaki) have Giddyup and NRM Valiance entered, and ESNZ high performance director Sarah Dalziell-Clout (Masterton) has Benrose Super Star entered.

There’s also a smart-looking 27-strong line-up in the Trust Bank CIC2* class – which has the Waiteko Trophy up for grabs for the national champion.

Included in the field is Rio Olympian Clarke Johnstone (Matangi) and Balmoral Sensation, who at sixth were New Zealand’s highest-placed combination at the Olympic Games last year.

The Wade Equine Coaches CIC1* has attracted 37 very classy combinations, and has the Ferndale Salver Trophy on offer for the National One Day Champion.

Also on the line is the Tait Trophy for the JLT CNC105 Championship.

Entries are up on recent years, with more than 254 horses making the trek to Kihikihi to compete across the grades.

The dressage phase for all grades gets under way on Friday, followed by the cross country on Saturday and showjumping on Sunday.

What: Kihikihi International Horse Trial – including the National One Day Championships

Where: Kihikihi Domain

When: Friday, April 7 – Sunday, April 9, 2017

For more info: www.thehorseevent.co.nz or follow us on Facebook Kihikihi International Horse Trial

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