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The NRM National Three-day Event takes place at the National Equestrian Center, Taupo, on 20-22 May, featuring not only the national titles but also wrapping up the eventing series which have been running throughout the spring and autumn seasons. Dressage takes place on Friday, cross-country on Saturday, and showjumping on Sunday.
Star attraction will be Clarke Johnstone, Matangi, a member of the New Zealand eventing team which won bronze at the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky last year, and who leads the Bell Tea Super League as well as the global World Cup series after winning both the New Zealand and Australian World Cup rounds.
Johnstone will rest his NZ team horse after these two big wins in the space of a month, but has two horses contesting the NRM 3* class for the Advanced title, including Incognito, who lies fourth in the Super League. Johnstone takes his horses to England after this event to prepare for the London Olympics.
Cantabrian Brent Jury and SE Big, the national one-day event champions, currently third in the Bell Tea series, will be serious contenders for the three-day title, along with the defending champions, Heelan Tompkins, New Plymouth, and Major Difference.
There are sixteen entries for this elite level class, including eight international riders, one of whom has returned from the UK to ride here. Jock Paget, who stunned followers of the sport with seventh place at the World Equestrian Games last year on Frances Stead’s Clifton Promise, rides a number of Stead’s horses at this event before returning to the UK to prepare for London.
The 2* class has forty-six entrants, and as always will separate those who are ready to move up to the elite level next season, and those who need more time or have reached their limit. It features the country’s promising young riders, vying for top spots in the Massey University Young Rider series, which is led by Jessica Woods, Hamilton, and Too Predictable, the National Young Rider One-day Event champions.
The Fiber Fresh National Equestrian Centre at Aratiatia, venue for this three-day event since 1980, has a whole new look this year, with World Cup cross-country course designer John Nicholson, Te Awamutu, breaking in new terrain beside the Waikato River, and taking the course through the main arena, which will provide excellent viewing.
Over 260 entries have been received for the four levels of competition, with the 1* and Pre-novice classes run in championship and non-championship divisions. In order to accept the entries of all those wanting to participate, two adjacent cross-country courses will run concurrently on Saturday morning, which is unique, but it worked last year, so is being repeated. Bing Allen, Rotorua, has the challenge of designing these two tracks.
Source: Virginia Caro, ESNZ. Photo: Barbara Thompson