Paraparaumu’s Tayla Mason heads a strong North Island contingent heading south for the South Island Three Day Event over Easter weekend at McLeans Island, Christchurch.
Mason will be looking to successfully defend the National Young Rider Three Day Event Championship title she won there last year with Lucy With Diamonds, having just returned from an enforced injury layoff after breaking her wrist in a nasty fall at the 2014 Dunstan NZ Junior and Young Rider Championships at Bay Of Plenty in February.
Held as part of the Tavern Harewood CCI2*, Mason is one of three eligible combinations for the Swarbrick Trophy for the National Young Rider Three Day Event Championship, the others being Kate Fleming (Pauatahanui) aboard Mendelssohn and Sarah Young (Tokoroa) on SS Galaxy. The trio will also be looking for class honours, but will be up against some stiff opposition from Joseph Waldron, who is now based back in Te Awamutu after spending most of his life in Australia, riding Ristretto and sole local contender Amberley’s Giles Gormack on Lucero.
A strong field of 20 will do battle in the Devi Heating Systems CCI1* which incorporates the National Junior Rider Three Day Event Championship, with five local combinations vying for the coveted Lenamore Trophy for the National Junior Rider Three Day champion, in a field otherwise dominated by North Islanders.
The CIC3* has attracted a field of five with North Islanders Benjamin Bateman (Palmerston North) on Façade, Sarah Dalziell (Masterton) on Benrose Super Star and Natalie Page (Levin) on Jack O’Malley coming up against local hopes Sam Taylor (Swanannoa), who is reunited with Leo Degas, and Susie Stewart (Rangiora) on Cowboy on debut at this level.
In a bid to help riders with new qualifications set down by the FEI, Eventing Canterbury added CIC2* and CNC1* classes late in the piece, both of which have attracted small entries.
Competition across the lower levels will be hotly contested with more than 25 battling it out for honours in the CCN105, and 48 in the CCN95 including ESNZ Vice President and Eventing NZ Board Member Nick Pyke and Eventing New Zealand selector Richard Otto. A field of 13 young horses will tackle the 4, 5, & 6 Year Olds CCN95, while 49 line up in the CCN80.
Aside from strong entries from across New Zealand, the event also boasts an international line-up of officials including representatives from Ireland, Thailand and Japan.
It also marks the end of the 2013/2014 Lancaster Feeds/Platinum Performance 4, 5 and 6 Year Old Series, as well as points being up for grabs across all ESNZ series including the Super League, Massey University Young Rider, Alltech Junior Rider, AMS-Erreplus Pro Am, Amateur Rider and Weatherbeeta Grassroots series.
The action gets under way at 1pm on Thursday, April 17 with the prestigious Saddlery Barn South Island Young Event Horse Championship. The first phase of the three-day-event, dressage, will get under way at 10am on Friday, followed by the all-important cross country phase at 9am on Saturday. The event comes to conclusion with the final show jumping scheduled to begin at 9.30am on Sunday.
Entry to the grounds is free and the public are welcome to attend, cashing in on top-flight eventing action on their back doorstep. The cross country will provide spectacular public viewing with all of the courses for the main three classes coming through the main arena.