The first year of the new Thoroughbreds in Equestrian Sports (TiES) initiative was wrapped up at the prestigious NRM National Three Day Event recently with Christchurch based rider Claudia Wilson taking the inaugural title on Citadelle.
The TiES programme, which was announced in January this year, is a partnership between Equestrian Sports NZ (ESNZ) and NZ Thoroughbred Racing (NZTR) with the scheme designed to increase opportunities for the thoroughbred breed off the racetrack while raising awareness of their potential for a career in equestrian sports other than racing.
The goal of the programme is to achieve more of a balance between the numbers of horses retiring from the racetrack and the number of people willing to take on responsibility for them. To be eligible to enter the series the horse must have been registered with NZTR, although they do not have to have raced.
A series of competitions across the ESNZ registered sports of Jumping, Dressage, and Eventing were held throughout the summer that culminated in the final at the NRM National Three Day Event at Taupo on the weekend of May 16 to 18.
Individual titles were on offer at each show with the national title going to the horse with the most points accumulated at the end of the season.
Wilson and Citadelle finished fourth in the TiES class at Taupo, and had done enough during the year to clinch the championship with 140 points, ahead of Amanda Pottinger and Just Kidding, who were runners-up on 120 points.
The TiES class at Taupo was run over the two CCI1* competitions, and the winner on the day was Pottinger and Just Kidding. Abby Lawrence and NRM Ru Star were second, with Rowan Dixon on Major Vibes third, and Courtney Davis on By Hoki fifth.
The ten-year-old Citadelle (formerly Vintage Peak) managed two wins and four minor placings for $11,750 in a 20-start racing career from the stable of top Awapuni trainer Lisa Latta, before being retired from the track in 2009. He is a son of Centaine and out of the Musical Phantasy mare Shekanwyn, whose dam Brauner Flight was by the jumps sire Brauner.
Re-education in the equestrian sport disciplines followed before the gelding was bought by Wilson last year with an eye to a dressage career.
“We were looking for a replacement for my horse Shapeshifter who was injured so we ended up buying Citadelle last August,” explained Wilson.
“We decided to have a go at the TiES series and finished second at the South Island Dressage Championships in January then second again at the McLeans Island one-day event in March before we ended up fourth at Taupo.
“It was really exciting to win the title in its first year as he is a super horse and I think he has a good future ahead of him, especially in dressage where he excels.”
The Canterbury University student will now aim Citadelle towards further dressage competitions and is hoping he can help in her bid to establish an equestrian sport career at the completion of her studies.