New Zealand's hopes for next year's Mounted Games World Team
Championships are looking golden, according to coach and
selector Scott Borland.
The 40-year-old said he had a tough time selecting his team
of five riders and two reserves from 13 contenders.
"It's got to be a good omen," he said. "This team is good ...
really good. They have plenty of experience and a lot of
exposure at top international level. I am confident they'll
win the gold."
The New Zealand team is spearheaded by Dee Cherrington
(Northland/United Kingdom) who has won individual, pairs and
team world titles, and is currently based in the UK.
Also part of the team is Julie Borland (Auckland), who has
won national open titles in individuals, pairs and teams, and
also brings plenty of talent to the side.
Rounding out the starting line-up are Steven Hooker
(Waikato/Germany), Nancy Te Whata (Northland), who was part
of the New Zealand team to win the world teams championship
in 2008, and Amie Bentall (Hawkes Bay).
New Zealand is hosting the championships at the Horse of the
Year Show in Hastings in March, where at least 10 countries
are expected to compete.
Just the Kiwis and Australians will be riding their own
horses, with the rest on borrowed mounts. That in itself
brings huge challenges for the organisers, who are training
about 100 ponies from around the country.
It's rare for a country to win on borrowed horses, but New
Zealand did just that in Australia in 2008. Coach Borland,
Cherrington and Te Whata were riders in that team, with
Bentall a reserve.
For coach Borland, who has also ridden for Scotland and Great
Britain, the Kiwis stand out from the crowd when it comes to
"New Zealand is without doubt one of the most professional
teams in the world," he said. "I believe that will give us a
huge edge come March. This is as good as it gets."
Riders in mounted games compete in a variety of races on
ponies up to a height of 15 hands.
NZ team: Dee Cherrington (Northland/United Kingdom), Julie
Borland (Auckland), Steven Hooker (Waikato/Germany), Amie
Bentall (Hawke's Bay), Nancy Te Whata (Northland). Reserves:
Amy Wiltshire (Hawke's Bay), Josh Dewar (Hawke's Bay). Coach:
Scott Borland (Waikato). Team manager: Louise Egging