In event dominated by South Islanders, Canterbury triumphs

Otago-Southland coach Hamish Disbrowe holds the NZPCA Dressage Cup for highest placed MT-class...
Otago-Southland coach Hamish Disbrowe holds the NZPCA Dressage Cup for highest placed MT-class competitor in a dressage test as winner Katie Wilson (Otago-Southland) and her horse Hazy Gray look on. Photo: Elise Ford Photography.
The Canterbury team came out on top at the New Zealand Pony Club eventing championships in Cromwell at the weekend.

The championships took place over three days with the showjumping on the final day, following on from dressage and cross-country.

The competition attracted about 70 riders and their horses and was a swansong for Taranaki course designer Robbie McLean.

McLean has designed cross-country courses for about 40 years but was hanging up his boots, and the Cromwell course was said to be the final one he would design.

Championships committee chairman Geoff Hewson said the championships had gone off without a hitch.

The new course was in splendid condition and was a good test for rider and horse, he said.

It was disappointing so few riders — just the Waikato team — had come from the North Island.

The event was only held in the South Island once every four years so it was hard to see why more riders had not come south, he said.

The new cross-country course cost about $120,000 to construct and would now be at Cromwell, beside the racecourse, for any riders to test themselves over the next few years.

Fundraising and money from trusts had helped pay for the new course.

The championships were set to be held in Cromwell in April last year but were postponed for a year because of Covid-19.

McLean had completed 80% of the cross-country course before the lockdown last year so had come back to finish it off.

A special presentation was made to McLean to honour all the work he had done over the years.

The Canterbury team, made up of six riders and their horses, won the competition ahead of a combined team of riders from three different areas — Ashburton, South Canterbury-North Otago and Wellington.

The Otago-Southland team finished third.

Next year’s championships are set to take place in Taranaki, and Hewson said that despite the no-show from North Island teams this year, a team from Otago-Southland would aim to head to Taranaki next year.

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