Oskam Shield returns

Imogen Leaper, 14, of the Dunedin Pony Club, competes in the showjumping phase of the Oskam...
Imogen Leaper, 14, of the Dunedin Pony Club, competes in the showjumping phase of the Oskam Shield at the weekend. PHOTO: LINDA ROBERTSON
After a five-year hiatus, Otago riders got their opportunity to shine in the Oskam Shield competition, held by the Dunedin branch of the New Zealand Pony Club at the weekend.

The event was held at the club’s revitalised grounds in Halfway Bush.

The competition consisted of three phases to test the mettle of riders — dressage, showjumping and cross-country.

Dunedin branch president Leah Wilson said the event was started by the Oskam family, after whom the shield was named, who were members of the Dunedin Pony Club.

"This has been running for about 20 years but has been on hiatus for the past five years.

"The hiatus was a little due to Covid, but mainly because we haven’t had the manpower and money for the upkeep of the cross-country course and to keep the building running.

"This year, we’re running at a massive loss, but it’s great to have it to offer to the kids."

The event drew about 60 competitors and their horses. The oldest rider was in their 50s.

Wilson said the competition was for "the little ones right up to whoever."

A big reason the competition resumed was committee member Peter McGrouther.

Wilson said he was the father of a horse-mad boy who just got stuck in and headed the effort to get the cross-country track ready and back to its former glory.

"The rest of the club have helped as well, but he really was a main driver.

"There really aren’t any council facilities for horse riding, so events like these really are for the community."

The Southern All Sorts team, from South Otago, won the Oskam Shield.