'She has gone next level': Canterbury equestrian rider flying high in the United States

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Kimberley Bird is flying high after winning the WEC Ocala 1.45m Jumper Classic in the United States last week.

The Ashburton-based jumper has been in the US since the beginning of the year, competing in the 2022 Winter Spectacular Show Series at the World Equestrian Center in Florida.

Kimberley’s parents, Kate and Alan Bird, travelled to Florida to support their daughter and described watching Kimberley’s win as "incredible".

"She rode really well, I can’t believe how much her riding has developed from riding in New Zealand to riding over there, she has just gone next level,” Kate said.

Kimberley, 25, has been riding 13-year-old Holsteiner mare Cera Cassina (Beezie) for seven years.

The pair are competing overseas to gain experience not available in New Zealand.

"There are not enough big competitions in New Zealand, we’re too small, if you want to progress in the sport you have to go abroad,” Kate said.

Kimberley funded the trip herself, selling a horse in New Zealand to pay to get Beezie to the US.

"She is doing it on a shoestring budget," Alan said.

"A lot of the Americans have great accolades for that because she has done it herself."

It was an epic trip for Beezie to get to the States. She was trucked to Auckland where she was flown to Sydney, then after six days she was flown to Chicago, finally taking a 17-hour truck ride down to Florida.

"The horse had a huge trip, we were a bit worried because she had to go so far, but Beezie travels well, she has been to Australia and around the North Island," Kate said.

In an interview with World Equestrian Centre, Kimberley said the course suited her horse very well.

"The time was tight, but I was lucky because my horse likes to travel. As long as I don’t start pulling, we are usually good on time," she said.

Kimberley and Beezie completed the course without touching a single rail to stop the jump-off clock at 40.612 seconds to claim her victory.

$15,000 WEC Ocala 1.45m Jumper Classic results:

1.Cera Cassina, Kimberley Bird, Kimberley Bird: 0 | 0 | 40.612
2. Duverie, Rupert Winkelman, Rupert Winkelman: 0 | 4 | 39.917
3. Quadrant 3, Harold Chopping, Rein Family LLC: 1 | 86.129
4. Chapeau, Frank Hendriks, Frank Hendriks: 1 | 86.366
5. Captain Z, Samuel Parot, Samuel Parot: 4 | 79.363
6. Gangster CHS, Kris Killam, Helene Jones: 4 | 82.860
7. Jack Straw, Camille Maddrix, M&M Sporthorses: 4 | 83.858
8. Frieda, Grant Seger, Grey Fox Grossing: 4 | 84.320
9. Cornut GP, Vicente Guillen, Rafael Celis: 4 | 84.632
10. Jarocco Blue, Sam Berry, Sam Berry: 4 | 84.898

-By Daniel Tobin

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