Opportunity for advanced riders
Central Districts Eventing have done well to get an advanced class off the ground this weekend.
Among the 200 riders and horses at the Central Districts two-day horse trials on McKelvies' Pukemarama farm will be 10 in the top tier.
The sport has lost many of its best to England with New Zealand's high-performance programme based there and last year's Central Districts event did not feature an advanced class.
A half dozen of New Zealand's most promising eventers have moved to England because they feel they will be left behind if they aren't competing in Europe.
The most experienced rider tomorrow and Sunday will be Te Kauwhata's Donna Smith who is just back from riding for New Zealand at the unsuccessful trans-Tasman Trophy campaign in Australia.
That took out six of New Zealand's best horses for this week, including Bulls horseman Bryce Newman's Bates Trademark. Newman will be riding tomorrow, but not in the advanced class.
The horses need a rest - most only ride a full event two or three times a a year - so Smith will be on Britannica tomorrow. They were fourth at the Kihikihi International Horse Trial last month. They will have to get familiar with what is almost a new cross-country course, based around the Tangimoana polo fields.
The Super League class at Woodhill Sands, Helensville, last weekend, was cancelled due to a lack of entries, but the Central Districts event has picked up the mantle. The series finishes at Taupo in two weeks' time.
Smith is third and seventh in the series on two other horses, Just Chocolate and Balmoral Tangolooma, horses she rode in Sydney. Newman is fourth on his mount from Sydney, Trademark.
At Tangimoana tomorrow, dressage and showjumping take place with the cross-country on Sunday over the courses which range from 2500 metres to 3500m.
Having a first ride at this level is the national young rider champion Tayla Mason, from Paraparaumu.
Manawatu's Helen Bruce will be on Toblerone, on which she won the South Island three-day one-star event last month, but not in the advanced class. Advanced riders:Donna Smith (Te Kauwhata) Britannica; Natalie Page (Manakau, Horowhenua) Jack O'Malley; Sarah Broughton (Cambridge) Rockhill Radish; Campbell Draper (Putaruru) Kahurangi Manu; Charlotte Grayling (Taranaki) Ru Star; Angela Lloyd (Hunua, south Auckland) Song; Tayla Mason (Paraparaumu) Lucy with Diamonds; Nicola Peat (Auckland) Varzuga; Sam Taylor (Christchurch) Leo Degas; Jessica Woods (Waikato) Defies Logic.