The best of Southland's showjumping riders prepare to face challenges from other regions at tomorrow's Festival Show at the Gore A & P Showgrounds.
Highlights will include classes earning series points for national and South Island championships.
This drawcard is bound to bring to Gore some of the best horses and riders from the southern regions. Already some southern combinations are well up on the national standings.
The New Zealand Horse Grand Prix has Otago riders Claudia Hay, on Eurosport Heartbreaker, in ninth place and cousin Brittany Whelan, on George Jetson, in 15th place, but there will no doubt be a Southland challenge to provide spectator excitement.
The Pony Grand Prix also looks to be a strong Canterbury affair, with Brenwood Stevie James ridden by Kimberley Bird in fourth place, Showtym Image ridden by her sister, Jaimee, and Paradise Brigadier with Grace Percy also on the leaderboard. They will face challenges from Canterbury's Tapley sisters.
In the Young Rider series class, Brittany Whelan, of Dunedin, is ninth, and Nicole White, of Southland, 26th, and in the Junior Rider series class, at least four Southland and Otago riders have fairly even placings at national level.
The Southland riders are making more of a mark in the Amateur Rider Series. Fiona Sharp, of Gore, is bringing out stunning results with Rainbow Priceless, their total placing for New Zealand currently fifth.
Other strong contenders in this 1.20m height are Ngaire Lamb on Swayze, Donna Smith on Tower, Gail Richardson on Bin to the Moon, Kathryn Manson on Kohinoor, and Jessica Fahey on Glenbrooke Oliver Twist.
Club president Rik Van Miltenburg, riding Truly Unique, is yet to confirm whether he will enter this class or the higher levels, but they are exceeding all expectations this season. Another dark horse is Maggie May, owned and ridden by Bonnie Foley, of Clinton.
The Gore A & P Showgrounds has been enhanced byan all-weather surface arena with financial support from the Community Trust of Southland and Mataura Licensing Trust.
- The Southland Times