EQUESTRIAN: Beaston - I'm not a rebel rouser

ANENDRA SINGH
Maurice Beatson denies he's a rebel rouser and has instead deflected his uncertainties over travelling early to Europe on Showjumping New Zealand.
The 53-year-old Hawke's Bay showjumper and farmer told SportToday he was suspicious of the selection criteria - and the lack of paperwork from the national body for financial help in making such a huge commitment didn't help his mindset.
``I have to have the i's dotted and t's crossed before I make any commitment and I haven't had that in writing from Showjumping New Zealand yet,' Beatson told SportToday after he was approached yesterday to comment when Showjumping NZ chef d'equipe Greg Best questioned the former Olympian's commitment in wanting to represent the country in the equestrian sport in August.
Beatson, who finished 48th in the 1998 Seoul Olympics on his former mount, Jefferson Junior, has had an outstanding season in the New Zealand World Cup Series and the 2008 Kelt Capital Horse of the Year Show last month, when he pocketed close to $100,000.
Having already qualified with three other Kiwi riders with ``certificates of capability', the four-time HOY champion has consistently claimed that, as a farmer, he has had to weigh his options with work commitments and financial pressures in going to Hong Kong.
While accepting the HOY windfall was a godsend, Beatson said he wasn't intending to spend ``all the money in one shot'.
``Basically, Showjumping New Zealand have to come up with a lot more money,' he said, claiming the national body kept ``changing the [qualifying] the rules all the time, too'.
``One thing that worries me is the selection process.

Those [NZ-based riders] in Europe will qualify on a donkey because of a selector [convener of selectors Tim Pearce],' said Beatson of the veterinarian from Marton.
Claiming Pearce was ``party mates' with some of the European-based riders, Beatson said it was ``too much of a risk' to travel to Poland and Germany by the April 1 deadline, not knowing whether he was going to get a fair shot at an Olympic berth.
Pearce's prejudice against him was reflected in the rider's fruit-less attempts to obtain advice from him on vaccinating his mount, My Gollywog.
``I asked him about EI [equine influenza] vaccinations and he's not got back to me yet, so that makes you think a little because he's a vet,' said Beatson, claiming they discussed the matter at the Young Horse Show in Dannevirke almost a fortnight ago, after the Hoy Show.
``In his eyes, I'm not in the frame, so it makes me wonder. It's all about his mates in Europe.'
Without paperwork from Showjumping NZ, who had given him a verbal assurance on funding following a phone call, he was not about to take his horse around the world to compete ``in just three classes'.
Best's acclimatising argument, Beatson said, was irrelevant considering New Zealand was much warmer now than the northern hemisphere - which is in the throes of snow and cold snaps, that were likely to affect horses more in preparation for Hong Kong's extreme heat and humidity.
``These guys here just don't take these things into consideration.'

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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