Peter is a sports writer at the Bay of Plenty Times

Tauranga showjumping ticks all the right boxes

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Crystal Hackett clears a fence on IamwhatIam in the Pony Grand Prix at Tauranga Racecourse yesterday. Photo / George Novak
Crystal Hackett clears a fence on IamwhatIam in the Pony Grand Prix at Tauranga Racecourse yesterday. Photo / George Novak

The Bayleys North Island Showjumping Championships finished yesterday at Tauranga Racecourse after four days of top-class competition.

The cream of New Zealand's elite riders and the next generation of competitors enjoyed excellent weather and outstanding facilities from the opening Farmer Audi 1.35m Classic on Thursday night until the closing finale of the Premier Grand Prix yesterday afternoon.

It was a few days to remember for Katie Laurie. On Dunstan Breeze she won the opening event on Thursday and also triumphed in the grand prix on Dunstan Casebrooke Lomond yesterday afternoon.

Organiser Sally Steiner was delighted with how well the event was supported from all over the country - plus some riders from Australia.

"I think the event has been amazing. Thursday night was fantastic," she said.

"We had over 270 people in a huge hospitality tent and we had a charity option for Sands [Stillbirth Association]. We managed to raise $10,000 with a generous donation from Bayleys, who have been amazing to us for more than 10 years.

"That was the highlight for me over the four days."

The event was the last major outing for horses and riders ahead of the Horse of the Year Show to be held in Hastings from March 7-12.

"I think they are all thinking about the Horse of the Year Show and trying to get their horses there in the best possible condition. They would all be hoping that this weekend went well and it is an important step in their preparation," Steiner said.

"I think it would be fair to say that it is one of the most enjoyed shows by all of the riders in New Zealand. It is very successful but it is a huge logistical nightmare to house all the horses for the few days and the preparation and clean-up is an enormous task for us.

"But it is a great event. It is hard to explain how much this would bring into the economy in Tauranga."

One of the riders who enjoyed success over the four days was Rose Alfeld, 21, from Christchurch, who took out the Bayleys Tauranga Classic on My Super Nova.

"This was certainly the class I was aiming for. It is a great class to jump in, it has fantastic prizemoney and it just finished off a really good week," she said.

"I jumped on the Thursday and had one down in the jump off, I placed second in the 1.30 sweepstake on Friday and jumped today to win.

"This is a fantastic show. They really put in a huge effort and the grounds are amazing and they really look after us here.

"It has been great preparation for the Horse of the Year. I have had a bit of a rough season. I've been injured so I am just coming back into it now.

"I am lucky to be sponsored by Mitavite New Zealand as their feeds are amazing which help keep my horses going while I'm travelling. It is so important to get the right nutrition, as to keep them going over the four days is really difficult."

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