The superstars of the New Zealand eventing scene will have their time to shine at the Land Rover Horse of the Year Show this morning, when the dressage takes place, followed by the crosscountry tomorrow morning, and the final showjumping phase on Sunday morning.
Clarke Johnstone and Balmoral Sensation, the 2016 Eventer of the Year, who went on to place sixth and best of the Kiwis at the Rio Olympics, heads a strong line-up of 23 entries in the CIC3* class vying for the 2018 title. This class is part of the year-long ESNZ Eventing Super League series.
An impressive line up of overseas officials will be judging this year, with the Ground Jury comprised of Christian Landolt, from Switzerland, and Annabel Scrimgeour from England, both of whom have judged at the highest level throughout the world. They are joined by Helen Christie, from Southland, who has extensive overseas experience.
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Horse of the Year show kicks off at Tomoana Showgrounds, Hastings
All hands on deck for Horse of the Year show in Hawke's Bay
Second day done and dusted for Land Rover Horse of the Year
Course designer Chris Ross, of Helensville, is making his mark with several highly regarded crosscountry courses. Ross worked with the team who built the Olympic track at Rio. The technical delegate is Christian Persson, who has officiated throughout Europe.
Two members of the successful team which won the Oceania Championship at the Melbourne International CCI3* at Werribee last July will be competing.
Ginny Thompson has her team horse, Star Nouveau, who she plans to take to England shortly, and the promising Man of Honour, while Samantha Felton has three rides, including Ricker Ridge Escada, the current national eventing champion.
Others to watch are Amanda Pottinger on Just Kidding, and Bundy Philpott, who won the Puhinui CCI3* on Tresca NZPH in December.
There is a big entry in the CIC2* class, including Greer Caddigan on Mr Mancini, who has an outstanding lead in the Mitavite Young Rider series, and Kate Herdson on Eon, the Junior Rider champions.
The 2* Ground Jury is Anne Tylee and Jenny Draper, both respected judges in New Zealand.
Live scoring will be available on www.equestrianentries. co.nz and the event will be live streamed by Burghley TV