Pop-up showjumping event success
FOCUS ON DANNEVIRKE
With the Palmerston North A&P Show cancelled, depriving keen equestrians from vital experience, the opportunity to host a showjumping event in Dannevirke popped up for the Central and Southern Showjumping committee. The show was organised and promoted and, with a huge response from equestrians across the North Island, it took place on the weekend of November 6 and 7. Initially, there were weather worries with the storm wreaking havoc in the Gisborne area, but Dannevirke experienced only light drizzle which proved no danger, partly because of the terrific condition of the grass surface. Three rings were in operation both days from 8am, different classes being strictly confined to their ring and facility because of Covid protocols. Masks were worn except when riders were competing and the weekend passed with no major issues. A special and well-respected equestrian from Hawke’s Bay, Graeme Hart, was present to assess the event for himself and keep tabs on horses from his Fernhill Stud. He was delighted to see age group events for horses — something he and friends introduced decades ago — saying it allowed trainers and prospective buyers to compare horses of the same age. He was complimentary about the Central and Southern organisers, saying the group had been strong for more than 30 years, producing great riders and horses which has strengthened the sport. A journalist himself, writing for prestigious equestrian magazines, he has travelled the world to many events and said Dannevirke was pretty good. There were many locals competing in the events. The Steele family of Robert, Matthew and Amanda set the pace going clear in the 1.15m event late on Saturday before being overtaken on time difference by later entries. Amanda has just returned from two years overseas grooming horses in Britain, Europe, Dubai and Doha. The Rose family was competing as well, with Jenna-Lee getting bragging rights over brother Matthew in the 1.20m class after a clear on Silent witness and placing fifth in a field of more than 40. Sally Peffers has just begun competing in the Grand Prix Pony section on All That Jazz, finding it a challenge but at 14 she has plenty of years to gain experience and should quickly make the grade. The competition was won by Penny Borthwick, making this her sixth win in a row. Of course, all eyes were on the Grand Prix Horse class with a strong field which became three after the first round: Maurice Beatson on Central Park, Logan Massie on Bravado Ego Z and Tegan Fitzsimon on Windermere Cappuccino all making the jump-off. All three went clear again, Tegan pipping the locals by a second, Maurice second and Logan third – all earning World Cup points in a season hit by A&P show cancellations. Eventing has to begin somewhere and in ring three a number of young competitors began their introductory jumping experience, with Korah Castles winning the 75cm and 80cm classes. The weekend went well, there was some cutting up around jumps on Saturday, local course designer Heather McDonald doing well to reset courses for Sunday on what she described as “a great surface”.