New Zealand Rider May Compete in Omaha As First Kiwi in 32 Years of World Cup Finals

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Julie Brougham riding Vom Feinsten at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. © 2016 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
New Zealand’s Julie Brougham riding Vom Feinsten at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. © 2016 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Jan. 29, 2017

A New Zealand rider competing in the World Cup Pacific/Asia League final this week can become the first Kiwi to qualify to ride in the global Freestyle championships that will be the 32nd year of the event when held in Omaha at the end of March.

Eight combinations, one of the largest CDI Grand Prix fields ever in New Zealand, are entered at Feilding, a town on the country’s northern island and frequently named the most beautiful.

All the riders are from New Zealand, including Julie Brougham who rode Vom Feinsten, a 14-year-old Rhinelander gelding, at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro after competing extensively in Europe, including the prestigious World Equestrian Festival in Aachen, Germany.

No riders this year are from Australia though the Aussies have won every previous league final, preferring not to make the 1,350-mile/2,170km flight across the Tasman sea to compete for the single slot allocated to the region in the lineup of 18 horses and riders in the American heartland.

However, Kristy Oatley, a four-time Olympian for Australia and based in Germany, is seeking to qualify in the Western European League where she is ranked No. 4 with just three more qualifiers scheduled. If invited, it would be her third Final.

Success at Feilding for the league final winner would mean what an official of the Equestrian Sports New Zealand described as “a pretty horrendous journey from this part of the world,” but “we are still looking at various options to be able to participate.”

“Horrendous” is an understatement–the flight from Auckland  is about 30 hours for the 11,500 miles/18,510km to Amsterdam to connect with a chartered flight of dressage and jumper horses for almost another 10 hours for the trans-Atlantic leg of 4,450 miles/7,160km.

PAL is the only one of the four geographic groups–Western Europe, Central Europe and North America are the others–that hold a regional final, a decision made by the PAL federations countries themselves. Western and Central Europe qualification is based on points from the four best finishes while North America applies the average of the top two scores.

Entries for the league final are:

Julie Brougham and Vom Feinsten, 14-year-old Rhinelander gelding;
Penny Castle and Magnus Spero, 13-year-old Holsteiner gelding;
Abbie Deken and KH Ambrose, 15-year-old Hanoverian gelding;
Jody Hartstone and Ali Baba, 12-year-old Lusitano stallion;
William Millar and Raukura Satori MH, 13-year-old Hanoverian gelding;
John Thompson and JHT Antonello, 15-year-old Hanoverian gelding;
Vanessa Way and Arawn, 14-year-old Hanoverian gelding, and
Wendi Williamson and DejaVu MH, 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding.

Correction: An earlier version incorrectly gave the age of K H Ambrose. The horse is 15 years old