The Bay of Plenty Horse Trials at Riverdale, Rotorua, over the weekend, attracted a huge entry of horses from throughout the North Island, plus some from the South, and provided not only great cross-country courses but ideal conditions for what was the last run for many before the Puhinui Three-day Event. 

Tich Massey was the FEI course designer while experienced 3* rider Campbell Draper cut his teeth on the 105cm track, and Jude Clifton, better known as Judy Hatfull, did the 95cm. Jock Paget remarked afterwards that Campbell’s course, with forward striding and good lines, was an excellent learning experience for horse and rider, showing the benefit of his extensive riding knowledge. 

Campbell’s piece de resistance was Barbara’s fishing fence, a tribute to the late Barbara Thomson, photographer extraordinaire, who died while fishing in Lake Taupo, her favourite pastime. The photograph does not do justice to the trout Campbell carved, lying on a log, which jumped very well, so will be seen again for sure. 

The Pub Charity CNC2* Plus was won comprehensively by Eventing Performance Development Coach Jock Paget, “walking the walk” on Heelan Tompkins’ Snow Leopard. The plan is to do the 3* at Puhinui, if Heelan’s nerves can stand it! Jock said, “We are not an established partnership yet, but I stepped it up a cog today and he went well.” Jock could have his own son by Puhinui. 

Amanda Pottinger led after the dressage on Just Kidding, but a showjumping rail relegated them to third overnight. Amanda was rapt, however, that ‘Ferg’ went into both waters at the first asking, to finish second, albeit 20 odd penalties behind Jock. Brooke Campbell was third on Freddy Dash, despite a very naughty dressage, but Freddy made amends after that. 

Madison Crowe was second on Waitangi Pinterest after the dressage and took the overnight lead with a clear showjumping round, but an uncharacteristic refusal on cross-country was a hiccup in the consistently successful partnership Maddy has developed with this brilliant mare, hopefully not to be repeated any time soon. 

The Dunstan CIC2* was a strong field of 34 starters, Clarke Johnstone withdrawing Kate Woods’ Wolf Whistle II at the last minute due to a stone bruise. Clarke’s former working pupil Jackson Bovill won on his big mare Visionnaire, adding just 0.4 of a time penalty across country to their third placed dressage score to regain the form that saw them named in the Oceania Young Rider team to Werribee. 

Nick Brooks completed a highly successful few days on the eye-catching For Fame, adding 2.4 cross-country time penalties to their sixth placed dressage score to finish second, having won the Express Eventing at Equitana in Auckland the day before the Rotorua event. 

Gemma Hampson rode a stunning round on the skewbald Pintado Prima Rosa, the only one inside the time, improving from thirteenth after the dressage to complete on their dressage score in third place. Gemma is very tall, so she makes Prima Rosa look like a pinto pony, but they scooted round that undulating track, foot perfect, with her little legs going nineteen to the dozen. 

Blyth Tait was the overnight leader on Xanthus III, but he blotted his copy book again with a refusal at the same fence as Pinterest, the first of a three part offset angled combination. However I’m sure Blyth will have him firing on all cylinders at Puhinui, which will be their third start back in New Zealand. 

The Prestige Equestrian CIC1* was won by Vicky Browne-Cole on the much travelled Amazing Spy, ahead of Junior Rider ODE champion Kate Herdson on Eon, who finished on their tenth placed dressage score, with dressage leader Greer Caddigan on the former Campbell Draper horse Mr Mancini finishing third, having had a showjumping rail down.


Virginia Caro