The New Zealand spring eventing season got underway in Christchurch on Saturday. Eventing Canterbury’s event started off with a hiss and a roar at the National Equestrian Centre. Some of the horses and riders were just about hissing with excitement and there were a few roars when things didn’t quite go to plan – mainly due to a great deal of exuberance on display!


One who has been very keen to get away from the winter dressage competitions and into his real job was Shoot the Breeze, ridden by Kirsty Sharapoff.  The pair lead the Ultimate Design & Renovation CNC2* Plus class by a very healthy margin, having nailed a great dressage and then recorded the only clear round in the show jumping.


Kirsty, the Chair of Eventing Canterbury, was very pleased with ‘Merv.’  “He did a settled and consistent dressage test and got his changes, albeit a little enthusiastically!!”


Larissa Srhoy and Rockquest are making the most of their first start, showing great form to lead the Dunstan CNC2* class with a solid dressage and a lovely clear show jumping round.  Larissa says that Rockquest is feeling really good. “For the start of the season, the dressage was OK, except he did practice his flying changes.” Unfortunately there were not any movements with flying changes in this 2* test. Larissa intends consolidating Rockquest’s performances at two-star level and is hoping to venture up north at some stage in the coming season.


Larissa has obviously been doing a lot of practice over the winter, as she also leads the Melwood Equestrian CNC95 on her younger horse, Heads Will Roll.  Hard-working event secretary Claudia Faulkner is second to Larissa in the CNC2* class on Citadelle, is also second on Strate Show in the BetaVet CNC80 and third in the Melwood Equestrian CNC95 on Shapeshifter 2.


Another leading two classes is Lauren Enright. With Tyrgra she leads the Saddlery Barn CNC105 and Beaumont Cash is in the lead in the BetaVet CNC80.


Brent Jury and SE Gorky Park looked good out show jumping in the afternoon sun, and have the lead in the Equissage CNC1* from Cam Robertson on his promising mare, Wairoa Renegade.


The cross country is on tomorrow at the Eyreton Pony Club grounds, Mandeville Sports Grounds in North Canterbury, with an early start as the CNC2* plus class is first up at 8:30am. The weather forecast is saying clear skies, but in Canterbury that can also come with a frosty morning.  Course builders Nick Pyke, assisted by Giles Gormack and Brent Jury, will be sure to be out there early to make sure any ice on the water jump is sorted!