Eventing families are really getting into their season with big entries in this weekend’s Eventing Canterbury two-day event at the National Equestrian Centre, McLeans Island.

There are 203 entries but the highest graded event, the 4* class, only has two entered this weekend; Emily Cammock on Shaw Lee and Giles Gormack on Lucero. Giles, from Amberley, comes into this competition with a good win from the last competition and is taking this event very seriously. “He had a great run at the beach yesterday, and is currently feeling better than he has for the last couple of years,” says Giles, who is working on getting a smooth cross country rhythm and so may not push overly fast to make the time. “My bigger goal is the three-day event coming up, but I do want to finish in the top half of the field!”

Two riders who normally compete at this level are missing this weekend. Kirsty Sharapoff injured herself, which means her three horses have the weekend off, much to her frustration. Lydia Truesdale has elected to save her horse, Allander Rocket, for the three day event in mid-October.

This weekend is certainly very much a family affair. Giles Gormack may be tackling the big class, but he will be taking a keen interest in his daughter competing in the lower classes, and she also comes into this competition in good form. “It was a big buzz both of us lining up together for the prize-giving recently,” says Giles. “It is cool being out there competing together, it is very much a family affair, with my wife Rachael doing much of the organising needed. We try to do as much as we can together as a family.”

There are two other fathers competing with their children entered this weekend as well. Bruce Wardle and his two daughters, Rebecca and Annabel are all competing, although all are in different classes. Scott Glassey and his two daughters, Meg and Grace, are also entered for this weekend.

There is also a mother and daughter competing. Colleen Marret is competing in a different class from her daughter Kyra but both are regular eventing competitors and can always be seen supporting each other fully.

It gets a bit more competitive when there are sisters competing.  There are five sets of sisters competing this weekend; Eva and Johanna Wylaars, Jordan and Caitlin Shrimpton, Elsa and Sophie Rosanowski, Pippa and Kate Gutry and Charlotte and Beth Coleman. All of them however are in a different class to their sister – having ten classes this weekend spreads the riders out which must make life easier for the hard-working mothers and fathers. There are other siblings entered as well – so perhaps there needs to be a prize for the best performing siblings!

One of Canterbury’s top young riders, Charlotte Thomas, is competing this weekend along with her brother Daniel – again both in separate classes and both coming into this event in top form, having each won their class at the last Eventing Canterbury event in late August.

We also have an eventing couple – Brent Jury and Kareen Klinac – entered but again in separate classes which must make life easier on the drive home to their North Canterbury home.

The event starts off at 8am on Saturday with the dressage phase, and the show jumping will get underway on Saturday afternoon. The cross country is held on Sunday, starting at 8.30am. The event is free for spectators.