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Posted by Kirsty Pasto on 03/12/2019.
Australian Trans Tasman Team
John Archer

Australian Endurance Riders Take on the Kiwis in Trans Tasman Competition in Waiouru

Five Australian Endurance riders made the journey across the ditch last weekend to take part in the FEI Trans Tasman Event held in Waiouru, on New Zealand’s North Island, and hosted by Ruahine Endurance Club. The location is high in altitude with the ride route traversing over private property on a Volcanic Plateau and the ride base offering a jaw dropping view of Mt Ruapehu.

Impressively the competition was a ‘borrowed horse event’ where the Australian riders were given borrowed horses to ride for the event that they have never ridden before. The horses provided were all kindly sourced by ESNZ, and offered by generous owners. The experience level of the horses ranged from a National Champions through to relatively novice horses. The riders had only a short opportunity the day before the competition commenced to get to know their horse and work with the owners on ride management. 

The competition rules stipulated that teams had to consist of one youth rider (suitably qualified for FEI competition) and that riders must not have represented Australia at World Championship/WEG level in the preceding five years. Of the four selected combinations two would compete in the CEI1* 80km and two would compete in the CEI2* 120km competition. 

The team from Australia consisted of Tahlia Franke (youth rider), Marty Bryson, Jessie Herman, Sorsha Stuart Rkvic and Alison Noble who was the travelling reserve. Accompanying the team was the Chef d’Equipe Sonya Ryan.

Australia’s young rider Tahlia Franke delivered a stellar performance throughout the competition securing 1st place in the CEI2* 120km Young Rider competition riding Makahiwi Phoenix, Tahlia was also awarded Best Conditioned Horse.

Jessie Herman placed third in the CEI2* 120km competition riding Craig Royston Zaria. Sorsha Stuart Rkvic placed 4th in the CEI1* 80km riding Tararua Diablo. Unfortunately the horse loaned to Marty Bryson for the competition, Makahiwi Cercie, was vetted out of the competition.

Overall the Australian team placed second behind the New Zealand team by a very slim margin with the final score seeing New Zealand finish on 62, and Australia on 59.

The riders and grooms managed their horses well and experienced competition off their home ‘turf’, taking away an invaluable experience that will assist in international competitions in the future. 

“There were a number of challenges to deal with in a short time frame, under the pressure of competition and travel they all managed these challenges with professionalism and a great deal of teamwork” decribed Chef d’Equipe Sonya Ryan

“In the sport of endurance, as a rider, you are normally competing as an individual. The team was made up of riders and grooms that had little or no connection as a team prior to arriving at the ride base on Friday.

The win for Australian Endurance was that the riders and grooms came together as individuals but in a space of 3 days truly became a team that work so incredibly well together. As Chef to watch this unfold was inspiring and a credit to the riders and grooms” said Sonya Ryan.

Congratulations to all combinations and their connections.

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