There is an air of excitement within Dressage as riders start preparing for the 2012 NZ Horse of the Year Show. The event is all important event for Grand Prix combinations looking to impress selectors and gain 2012 Olympic Qualification scores. One of eleven Olympic dressage team places spot was secured by riders at the Australian Nationals in October when Louisa Hill, Vanessa Way, Nicki Pope and Shiwon Green edged out South Africa and created another milestone in dressage history. Now NZL riders must earn their place in that team by meeting the selection standards set by ESNZ & the NZOC. Louisa Hill and Bates Antonello have set new benchmarks in Australia and confirmed new era for the discipline on her NZL bred and trained horse, considered by many to be a potential world class combination. The Under 21’s will be looking for good scores in the International Young Rider Class as they vie for a ticket to the Young Rider World Cup to be held in Frankfurt in December 2012.
Important February lead up events will include the North Island Championships at Manfeild in January, and the South Islands hosted by Canterbury, followed by the Bates Nationals at Manfeild in March. These events will provide the indicator to HOY performances where the atmosphere will undoubtedly be electric with anticipation as a mix of talented new combinations and some serious experience will challenge for the coveted Grand Prix title. 2011 Grand Prix title holders Vanessa Way & Arvan will not be present as they head for the UK in January to train with Carl Hester. Bill Noble and Airthrey Highlander are consolidating at this level in their second season, while Debbie Barke and Mzungu are back after an injury lay off. New at this level and making their mark at the regional qualifiers are Christine Weakl and the Geor family’s Speilziet while Nicky Pope & Fabarchie, have experienced an Australian campaign.
As shown at the FEI World Dressage Challenge in November whe NZL made a clean sweep in all seven individual sections, plus a win in the Zone 9 Team Competition, all the other grades have some really exciting combinations coming through toward international level including the two sparky chestnuts Vom Feinsten (Julie Brougham) & KH Ambrose (Abbie Deken) so the NZ Horse of the Year Show promises to deliver some spectacular dressage competition in 2012
The Zilco National Freestyle to Music Leaderboards will be decided at all levels. Bonus points at this event add an exciting dimension with the possibility for combinations to considerably improve their Leaderboard rankings. Each level of Leaderboard offers the winner a fabulous international design Zilco presentation rugs and $350 worth of Zilco vouchers with a further $450 to the next three placegetters.
International judges secured are FEI 5* judge Mary Seefried from Australia & 4* judge Peter Engel from Germany plus our NZL international judges.
Dressage in the main oval will be dominated by musical freestyles – horses and riders having a chance to express their personality in the artistic section, but also requiring strong technical skills to score well in front of such an experienced panel of judges .
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