Push to get NZ dressage on world stage

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Top New Zealand dressage riders with a desire to ride at some of the world’s best events have the opportunity to win extra prize money at the 2014 NRM Horse of the Year Show thanks to Hawke’s Bay woman Beth Bielski.

The Seventy Percent Club has a prize pool of $6000 for the 2014 show that is up for grabs for any competitors gaining 70% or above in the grand prix at HOY.

Bielski dreams of seeing a New Zealand dressage combination qualify for the Olympics and make the final.

Last year she gave $3000, which wasn’t struck, adding another $3000 for this year. If it isn’t struck in 2015, it will be used as a one-off grant to the Dressage Horse of the Year.

However, Bielski has her eye on three riders who she thinks could pull it off this year.

“Vanessa Way, Bill Nobel and Julie Brougham are all looking very strong, so I am hoping one of the three will do it. Vanessa did very well in Australia last year – she’s been a real inspiration to the New Zealand dressage fraternity,” says the 77-year-old, who is also a former top dressage rider.

Fifteen level six and above riders have scored more than 67% in competition this year – “Our athletes who are currently scoring 67% or better still have a significant barrier to achieve 70% plus. It is a huge step up from 67 to 70%,” says Bielski. “It doesn’t sound much but at grand prix (level 9) level it is huge.”

She is hopeful others will donate to the club so that in future, grants will be able to be made to promising riders.

At 72, Bielski was second in the New Zealand division of the World Challenge, and third in zone nine. She’s passionate about all things equine, having bred top horses, prepared showjumpers and dressage horses to high levels, and judged until she was told she was too old – much to her disgust! She gave up riding at 73.


Photo Credit: Libby Law Photography