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New Zealand 2010 World Equestrian Games News

World quest for Higgins combo

Stuff.co.nz - Full Article

By DIANA DOBSON - Nelson
Last updated 13:04 24/09/2010

Representing New Zealand is becoming a bit of a family affair in the Higgins household.

This time it isn't shooter Phillip wearing the silver fern. Instead, it is wife Alison's turn to do the nation proud.

On Sunday, she and their horse Twynham El Omar will line up in the 160km endurance race at the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky.

The Nelson-based combination will be one of three Kiwi combos on the starting line.

But it was Phillip who started Omar, breaking him in and riding him for the first three years.

As a shooter, Phillip represented New Zealand at both world championship and world cup level. These days, he's happier grooming for his wife in her bid for glory.

Omar is the third of the late Leo Nisbett's horses to represent New Zealand at world championship level. In the hands of Alison, he won the 2010 100-mile South Island Championship.

She's got no qualms about the world games race she faces this week, but says that starting line will be something else.

"We're used to 1am starts, when everyone is calm – we'll be in a pack with 130 or so others. It's going to be tough."

It's not the first time she has been chosen to represent New Zealand. In 2008, she and Omar got the nod for the World Endurance Championships in Malaysia but turned it down over worries about heat and humidity...

More...


WEGwatch – Tuesday 21 September 2010

NZEquestrian.org.nz - Full Article

22/09/2010 4:27:53 p.m.

It is a cacophony of sight and sound at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington...and the Kiwis are right in the midst of it. There are accents, languages, signs, flags, vehicles and more as thousands gear up for the World Equestrian Games which get underway on Sunday (25th September). Everyone has a smile on their face and welcoming words. The Kiwis are coming in from all over. The endurance crews are settled on a farm not far from the Park and will head in to the Games stables over the next day of two. The horses all travelled well and are getting used to their new world. Equine physio Nikki Lourie spent several hours with the endurance horses yesterday and is back out there again this morning. The endurance riders are settled in a comfy RV right at the farm and the rest of the them are sleeping marae-style in a nearby farm house. They've become kings and queens of Wallmart, and able to spot a bargain from a mile off. A nearby cowboy boot store has a new appreciation for all things New Zealand after nearly all of them bought at least one pair of boots this week. And they're pretty sharp at identifying the local wildlife too, with coyotes, skunks, fire flies, raccoons and more all regulars in their patch. Eventer Clarke Johnstone travelled out with the Aussies and the UK based eventers are set to arrive later this afternoon. Watching the enormous silver trucks – each of which have to carry at least 12 horses – roll in and out of the park is something else. They're so shiny they could be used as mirrors and in a convoy look most impressive. Showjumper Katie McVean and Dunstan Delphi have made themselves quite at home in a somewhat mobile barn right at the equestrian park. The rest of the showjumping team arrive next week. The NZ support team have been busy making sure all the important details are seen to – like decorating the stables and ensuring there are cold drinks on hand for riders and grooms...among plenty of other things...

More...


Let the Games Begin

NZEquestrian.org

22/09/2010 11:31:30 a.m.

New Zealand's 2010 World Equestrian Games is about to begin in earnest, as the Kiwi endurance riders prepare to take on the best in the world. While the actual 160-kilometre race starts on Sunday, their games really start on Saturday, before the opening ceremony has even happened, when their horses will face their first vet check.

Endurance chef d'equipe Madonna Harris says it will be a testing time, although she has every confidence in her trio of riders.

“Of all the disciplines, this really is the toughest,” she says. “Throughout the race we present to the vets seven times.”

And at any time, if the horse's heartbeat doesn't come down fast enough or there is a niggle of any sort, a combination can be pulled from the race.

With just three in the New Zealand team, there is no room for error, with no chance of any team accomplishment if all don't finish the race. And the input of those supporting the riders is just as important as those on the horses.

“Our grooms have to be particularly adaptable and malleable to ensure we get through this,” says Harris. “After looking at the layout of the course and the vet gates, we've had to make a few changes to our strategies and learn some new techniques.”

The heat will be another big challenge for the endurance competitors, as will the mass start. Around 130 combinations are expected on the start line. Anxiety levels will be fever-pitch and that half hour before the race, and half hour into the race, can be make or break.

“Everyone is wired,” says Harris. “There are flags, banners and general mayhem going on – our riders just need to find an area and remain calm.” Combinations will do six loops of varying distances throughout the race – the shortest is 18 kilometres, and the longest 39.9 kilometres.

“This is a four star rated race and calls for courage and control.” That's the highest ranking, and only held at World Games of World Championships.

“As good as these riders are, they are completely inexperienced at this level, so it is a big ask for all.”

The Kiwi horses left New Zealand late August and have now acclimatised well. Harris says each is in peak condition and now ready to race. In recent days they've had plenty of attention, including the magic hands of New Zealand team equine physiotherapist Nikki Lourie.

Harris is picking a Spanish combination to take the individual and perhaps United Arab Emirates for the individual.

“But I am very confident about the quality of our own horses and our ability to ride at speed...we just need that bit of luck to go our way.”

The World Equestrian Games are being hosted in Lexington, Kentucky, and run through until October 10. New Zealand is represented in showjumping and eventing as well as endurance.

It is the first time the games have been held outside of Europe and will attract more than 800 riders from nearly 60 countries. It is expected to be worth around $US150 million to the economy.

For more news, photos and Blogs from the NZ Team make sure you check out the "FEI 2010 WEG", on the ESNZ website


Testing race ahead for NZ endurance riders at world games

http://nz.sports.yahoo.com/news/article/-/7994361/testing-race-ahead-nz-endurance-riders-world-games NZPA - September 22, 2010, 4:35 pm

New Zealand's three endurance riders are ramping up preparations ahead of the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky, United States, which start at the weekend.

Jenny Chandler, Alison Higgins and Debby Worsfold will be the first New Zealanders in action when they line up for the vet check with their horses on Sunday (NZT), followed by their 160km race on Monday.

The team have been based on a farm not far from the Kentucky Equestrian Park in Lexington, but will move in to their official stables on Saturday.

Endurance chef d'equipe Madonna Harris said she had confidence in her trio of riders, who had prepared well.

"Of all the disciplines, this really is the toughest," she said. "Throughout the race we present to the vets seven times."

At any stage in the race, if a horse's heartbeat does not come down fast enough or there is a niggle of any sort, a combination can be pulled.

And with just three in the New Zealand team, there is no room for error. All three combinations must finish the race to have a chance in the team category. About 130 combinations are expected to make the start line.

"Everyone is wired," Harris said.

"There are flags, banners and general mayhem going on - our riders just need to find an area and remain calm. As good as these riders are, they are completely inexperienced at this level, so it is a big ask for all."

New Zealand's eventing horses arrived from Europe today and riders Mark Todd, Andrew Nicholson, Caroline Powell and Jonathan Paget have all flown in to join teammate Clarke Johnstone, who arrived with the Australian team earlier this week.

The eventing starts on October 1 (NZT).

Katie McVean is the only showjumper already settled in Lexington, with the rest due to arrive next week.

The showjumping starts on October 5, with the Games finishing on October 11. It is the first time they have been held outside of Europe and more than 800 riders from about 60 countries are competing.


Endurance Team Preparing in Kentucky

September 11 2010

The New Zealand Endurance Team's three Endurance horses arrived in Kentucky two weeks ago and have settled in well at a private stable 10 minutes from the Kentucky Horse Park.

The riders along with Team Manager Madonna Harris and trainer Ray Tylee and three grooms are settling into their training and build up to going into the Kentucky Horse Park on the 24th September, two days prior to their competition.

The rest of the Endurance groom Team members leave New Zealand on Tuesday.


Trio aiming to go the full distance

NZHerald.co.nz - Full Article

By David Leggat
5:30 AM Saturday Aug 28, 2010

Jenny Chandler had pottered about for years in the usual equestrian pursuits. Some eventing here, a bit of showjumping there, going back to getting her first pony at 10.

She'd heard about endurance riding but figured she wouldn't have the time to take it seriously. But on Tuesday she and teammates Debby Worsfold and Alison Higgins are off to Kentucky as New Zealand's team for the 160km endurance race at the world equestrian games.

"I've now discovered the riding I most enjoy doing - hacking down the road, which used to be called skiving because you should be doing more important things - is called training," she quipped. At the Masters Games in Hamilton six years ago, Chandler, who farms near Pirongia, close to Te Awamutu, and works at Waikato University's animal psychology lab, was encouraged to enter and had a standardbred who wasn't much good for anything else.

"So I took him in. It was 20km, which seemed an awfully long way. We won it and I was hooked." Chandler bought her world games mount, Lace and Fineness, in December 2005...

Read more here:
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/sport/news/article.cfm?c_id=4&objectid=10669396


Challenge is On!

NZEquestrian.org.nz

13/08/2010

Three women will fly the flag for New Zealand at the 2010 World Equestrian Games in Kentucky next month.

Alison Higgins (Nelson) on Twynham El Omar, Debby Worsfold (Rangiora) on Northwinds Bradley McGregor (owned by Chris King) and Jenny Chandler (Te Awamutu) on Lace and Fineness will compete in the 160-kilometre endurance ride against the best in the world.

Higgins is the highest world ranked member of the team, coming in at number 10 – her best ranking was three earlier this year. She'll compete on her horse Twynham El Omar, who was one of a trio of horses she competed successfully on in New Zealand this past season.

The 41-year-old current South Island champ has only been involved in endurance since 2002, but has moved quickly through the ranks.

Twenty-four year old Worsfold has previously ridden in South Africa for New Zealand and has won the South Island Championships and finished second at National Championships.

Rounding out the team is 44-year-old Chandler, who while relatively new to the sport, has placed well in national competitions.

High performance leader Madonna Harris says the terrain in Kentucky will suit the Kiwi horses perfectly, but much hinges on solid riding skills and a strong team performance. However, with just three in the team, there is no luxury of a drop off score.

“Our riders know what speed they need to ride at to maintain that world class level,” says Harris, who has represented New Zealand in a raft of sports including cross country skiing, cycling, athletics, endurance riding and basketball.

“We have a great opportunity to do well there.”

The team gets on the road later this week before flying to Los Angeles on August 29th.

Endurance is one of eight equestrian disciplines taking part in the games – the others being showjumping, reining, dressage, eventing, para dressage, vaulting and driving.

The endurance team was the first of the New Zealand teams to be announced. Initially a five-strong team was named but two of those announced later withdrew.

The World Equestrian Games are held every four years. The first one was held in Stockholm in 1990, and this year's event in Kentucky, in the United States is expected to attract riders from more than 50 nations.

The estimated economic impact the 16-day event is expected to have on Kentucky is around $US 150 million. Organisers say they will sell 600,000 tickets. The games run from September 25 through to October 10 and are held at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington.


Endurance Board comments on World Equestrian Games withdrawals

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

August 11 2010

The Endurance Board of Equestrian Sports New Zealand (ESNZ) has distanced itself from the controversy surrounding the withdrawal of two combinations from the World Equestrian Games.

Two-time national champion Jenny Champion and 2010 national champion Sue Reid each withdrew from the team after their first-choice grooms failed to gain selection.

The withdrawals have left New Zealand with three combinations in endurance in the Games in Kentucky, severely damaging the country's chances of team honours.

The Endurance Board, in a statement to members, noted the public discussion and debate around the withdrawals and voiced fears it could damage the sport's standing.

It said it wanted to reiterate to members that the Endurance Board held no authority over ESNZ High Performance and retained no position of influence over endurance high-performance selections or selection criteria for the Games...

More...


Groom policy explained in 2009, says governing body - Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

August 4, 2010

by Robin Marshall

Kiwi endurance riders in contention for representative honours were told in 2009 that they might not get their first-choice groom if selected, Equestrian Sports New Zealand (ESNZ) says.

Chief executive Jim Ellis was commenting after the withdrawal of the second of five endurance riders selected to represent New Zealand at the World Equestrian Games (WEG) in Kentucky late in September.

The latest withdrawal, that of Jenny Champion and her mount Freckles, means chances of team honours at the Games are difficult, as there could be no discard time. Susan Reid withdrew from the team on July 13.

The withdrawals centred around both riders failing to see their first-choice grooms selected.

Ellis said officials from ESNZ's High Performance programme had talked with Champion over the past three weeks in a bid to resolve the dispute...

More...


Second blow for NZ endurance team as groom row escalatesHorsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

August 1, 2010

by Robin Marshall

By any standards, it looked to be an unbeatable team. A two-time national champion horse and rider, with an elite coach and former world champion as top groom, and a New Zealand World Games representative as second groom.

But not in the eyes of New Zealand endurance selectors.

The country's hopes of regaining its footing on the world endurance riding stage have faltered with the withdrawal of two-time national champion Jenny Champion from the country's World Equestrian Games endurance team.

The withdrawal of the Eketahuna-based rider follows the defection of 2010 national champion Sue Reid from the team two weeks ago. With two riders gone from the squad of five, it means that the three remaining riders must all complete the event for New Zealand to be in with a chance of success. Previously, one rider was to compete as an individual and the other four as a team.

Endurance is a sport with training and consistency at its heart. But New Zealand team riders have been told who will be grooming for them at the World Games...

Read more here:
http://www.horsetalk.co.nz/news/2010/08/007.shtml


Endurance rider withdraws from World Equestrian Games - NZEquestrian.org.nz

July 16 2010

ESNZ regrets to announce that Sue Reid and her horse Makahiwi Achilles have advised ESNZ of the combination’s withdrawal from the 2010 WEG Endurance Team.

The NZ Endurance Team still comprises of the following four combinations:

Alison Higgins – Twynham El Omar
Jenny Champion – Freckles
Debby Worsfold – Northwinds Bradley McGregor
Jenny Chandler – Lace and Fineness

The Team competition at the WEG counts the top three combinations times.


Endurance WEG Team Grooms Selected - NZEquestrian.org.nz

July 8 2010

The Endurance HP Team are pleased to announce the following selections:

Jo Hull

Sian Reid

Shane Dougan

Nikki Barton

Phillip Higgins

Chris King

Braden Cameron

Richard Armstrong

Megan Cannon

Kerry Armstrong

Paul Cooper

Teresa Hoult - Physiotherapist (human)


First of the Equestrian Team named for World Championships - NZEquestrian.org.nz

July 1 2010

New Zealand has named the first of its Team to compete at the 2010 World Equestrian Games in Kentucky 100 days out from the start of the eminent event....and it's a rather unique crew.

All five named in the New Zealand endurance team for the championships are female. Endurance is one of four disciplines New Zealand is likely to send to the 16-day event in the United States in September.

Equestrian Sports New Zealand has named a five strong team who will compete in the 160-kilometre endurance competition, the equestrian equivalent to the marathon where it can take up to 13 hours to complete. While it is a team that has relatively little international experience, those behind them are vastly experienced and very successful on the world stage.

New Zealand high performance endurance leader and chef d'equipe Madonna Harris – who has represented New Zealand successfully at a raft of sports at world level – is excited by the prospect her charges bring.

Alison Higgins (Nelson) is the highest world ranked member of the team, coming in at number three. She'll compete on her horse Twynham El Omar, who was one of a trio of horses she competed successfully on in New Zealand this past season.

Mother of three, Sue Reid (Pokeno) is the reigning national and North Island champ aboard Makahiwi Achilles (owned by Phillipa Mutch) and has groomed for others at the world champs and junior world champs in years gone by.

Jenny Champion (Masterton) is no stranger to being selected for national teams, having got the nod a number of times before but financial constraints meant she often had to decline. She's groomed for her partner Shane Dougan at world champs before and has been endurance riding for 20 years. She'll compete on her mare Freckles.

Rounding out the team are Debbie Worsfold (Rangiora) on Northwinds Bradley McGregor and Jenny Chandler (Te Awamutu) on Lace and Fineness.

Madonna Harris says the terrain in Kentucky will suit the Kiwi horses perfectly, but much hinges on solid riding skills and a strong team performance.

“It's been a gruelling selection process that has made all the candidates step up to the mark, and we'll be continuing that right through until we leave in September.”

Four will ride as a team, as well as individuals, with the fifth just contesting the individual title. Harris is picking the main competition to come from United Arab Emirates, Spain and hosts United States. New Zealand won team gold at the World Championships in 1998.

“Our riders know what speed they need to ride at to maintain that world class level,” she says. “Now it is a matter of making it happen. We have a great opportunity to do well there.”

It's a huge financial commitment and massive undertaking to get these combinations on the ground in Kentucky. Players, grooms and supporters are on a mission to raise $250,000 to ensure they get to WEG and have a chance to shine on such a perfect course.

New Zealand chef de mission Wallie Niederer had every faith in the team, saying the stringent selection process, which spanned much of the season, had seen riders rise to the occasion.

“It can only auger well for World Games,” he said.

Endurance is one of eight equestrian disciplines taking part in the games – the others being showjumping, reining, dressage, eventing, para dressage, vaulting and driving.

The World Equestrian Games are held every four years. The first one was held in Stockholm in 1990, and this year's event in Kentucky, in the United States is expected to attract riders from more than 50 nations.

The estimated economic impact the 16-day event is expected to have on Kentucky is around $US 150 million. Organisers say they will sell 600,000 tickets. The games run from September 25 through to October 10 and are held at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington.

More New Zealand teams will be announced over the coming months.


Star endurance team ready to tackle financial hurdles

Times-age.co.nz - Full Article

Gary Caffell | 30th June 2010

Ace Masterton endurance rider Jenny Champion has a mountain to climb before she can represent New Zealand at the World Equestrian Games to be held in Kentucky in the United States from September 25 to October 10.

Champion needs $50,000 to enable both herself and her star charge, Freckles, to make the return trip and she has just over two months to meet that financial commitment.

Not surprisingly then, Champion's immediate focus is on bringing her mightily impressive CV up to date so she can present it to the various organisations and business houses from which sponsorship could possibly be obtained.

And she is also planning how any sponsors coming on board can be rewarded for their generosity, like having their names or logos embossed on a rug which will be worn by Freckles or painted on to the truck which usually transports the classy 15-year-old mare...

Read more here:

http://www.times-age.co.nz/sport/news/star-endurance-team-ready-to-tackle-financial-hurd/3916692/


Lace and Fineness

June 24 2010

Jenny Chandler tells the story...

“We found Lace on a small property with miniature ponies in Ngatea. As she had proved a bit of a handful for her previous two owners, we thought she needed rescuing and was possibly not what we were really looking for… how wrong we have been! Believing she knew it all from her second novice ride on, she took to Endurance like a duck to water. Now she really does know most of it like the back of her hand, but thankfully has learned to pace herself and is a pleasure to ride.”

Lace has gone on to become a top New Zealand Endurance horse, winning the “Distance Horse of the Year” award in the 2008-09 season and is poised to win the title again this year with five wins and three top-three finishes out of eight rides. Together Lace and Jenny have completed two FEI (FEI are international classed events) 160km rides, both in times which qualify them to compete at the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky, USA.

read more about New Zealand's WEG team - http://lacekentucky.webs.com/meettheteam.htm


Kiwi endurance team for World Equestrian Games named - Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

June 17, 2010

New Zealand has named its first team of riders to take part in the 2010 World Equestrian Games in Kentucky later this year.

The endurance team for New Zealand will comprise Alison Higgins (Nelson) on Twynham El Omar, Sue Reid (Pokeno) and Makahiwi Achilles, Jenny Champion (Masterton) and Freckles, Debbie Worsfold (Rangiora) on Northwinds Bradley McGregor, and Jenny Chandler (Te Awamutu) on Lace and Fineness.

Endurance is one of four disciplines New Zealand is likely to send to the 16-day event in the United States in September.

The five strong team will compete in the 160-kilometre endurance competition, the equestrian equivalent to the marathon where it can take up to 13 hours to complete. While it is a team that has relatively little international experience, those behind them are vastly experienced and very successful on the world stage.

More...


New Zealand 2010 World Equestrian Games News

Endurance High Performance Squads 19 February 2010

Equestrian Sports New Zealand (ESNZ) has completed the following review of horse/rider combinations which have been selected for the ESNZ HP Programme’s 2010 Squads for Endurance.

1. 2010 ‘A Squad’

The following combinations now make up the first ‘A Squad’ selection having shown performance which suggests the capability to meet ESNZ performance standards at WEG 2010. Each rider has information from the endurance selection panel regarding further expectation of performance between now and April 2010, when the squads will be reviewed following the National Championships.

Rider - Horse

Alison Higgins - Twynham El Omar
Debbie Worsfold - Northwinds Bradley McGregor
Jenny Chandler - Lace and Fineness

2. 2010 ‘B Squad’

The following combinations are WEG qualified, having attained full CoCs. The endurance selection panel wishes to see ‘B Squad’ combinations prove fitness and show WEG target standards of performance, particularly at the National Championships. These combinations will be expected to compete at the National Endurance Championships together with their proposed WEG groom and crew personnel. It is hoped that combinations will prove to selectors their fitness and performance ability to be placed in the ‘A Squad’ when it is reviewed after the National Championships.

The selection panel will give priority attention to:

· Professionalism as a team unit;
· Matching a combination’s performance to their stated outcome for the event;
· The combination’s ability to perform at the best possible speed given course design, underfoot going and weather conditions;
· Rider’s vet gate lag times (ESNZ WEG selection criteria requires times less than 4 minutes)

Rider - Horse

Jenny Champion - Freckles
Mark Tylee - Class Act
Phillip Graham - Wolfgang Amadeus
Kylie Avery - Silands Mia Bella
Murray Smith - Glenmore Toyboy
Tessa Deuss - Tahira Samson II

3. Other

The following combinations are not fully WEG qualified and still require full CoCs. The endurance selection panel wishes to see these combinations prove fitness and show WEG target standards of performance, particularly at the National Championships (unless otherwise discussed with the rider). The above criteria regarding selection in the B Squad section apply.

Rider - Horse

CoC Required

Angela Doel - SS Shahrayer

Rider requires 1 x 2*

Shane Dougan - Taralea Sheer Illusion

Horse requires 1 x 2*

Notes

1. World Equestrian Games 2010 – At the time of WEG final selection (see point 6 below) ESNZ will select horse/rider combinations deemed capable of achieving a top 25 individual placing in the individual Endurance Competition.

2. Combinations selected to compete at the 2010 World Equestrian Games in Kentucky will be chosen from combinations which are part of the 2010 A Squad at the time of final selection (see point 5 below).

3. Should enough combinations meet this individual criteria, a team will be named to contest the WEG team competition.

4. The 2010 A Squad listed contains combinations that are currently tracking to achieving a top 25 placing at WEG, based on recent performances.

5. Riders can be added to, or removed from, the 2010 squads by the Selectors based on performances in the period before the each review of the Squads. The selection panel reserves the right to add any other combinations at any time. The squads will be reviewed again at the following times:

· Following the Endurance National Championships in April
· End June 2010

6. The final selection date for the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky will be 1st August 2010.

7. All riders named on ESNZ HP Squads have been invited by ESNZ to be part of these Squads and are formally required to commit themselves to the principles and protocols of the ESNZ High Performance Programme including a commitment to medal winning performances at pinnacle events.

8. Any riders who wish to discuss their squad position should contact Endurance HP Leader, Madonna Harris – mad@ihug.co.nz.