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Federation Equestre Internationale News

FEI Eventing World Cup travels to New Zealand for the first time

For its fourth qualifier, the FEI Eventing World Cup will leave the United States and travel all the way to New Zealand.

Already well renowned for its national level horse trial competitions, the Mitavite Horse Trials held at the Kihikihi Domain (Akaroa County) will host New Zealand's inaugural World Cup qualifier. This class will be the highlight of the Easter trial which also caters for a CIC Two Star, Open intermediate and Novice classes.

It is only fitting that a world equestrian legend is behind the design of New Zealand's very first FEI Eventing World Cup Cross-Country course. Cambridge based double Olympic Gold Medallist Mark Todd and course designer John Nicholson have worked closely and have devised some innovative and interesting obstacles some of which reflect the wide range of sports practised at the Kihikihi Domain. These include a stock racing car, a giant football, cricket wickets and a polo stick. Other jumps of interest include a cottage named in honour of Charisma, Mark Todd's champion horse that passed away a little over a year ago. A vertical timber wall at the top of a
step embankment will also prove to be a new challenge.

With free spectator entry, there are plenty of opportunities for the public to enjoy the FEI Eventing World Cup proceedings over Easter Weekend. A number of equestrian trade stands and food and refreshments will be on-site. The New Zealand FEI Eventing World Cup Qualifier is proudly supported by Mitavite Horse Feeds, The Waipa District Council and Newstalk ZB.

The event will span over three days, commencing with Dressage on Friday 9 April (14h00), Cross-Country on the afternoon of Saturday 10 April and Jumping on Sunday 11 April (11h30).

Nearly 250 competitors will compete over the three days. Sixteen riders and 19 horses have sights firmly set on gaining World Cup qualifying points in order to secure a place amongst the world's best riders at the Final in France.

A leading contender will be host nation's own Matthew Grayling on Revo. The pair won the highest level of competition in Australasia, the 2001 Adelaide Four Star Three Day Event, and are therefore no strangers to top level success. They are also two-time winners of the New Zealand National One Day Championships. Grayling will be hoping for a similar result over the weekend with Revo returning to top competition after an injury spell.

An overseas entry has been received from Thailand's Pongsiree Bunleuwong, who is in New Zealand to qualify for the forthcoming Olympic Games in Athens and has entered two horses in the World Cup class: Toy Boy and Eliza Jane.

After the first three qualifying events, the United States dominate the FEI Eventing World Cup Leader Board. With 123 points, Darren Chiacchia (USA) is ahead of Australia's Phillip Dutton (110 points). They are followed by Andrzej Pasek (POL) with 101 points and Robyn Fisher (USA) with 100 points. Kihikihi will be the fourth event of the series and is guaranteed to lift the winning New Zealand rider into at least fourth position. The point system is weighed so that if a rider wins a leg, they will almost certainly qualify for the Final vying for the anticipated EUR 80,000 prize-money. "It's an exciting prospect for any one of the 16 riders here at Kihikihi this weekend" said event spokesperson Bevan Houlbrooke.

The FEI Eventing World Cup complete standings can be consulted on


The FEI Eventing World Cup is the sport's first linked series consisting of 17 qualifiers culminating in a yearly Final. It is organised at the highest level (three-star) of the short Eventing format which is the new standard for Championships and the Olympic Games. The series is designed in manner to encourage the participation of the world's best riders and horses and thus promote such emblematic values of Eventing, as the constant quest for harmony between physical skills and mental balance, contact with nature, precision, stamina, agility and insightful training. The FEI Eventing World Cup is a showcase of a sport resolutely turning to the future.


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