New Zealand jumping selectors are hoping for a little out-of-season joy when senior and young rider teams take on the Aussies in official tests later this year.
It is the first time since 2005 that the Trans Tasman Trophy has been contested on Australian soil.
Olympian and World Champs rider Samantha McIntosh (Cambridge) is joined by World Cup campaigners Ross Smith (Canterbury) and Lisa Coupe (Kumeu), with rising young star Luke Dee (Ocean Beach) rounding out the four in the senior team.
McIntosh, who will ride either Estina or Claire, and Smith, aboard Quite Cassini, are already competing in Australia, and making the most of the down time in the Kiwi season.
Dee, a full time rider for New Zealand Performance Horses who will ride Ombudsman, is currently riding and competing in the United States, while Coupe, who will compete on Bates Amaretto MVNZ, is just back from Europe.
The young rider team is spearheaded by Bridget Hansen (Ocean Beach) who spends much of her time across the Tasman competing and Rebekah van Tiel (Karaka) who is on her way back to New Zealand after competing at the FEI World Jumping Challenge in Venezuela where she finished seventh.
Rosie Commons (Auckland) and Melody Matheson (Hawke’s Bay), who both rode for a young rider New Zealand team earlier this year, are also included.
The teams will compete at two shows, with the official tests at the Australian Showjumping Championships in Werribee from . When they last did battle, in New Zealand in 2012, it was a draw, so both teams will be keen to stake a claim on one of the most sought-after trans Tasman trophies.
The teams will also compete at the Royal Melbourne Show from September 26-29.
Chef d’equipe John Cottle was a part of the last team to compete in Australia, who successfully brought the trophy home.
But this year’s teams will face the extra challenge of the test being outside of the New Zealand season.
Team events like the trans Tasman are seen as pivotal in preparing riders for major competitions like the World Equestrian Games. And it’s an added bonus that the 2014 WEG course designer Frederic Cottier will be building at the Australian Show Jumping Championships.
Senior team: Lisa Coupe (Kumeu) Bates Amaretto MVNZ, Ross Smith (Canterbury) Quite Cassini, Samantha McIntosh (Cambridge) Estina/Claire, Luke Dee (Ocean Beach) Ombudsman.
Young Rider: Rebekah van Tiel (Karaka) Adeaze, Rosie Commons (Auckland) Glenara Chandon, Melody Matheson (Hawke’s Bay) Cheltenham, Bridget Hansen (Ocean Beach) Shakespear NZPH.
Chef d’equipe: John Cottle (Auckland).