New Zealand’s vaulting community are making history as the first-ever Kiwi team to have qualified for the World Equestrian Games.
Just twice before has New Zealand had an individual at the games in 2006 Hannah Mills competed at Aachen and in 1994 David McIntyre donned the silver fern for the games at The Hague.
For Kāpiti Vaulting Club coordinator Lyn McIntyre, the driving force behind the effort, it is a dream come true.
Eight vaulters including two reserves ranging in age from 11 to 21 , will make the trip with their two trainers.
“We have been on this pathway for the last four years,” she said. “This is a dream come true.”
Equestrian Sports New Zealand high performance director Sarah Harris said the commitment of the Kāpiti Club and its vaulters has paved the way for their inclusion in the national team heading to WEG.
“Lyn (McIntyre) has ensured these athletes have been exposed to top international competition through trips to Europe and through Northern Hemisphere trainers. This is a club with an outstanding performance culture and we believe this is the beginning of a very long pathway for them,” says Harris.
This is a team that is more than capable of making the top eight in the world, which is incredibly exciting for vaulting and the wider New Zealand equestrian family.”
To make the cut, the club has sent teams and individuals to Germany where they have competed with success, as well as numerous times across the Tasman.
Key to the team making the grade was the quality of the horse they will compete aboard, and through their extensive European connections, have secured two to choose from. Each come with a lunger.
“We are very lucky to have secured these horses both have been sought after by other countries too, but have been held for New Zealand,” says McIntyre.
The team will head to Europe five weeks before the champs where they will join the German training camp. An individual vaulter will head up in June to start preparations and training.
In vaulting competition, the horse gets 25 percent of the marks, so they are critical to the overall performance.
At the World Champs, the team will have do both compulsory and freestyle performances. The latter is done to music.
In preparation for the championships, the team-members are training up to six days a week for three hours a day, including strengthening and gym work as well as riding.
Of course getting to the world championships will require some serious fundraising. The club’s website www.kapitiequestrian.com also includes the club Facebook page and on both there is an opportunity for anyone wishing to support the team, as the costs to actually compete is almost entirely having to be met by the team members and their families and the amounts involved are horrendous. These are local, average, hardworking Kāpiti families who have supported their children over a large number of years as they trained and developed into extremely talented and dedicated athletes. This team truly deserves the local Regions’ support.
The team is athletes: Danielle Schwabe, Brooke Dunstan, Lily-Claire Palmer, Georgi Curran, Rhyanne Vasta, Evangeline Goldie, Grace Williamson, Jennifer Ponne. Coaches: Catarina Strom, Verena Fiess.no