Xena is the stable star after she and Rebekah van Tiel competed in a grand prix showjumping class and had the fastest time in the jump off.BRIAR HUBBARD/FAIRFAX NZ

Xena is the stable star after she and Rebekah van Tiel competed in a grand prix showjumping class and had the fastest time in the jump off.

Competition season is in full swing and Rebekah van Tiel proved her class when she took on one of New Zealand’s top showjumpers and gave her a run for her money. Renee Faulkner had a lesson with eventer Jock Paget, who praised her cross country skills, and Rachel Stock’s horse has been shod with new shoes which will give him a competitive advantage. 

Rider: Rebekah van Tiel
Horse: Adeaze, aka Xena and Munroe, aka Burt
Discipline: Showjumping
Level: Young rider (U-21 national level, jumping 1.45m) and is in a national talent squad.
Goal: To win Young Rider of the Year at Horse of the Year in March 2016 

Coming second to one of New Zealand’s top showjumpers was a pretty special achievement for Rebekah van Tiel.

She and Xena competed in the young rider and grand prix classes at the Northland Grand Prix Show, where the duo were fourth in the young rider, and a close second behind Vicki Wilson and Showtym Cadet MVNZ.

Van Tiel and Xena had the quickest time in the grand prix jump off, but had an unlucky rail, allowing Wilson to triumph.

The teenager said it was a thrilling competition.

“It was so cool, we were the only two clears and she was first out in the jump off. I rang my coaches because I didn’t want to do it, because no one can beat her on that horse. But they said ‘you’re an idiot, go out and win it.’

“I went out and went for it, we were going so fast and we had the second to last rail which was a bit annoying, but I still beat her time. I got a bit deep and she (Xena) was probably getting a bit tired, I’d gone so hard out. It was a good experience more than anything.”

While Xena was on form, van Tiel said Burt was a different matter entirely. She competed him in the 1.05m, where they placed third, the 1.15m, where they had a refusal at the third jump and the 1.20m, which van Tiel retired him from, because he was over-jumping.

“He was spooky and not having a good time…the spring grass was terrible. I could have managed it a bit better and given him magnesium before the show, but I didn’t, which was a bit stupid.”

Renee Faulkner and Rubin tackle a trakehner under the guidance of Jock Paget.BRIAR HUBBARD/FAIRFAX NZ

Renee Faulkner and Rubin tackle a trakehner under the guidance of Jock Paget.

However, it was a learning curve for van Tiel, and she has competed Burt since the Northland show, where he jumped 1.20m in spectacular fashion.

Rider: Renee Faulkner
Horse: Rubinstar HH, aka Rubin
Discipline: Eventing
Level: CCI two star, aiming for three star next year. CCI eventing is governed by the FEI. Four star is the highest international level. Faulkner is in a national talent squad.
Goal: To compete and finish a three star event by April.

Renee Faulkner and her eventer Rubin kicked off summer with a lesson from Olympic medallist Jock Paget, as part of Equestrian Sports New Zealand’s young rider squad.

The group lesson, held at Springbush Equestrian, saw Paget put the pair through their paces over cross country jumps.

After a warm up, and a brief lesson over some rolltops, the group moved on to a mini course which had the riders tackling steps, banks and palisades, both up hill and down hill.

Faulkner said having a lesson with Paget for the second time was humbling.

“Jock was able to suss out Rubin within seconds which isn’t an easy thing and (he) reflected on our performance with helpful pointers and tips.”

Paget had the riders tackle a palisade which led into a sharp turn for a trakehner. Faulkner jumped the palisade, but had the wrong line for the trakehner, so opted not to jump it and began again. She then jumped the combination perfectly, which Paget praised.

Renee Faulkner and Rubin power through the water.BRIAR HUBBARD/FAIRFAX NZ

Renee Faulkner and Rubin power through the water.

“Everything you are doing is great. All of your choices and everything you are doing – don’t change anything.”

Faulkner said it was a huge compliment to hear, and it reinforced that she was doing a good job.

“It felt pretty cool for someone of his calibre to say such encouraging things about my riding and decision making, which shows that my training with Angela (Lloyd) is being recognised.”

She added a handy hint from Paget was to ensure Rubin continued to focus on her between jumps.

“Rubin enjoys jumping so much he wants to get to the next jump straight away, meaning his stride is quite open. Jock suggested we do some circles and halts in training to get his attention back to me between jumps, which paid off as he jumped clear in the two star at Rotorua.”

Rider: Rachel Stock
Horse: Bates Rimini Park Emmerich, aka Ricki. Stock will try qualify another horse and one will be a reserve.
Discipline: Dressage
Level: Grade three para-dressage (grade three means 30 per cent of a rider’s core and their extremities are affected.)
Goal: To qualify for the Paralympic Games in Rio, 2016.

When it comes to increasing a horse’s competitive edge, there is an abundance of tricks, tips and gadgets to help. One of those gadgets includes studs, which are screwed into the horse’s shoe and act as extra grip while competing, similar to studs on rugby boots.

However, studs can be fiddly to screw in and take out, and they are impossible for Rachel Stock to handle, because of her arthritic hands. However, her partner Gwyn Hughes has stepped up and offered to take care of the tricky situation, to ensure Stock and her mount Ricki have the best chance of performing well.

Hughes said it was a no brainer offering to help with the studs, and after a quick lesson from Ricki’s farrier, Adam Illston, he was feeling confident.

Ricki gets new shoes from farrier Adam IllstonBRIAR HUBBARD/FAIRFAX NZ

Ricki gets new shoes from farrier Adam Illston

“It’s part and parcel of the job. Anything that promotes Rachel and Ricki to do a better job is my role really.”

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Stock said studs had been on the cards for quite some time. The stud holes need to be kept clean and the thread needs to be maintained. Ricki will not be able to walk on certain surfaces, including concrete, while they are screwed in. They also need to be changed according to ground conditions.

“It’s something we’ve been saying we’ve been wanting to do for a long time because of the size of him.

“It will mean more stability and a more confident horse because once he slips he loses confidence and he’s hard to ride and he loses expression and most of all, it’s for safety. We are so close to going away now that we don’t need another injury.”

She said Ricki had problematic hooves which needed constant care.

“His feet, although they are better, will always be a problem…it’s those four feet that carry us through the test unfortunately. We can lose a tail or an ear, but we need those four feet.” 

READ MORE:  Trio of Franklin riders aim for excellence
Franklin riders deal with lessons, lameness and dicky teeth

Franklin equestrians say competitive riding isn’t cheap

 - Stuff

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