21 Mar
21 March 2018

Dressage role celebrated by Manfeild

CONFIRMATION the New Zealand National Dressage Championships will return to Manfeild in 2019 provides opportunity for the venue to reinforce a previously stated status as the premier national location for the sport.

The Bates National Dressage Championships has been an annual event at the Feilding venue since 2014, having previously been staged there every two in every three years.

Manfeild chief executive Julie Keane says the 2018 event, on February 15-18, was especially well-supported by riders and spectators and provided the added appeal of internationally-renowned local competitor Julie Brougham winning the championship after years of close calls.

“Julie has been a big fan of our facility and her success in winning both the Open Dressage to Music and the Open Dressage Grand Prix on her home turf was thrilling for her, her local fanbase and for us.

“It was the ultimate way to top off a fantastic competition at a venue that once again was praised by many competitors.”

Dressage NZ has raised thought about nationals going to another venue outside of the region after 2019.

Mrs Keane says this determination came as a surprise. DNZ has previously said it found it difficult to look past Manfeild to host an event that goes back to the 1950s and now regularly draws 150 top-class riders, plus many more supporters.

“They have suggested a move away from Manfeild will occur in 2020 once the site they are giving consideration to is completed to the standard required for holding international FEI and CDI events.

“We respect their right to take the event to where they are most comfortable yet would simply remind that our own venue already meets every standard required to stage a truly international event that showcases riders, horses and sport to the world.”   

Manfeild’s extensive bespoke competition areas, large-scale stabling, geographically central location, indoor stadium and associated facilities were highlighted by DNZ when it determined to make the nationals an annual undertaking.

In 2014 it congratulated Manawatu for having the foresight to develop a big, multi-purpose venue and suggested the sport had bloomed since involving at Manfeild. 

Mrs Keane said Manfeild will do all it can to sway DNZ into reconsidering its thoughts and hoped the wider community would be just as vocal.

“This is a big event that the region should not give up easily. The sport enjoys a strong following in the Manawatu but there is more to it. This event delivers a significant financial windfall.

“The spend on hires, catering and on local accommodation has to be of considerable benefit to the community and region. Restaurants, supermarkets, petrol stations … the economic gain for Feilding alone must be quite impressive.

“We also value the relationship that has developed between the sport and our venue.

“We have mutual respect for each other, a willingness to work together and an enduring commitment to raise the profile of the sport and to provide best possible opportunity for riders to realise their national and international dreams.

“This year we and DNZ event manager Celine Filbee worked closely together to deliver an outcome of which we were all proud. We are saddened to see that Celine is leaving the sport and wish her every success for the future.”

NZ National Dressage Susan Tomlin.jpg

Caption: Featured rider is Susan Tomlin and Dancelong of Palmerston North. Photo credit: Libby Law