Since March of this year, St Peter’s Equestrian Academy has hosted four Inter-School’s Events attracting riders from not only the Waikato Region but from the wider North Island area.
In the latest of these highly successful events, equestrian students from 23 schools competed for the Open and Development Dressage Team titles at the Inter-schools Open Dressage Competition over a blustery June weekend. 85 riders competed in teams of four, completing 210 dressage tests at the two-day event hosted by the St Peter’s Equestrian Academy.
St Peter’s fielded seven teams (and contributed riders to an additional combined team with Southwell School).
In the Open Category the trophy for this inaugural event was lifted by the St Peter’s Blossoms (Luca Swale, Claudia Quested, Rebecca Foley and Tayla MacDonald), only just finishing ahead of the combined team of the St Peter’s Evernevers and Southwell School by slimmest of margins. In the Development Category, the St Peter’s Vixens (Emma Corbett, Yui Uematsu, Mirin McGeough, and Jeff Cao) overtook the Waikato Dio School Blush Pink team by less than two points.
Individually, St Peter’s year 11 student Tayla MacDonald won five out of six classes including the two highest level classes in the competition. Tayla has recently been nominated for a Waipa District Youth Sports Award and has also recently received the Dressage New Zealand Talent ID National Scholarship sponsored by Prydes Easifeed and Dressage New Zealand.
The St Peter’s Equestrian Academy has now won the last four competitions in a row including the North Island Interschools Horse Trials in Taupo at Pre-Training level; two St Peter’s Interschools Open Dressage Championships and the St Peter’s Invitational Show Jumping Championships.
This success is due to a restructuring of the Equestrian Academy in 2018 to focus on the core international FEI Equestrian disciplines of Show Jumping, Eventing, and Dressage. The establishment of the Rider Development Program with three experienced full-time coaches has contributed to a dramatic improvement in core riding skills. These skills form the platform for the ongoing success of the school in the competition. In addition to this, the annual schedule of 36 practice days at St Peter’s has contributed to the student’s competitive development. With the St Peter’s Equestrian Academy now seeing over 60 of its student riders actively competing for the school or on the senior ESNZ circuit.
Later this year the inter-schools show jumping and dressage season culminates with the North Island Inter-schools Dressage Championships in September and the North Island Inter-schools Show Jumping Championships in October, both of which will see schools from all over the North Island descend on the St Peter’s Equestrian Academy to ride it out for the prestigious title of NISS Champions.