The accolades have been rolling in for the Zilco Festival of Future Stars which was held over two days at the SI National Equestrian Centre in Canterbury.

The Canterbury Dressage committee have been wanting to promote a young horse show for some time, and after consultation with Michele Zielazo, Vice President of the NZ Warmblood Assn, decided to host and incorporate the SI Warmblood championship show alongside a dressage competition, and this was the platform for showcasing the young horse concept in the South Island.

FEI 3* judges Kerrie Swan-Bates (Aus) and Linda Warren-Davey (NZL) are both Australian accredited young horse judges, and were joined by Australian show judge Kim Martin who judged the Warmblood led and ridden classes, and by all accounts the show has been a total success receiving over 120 entries, with 17 in the young horse classes and riders travelling from Nelson, Blenheim and as far South as Queenstown.

The committee also decided to include the newest young horse 7 yr old test. With Zilco Equestrian Products sponsoring the championship rugs, grooming kits and sashes, Syncroflex sponsoring the rugs and sashes for the YH classes, Mitavite sponsoring the Show classes, Rangiora Equestrian supporting the unregistered classes, along with support from Saddlery Barn, Equestrian Elegance, Catwalk and, there was an abundance of fabulous prizes for competitors. Musical freestyle tests were available for Level 5 horses and above and were well supported.

Both YH judges Kerrie and Linda were full of praise about the quality of the horses in the competition, and were delighted to hear from several riders who thought the feedback they received was valuable and will assist with the further training and development of their horses over the winter months. Linda is confident the YH competitions will become popular in NZ as riders, owners and breeders of young horses become more familiar with the concept. Linda emphasises that “the judging is different to standard tests. There is a mark for each of the paces, the submission and the overall perspective of the horse, with feedback provided on the horse’s strengths and weaknesses in this all-important development phase, and which areas require more focus as per the Training Scale for the horse to realise its full potential”.

Dressage riders enjoyed being able to add in a few showing classes amongst their dressage tests, and the committee is looking forward to developing the show further in 2018.

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