Olympic equestrian Jock Paget will visit South Canterbury later this month to promote a new world class eventing venue proposed at the historic Craigmore Station.
Paget, who was part of the bronze medal winning equestrian team at 2012 London Olympics, is now based in New Zealand after seven years in the UK and is the Equestrian Sports New Zealand (ESNZ) eventing development coach. He has had an stellar international career which includes victories at the world’s pinnacle four star events such as Badminton and is currently aiming for the Tokyo Olympics.
It’s his first visit to South Canterbury and a huge coup for the local equestrian fraternity. “We are really excited that Jock has come on board. It’s amazing for a little group like ours,” said South Canterbury North Otago (SCNO) Eventing Group spokeswoman Sara Rowley, who is one of the main drivers behind the proposal.
Rowley is hoping Paget’s presence will give the new eventing course the boost it needs to ensure it will become one of the iconic equestrian events in New Zealand, in line with with those premier “stately home” events in the UK and Ireland like Badminton, Burghley and Tattersalls with their bumper crowds and fair-type atmospheres.
Previously the stage for the Aoraki Arts Festival and annual Daffodil Day Country Fair, Rowley has long thought Craigmore would be the ideal location for a world class eventing venue in the South Island, not only because of its stunning natural beauty and flat to rolling country, but its central location being 2.5 hours from both Christchurch and Dunedin. The Elworthy’s also have a long history with equestrian.
For more than a decade SCNO Eventing have been without a course in the area following the closure of Cannington, meaning riders from pony club right through to FEI level have had to travel considerably for competitions.
But what started out as a throw away comment from current Craigmore owner Bridget Elworthy, is now on its way to becoming a reality.
“I was talking to Bridget on the phone in the UK and she thought I sounded exhausted! We had been tailing and were really busy on the farm, and I was trying to pack three children up and several horses and ponies to go and do some cross country training at McLeans Island. Bridget said that’s ridiculous Sara, you need to organise a cross country course at Craigmore!”
From there, the wheels spun into action, Bridget talked to her husband Forbes Elworthy, and it’s grown from there. Eighteen months on they have a solid Land Agreement in place allowing the ESNZ Eventing SCNO group a 10-year licence to run events at Craigmore Station, also allowing Pony Club to run Springston Trophy and Area Eventing Champs and for the course to be used in agreement with management for clinics and training purposes.
Knowing the effort that South Island riders have to put in, Paget jumped at the opportunity to be involved to promote the new venture. He’ll visit the venue on Monday, September 25, South Canterbury Anniversary day and partake in a day of festivities to showcase the amazing venue including a novelty race and signing, an interview with Jock in the Craigmore gardens, drinks and nibbles in the homestead and ending with a three course meal in the old stables.
“It should be an incredible day and we encourage everyone to get involved,” said Rowley. “It’s not only an opportunity to get up close and personal with one of our greatest equestrians, but see all Craigmore has to offer as an exciting eventing venue in the future.
“We are really hoping the whole community will get behind this venture. It is not only great for the equestrian fraternity, but will be a huge asset to Timaru and South Canterbury, attracting people far and wide to region.”
Jock Paget is coming to Craigmore Station, South Canterbury and everyone is invited to join us!
Plan for the day!
3.30pm - NOVELTY RACE
Come and watch Jock Paget and our very own Local Eventing High Performance Selector Bill Phiskie - race off against local Show Jumping, Pony Club and Hunting Children. A totaliser will be run for fun!
4.30pm - SIGN TIME
Children this is your opportunity to get Jock’s signature on something special.
5pm - GARDEN INTERVIEW FOR JOCK
Interview time for Jock in the Craigmore gardens, all questions welcome.
6pm - NIBBLES AND DRINKS WITH JOCK
Nibbles and a complimentary drink with Jock in the Craigmore Homestead.
7pm - DINNER WITH JOCK
Three course, sit down meal for 80 people in the loft above the stables at Craigmore Station.
- Dinner - $100/person
- Interview, Nibbles and Drinks - $35
- Novelty Race and Sign Time - $20
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT
SARA ROWLEY 027 4993192