New 4* Cross Country Track for Barge Showgrounds Whangarei

New 4* Cross Country Track for Barge Showgrounds Whangarei

New 4* Cross Country Track for Barge Showgrounds Whangarei

Northland is getting set to host The National One Day Eventing Champs on the 16/17 April 2022 and has enlisted the help of a world class course designer.

Mike Etherington Smith was commissioned by the Eventing Northland Committee and flew from the UK to visit Barge Showgrounds in 2019 with the job of designing a new 4 Star cross country track.

Mike’s career has seen him riding professionally, eventing and jumping up to 4* level. He went on to become the Technical Director for the International Federation for Equestrian Sports at many events worldwide including Badminton Horse Trials and the Athens Olympic Games in 2004. His course design expertise has seen him work and build challenging cross country tracks all over the world at various levels, including the Olympics in 2000 and 2008 and the World Equestrian Games in 2010.

His visit to Whangarei was pre Covid and luckily included making a detailed design and drawing for each jump so he could continue his part in putting together this world class track, which is being created especially for the event. With the Covid pandemic closing our borders the baton of Mike’s vision has been passed to experienced Auckland cross country course designer, Chris Ross. Chris is qualified at the highest international level, and has most recently been challenging horse and rider combinations as the lead designer for the New Zealand Three Day Event Championships, held in Taupo.  Chris will be assisted by Blyth Tait, who needs little introduction as our local home-grown Olympic gold medallist in Eventing aboard Ready Teddy in Atlanta in 2006. Having recently retired from the upper levels of the competition scene, he has now turned his expertise to cross country course design.

Jumps are being built after hours and long into the night, on a local property by Aranga based Course Builder Graham Fox and members of the Eventing Northland Committee, and then transported to Barge Showgrounds. Upgrades to the facilities at Barge Showgrounds are also being carried out to make this a top-notch highlight of the Eventing calendar thanks to generous grants from Pub Charity, Oxford Trust and TAB NZ.  The primary focus of the facility upgrades is the construction of a new yarding complex to accommodate the equine athletes from around the country, enabled with funding from the Whangarei District Council.

Despite the pandemic and some trying conditions in getting the grounds up to FEI standards, local business have got in behind Northland Eventing with sponsorship. Keith Andrews Trucks are the premier sponsors of the event, which is officially titled the Keith Andrews Trucks National One Day Eventing Champs to be hosted by Eventing Northland. Other class sponsors are Waitangi Sporthorses, Dunstan Horsefeeds, Ryco Hose Whangarei, Northgate Lodge, Bayleys Country and Carters Bulkhaul. While the event is known as the ‘One Day Championships’, the format has been extended over 2 days to allow for expected competitor numbers.

Riders and supporters will be present from across New Zealand. The National One Day Championship titles will be awarded at 4 Star (Forest Gate Trophy), 3 Star (Waiteko Trophy), 2 Star (Ferndale Trophy), and 1 Star (Tait Trophy) level, and non-championship 1.05m and 95cm classes will also be running.

The National One Day Champs were last held in Northland in 1991 at the Finlayson’s property in Waimate North when it was a Trans-Tasman Team event. There has not been a 4 star level cross country track in Northland since 2001.

For further details, comment or sponsorship opportunity please contact –

Antoinette Jordan Email:


Helen Jagger (Secretary) Email:

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