(Dressage New Zealand) – The elite of New Zealand’s dressage came out to play at today’s Horse of the Year Show, the crowds significantly swelling as fans gathered to watch Louisa Hill and Bates Antonello, New Zealand’s sole Kiwi dressage rider to have qualified for the London Olympics.
Displaying their trademark elegance, Hill and Bates Antonello did not disappoint, winning by a clear margin on 68.68%, followed by the next cluster of riders separated by less than a couple of percent; Bill Noble and Airthrey Highlander (63.36%), Nicky Pope and Fabarchie (62.55%), Hannah Appleton and Fiber Fresh Zactac (62.36%) and Kieryn Walton and Saraceni (61.60%).
With a score of 70% from international judge Peter Engel, it was a solid start for Louisa Hill, and the crowd were equally delighted. Louisa however was modest as ever, saying that she was just focusing on riding the horse and asking some questions of him, rather than continuing to treat him as a green horse.
The Young Riders however did not fare so well; caught in a sudden shower of rain and with swells of applause coming from the neighbouring show jumping arena, the atmosphere proved too much for a couple of top ranked competitors. Current national Young Rider champion Kate Welten and Amajah took the win with ease on 65.73%, followed by Caitlin Benzie and Greendowns Laredo (62.28%) and Anya Noble and Microchip in third place on 61.81%. After a positive start, Kelly Van Dyk and Wolhkahn were unsettled by the noise, dropping their final score to 58.21%, while Rebecca Goldsbury showed great stickability on board a tense Avante Garde, before being eliminated.
Tomorrow the young riders start with a clean slate, tackling the first of their title classes.
After being barrelled over in last night’s trot-up by her horse, Virtuoso II, Carolyn Jones recovered well to win the FEI Intermediate II CDN class on 56.52%, although it was just a small field of three. Mandy MacPherson and Tuahu Digiemon Drum place second and Wendy Hamerton and Pot of Gold took third spot.
There was plenty of friendly rivalry at the top end of the Advanced level class, with Andrea Bank and Britta Pedersen offering lovely examples of smooth, fluid tests, professionally ridden and with plenty of expression. The win went to Andrea on her lovely black stallion Doringcourt (65.42%), just ahead of Britta and Upendo (64.18%), with Andrea also taking third spot on Northern Fortuous (62.89%). Waikato riders then stepped up for fourth and fifth place, with Christine Weal and Superior Hit on 62.52% and Debra Cowen and Marceau (62%). Abbie Deken and KH Ambrose who have dominated at this level all season were off form today, finishing on 61.84%.
From Level 5-1 are now finished, with the Horse of the Year Champion and Reserve crowned. Tomorrow sees the Grand Prix and Advanced level riders, along with the Young Riders compete in their first title class.
Level 5 Horse of the Year: Susan Tomlin (Palmerston North), Giusto
Reserve Champion: Jutta Rosenblatt (Whanganui), Vollrath Lessing
Level 4 Horse of the Year: Laura Mead (Te Aroha), Geishaan
Reserve Champion: Penny Castle (Ashurst), Magnus Spero
Level 3 Horse of the Year: Anna McIntyre (Tauranga), Cavort
Reserve Champion: Gillian Edgar (Mosgiel), Cordacious
Level 3 Pony of the Year: Mihi Shepherd (Whangarei), Ngahere Romeo
Reserve Champion: Jordan Giltrap (New Plymouth), Celtic Limelight
Level 2 Horse of the Year: Kieryn Walton (Taumaranui), Silver Reef RD
Reserve Champion: Nicola Smith (Hamilton), Fraggle Rock RE
Level 2 Pony of the Year: Caitlin Lally (Kaukapakapa), Prima Bella
Reserve Champion: Shannon Brien (Christchurch), Classic Charm
Level 1 Horse of the Year: Karen Anderson (Whakatane), Don Qudos
Reserve Champion: Roseanne Rix (Whitemans Valley), Lindisfarne Laureate
Level 1 Pony of the Year: Chelsea Sinnamon (Taumaranui), Kirkwood Appeal
Reserve Champion: Sophie Alexander (Kumeu), Picture Me Painted