Donna’s off to a golden start at Kihikihi

John NIcholson's courses can never be underestimated, so this isn't a dressage competition, but here's the results after this phase

Donna Edwards-Smith and her delightful palomino Mr Hokey Pokey may have the slightest of leads in the Waipa Home of Champions CIC3* at the Kihikihi International Horse Trial, but this is never just a dressage competition.

As the riders head into the all-important cross-country phase, Donna is just 0.5 penalty points ahead of Amanda Pottinger and Just Kidding who had a costly and unfortunate error in her dressage test.

Donna was very pleased with her nine-year-old horse’s efforts. “He is very green at this level and this is just his second 3* start, so I was very happy with him,” she said. “We had just one mistake when we missed a flying change but his medium and extended trot just keeps getting bigger and bigger.”

Donna, who has previously won the CIC1* at Kihikihi, would dearly love to add the 3* trophy to her cabinet, but she knows how challenging the John Nicholson-designed course will be.

“It’s just beautiful out there,” said the 36-year-old. “I love his courses. They promote very positive riding and the horses come off them more confident and the better for it.”
She’s expecting good things from her palomino horse, who clearly adores what he does.
“He just loves being himself. Hopefully with my mileage and his ability and attitude we’ll be able to pull something special off.”

It’s a frantic weekend for the busy rider, who is competing on seven horses across the grades.

Amanda had a heart-stopping moment at the end of her dressage test. She had no idea she had made an error in the course and was about to exit the arena when the judge rang the bell.

“My heart just dropped,” said the 24-year-old. “I was gutted I didn’t get either of my changes and the canter was a little flat but he is still young and I think the trot work was the nicest he has done. When that bell rang I thought I was being eliminated but had no idea what for!”

She had missed the last movement of the test, and had the opportunity to redo it.
“He was so good,” she said of her horse, who last year won the CIC2* at Kihikihi. Amanda made a last-minute decision to step him up to the 3* this year.

She’s looking forward to the cross-country and is happy that she’s walked the 3* several times before. “Kihikihi is never a dressage competition.

“It is not as scary as it was when I first walked it three years ago. Even though I have never ridden it, I have always walked it. It is big and absolutely beautifully built. Everything is a fair question and it’s all rideable, but you have to nail every fence.”  She’s confident Just Kidding is up to the challenge. “It is up to me to get it right for him.”

In the AON CIC2*, Campbell Draper from Putaruru aboard his Australian 10-year-old thoroughbred Mr Mancini sits on 47.2 penalty points at the front of the field. The horse, who was bred to race, won the 2* three-day at Puhinui in December and competes with success at medium level in pure dressage. Kate Wood (Whangarei) on Wolf Whistle II is right behind Campbell on 48.1.

Good luck for the cross country everyone, and you can watch the action on livestream on Country TV.

Results (after the dressage phase) –

Waipa Home of Champions CIC3*: Donna Edwards-Smith (Te Kauwhata) Mr Hokey Pokey 50.3 penalty points 1, Amanda Pottinger (Hawke’s Bay) Just Kidding 50.8 2, Katharine Van Tuyl (Woodville) Double J Sunshine 51.6 3, Dannie Lodder (Auckland) Tomahawk II 52 4, Emily Cammock (Christchurch) Lewis 52.7 5, Emily Cammock (Christchurch) Shaw Lee 54.3 6, Ashleigh McKinstry (Owango) Pioneer Brass Monkey 54.4 7, Samantha Felton (Matangi) Ricker Ridge Escada 54.6 8, Diane Gilder (Hamilton) Your Attorney 56.7 9, Andy Daines (Kumeu) Spring Panorama 58.4 10.

AON Insurance CIC2*: Campbell Draper (Putaruru) Mr Mancini 47.2 1, Kate Wood (Whangarei) Wolf Whistle II 48.1 2, Megan Finlayson (Kerikeri) Greensleeves 48.4 3, Dannie Lodder (Auckland) Call Me Al 50 4, Aleisha Collett (Morrinsville) Mi Focus 50.2 5, Virginia Thompson (Kaukapakapa) Man of Honour 50.6 6.

Horselands CIC1*: Fenella Carter (Kerikeri) Absolou 44.2 1, Abby Lawrence (Te Puke) Lord Fredick 45.8 2, Kate Disley (Manurewa) Arctic Cielo and Dannie Lodder (Auckland) Eon 46.9 =3, Alex Anderson (Taupo) Gina VT Bloemenhof 48.3 5, Lauren Currie (Lower Hutt) Rockdon Wildfire 48.4 6.

Prestige Equestrian CIC1* (6, 7 and 8-year-old horses): Jessica Woods (Ohaupo) LV Balou Jeanz 44.5 1, Abby Lawrence (Te Puke) Charlton Yamani 44.7 2, Christen Lane (Pukekohe) Thunder Cat 45.8 3, Chanel Campbell (Coatesville) Astek Guardsman 47.9 4, Donna Edwards-Smith (Te Kauwhata) Cluny 50.9 5, Simone Kann (Te Kauwhata) Luminous 51.9 6.

Wade Equestrian Coaches CNC1*: Karla Jamieson (Stratford) Westamour 28.7 1, Zoie Gray (Te Awamutu) FIS Budweiser 32.2 2, Richard Otto (Te Awamutu) Windsor 32.4 3, Anne MacAuley (Te Awamutu) Cliebrig Alexandria 33.3 4.

BetaVet CNC105: Kady Prujean (Pukekohe) The Duke 19.5 1, Madison Crowe (Hamilton) Logan 23.8 2, Kylee McCambridge (Cambridge) 25.2 3, Ashleigh McKinstry (Owhango) Pioneer Techtonic Shuffle 29.8 4.

JLT CNC105 Amateur: Bev Mulder (New Plymouth) Mr Strauss 17 1, Su Jenkins (Te Puke) Anonymous 18.2 2, Shannon Galloway (Hamilton) Day Walker 24.8 3, Nicky Mamo (Remuera) War Paint Gypsy King 26.2 4.

Vosper Law CNC105 5 and 6 year old horse: Alex Anderson (Taupo) Tigerherz 33 1, Abby Lawrence (Te Puke) Django 34.2 2, Georgia Watson (Rotorua) Astek Gratias 34.8 3, Catherine Taylor (Feilding) Matai Sugarsnap 36.3 4.

PEL CNC105 21 years and under: Jordie Watson (Dairy Flat) Meersbrook Foxy Lady, Rene Ryall (Dairy Flat) Boots and All and Antonia Baillie (East Tamaki) Hullabalou 30.8 =1, Samuel Amon (Murupara) Trojan Warrior 32.8 4.