Often at Taupo there’s a bit of a show of fit horses not wanting to do dressage, but on the whole, today was a display of mostly well behaved ones. Some were really good; others were best described as looking forward to cross-country day, and there were no major meltdowns that we saw.
There is not much in the competitions, and of course there will be some changes after the jumping phases, but well done to all.
Amanda Pottinger with Just Kidding have the lead in the NRM CCI3* despite making a course error, which Amanda was kicking herself for afterwards, calling herself a “muppet.”
Her score of 46.4 puts her 2.6pen in front of Samantha Felton on Ricker Ridge Pico Boo, with Dannie Lodder on Tomahawk I lying third. The rest of the field is not far behind, with only 14.4 marks between the first and last in the field of 16.
A lot of the riders commented that this was the best dressage they had done at Taupo, and Amanda was one of those, although she thought Just Kidding was a bit tense. “Inside he was very hot, and I have to learn to ride him when he is tense. I got that second flying change, and I’ve never got that before!”
It was a great day for Amanda, whose other horse, Blytheburn Maximo, also did very well and is leading the Wairakei CCN105 class.
None of the riders thought tomorrow’s cross-country was going to be easy. Samantha Felton was looking forward to riding it on her two horses in the main class. “There are a lot of new combinations, which is cool – none of us have jumped them before, so no-one gets an advantage.” While Amanda didn’t think it was big or scary, she was concerned that accuracy would be vital. “It’s very technical, with lots of combinations where it would be easy to incur 20 penalties for a run-out.”
Andy Daines, who was delighted with his test, hadn’t walked the course. It’s his routine not to walk it until after his dressage. “I’m a boy, I can’t multi-task” he laughed.
Katharine Van Tuyl was expected to be among the leaders today with her well-performing Double J Sunshine, but he was one of the few who lost the plot for a movement or two at the canter. “I was disappointed he did that in there; he worked really well outside.”
Chloe Phillips Harris, relieved her test was over, summed up what a lot of the riders were thinking about the cross-country. “There are some big challenges. It twists so much in the beginning, and that makes it very tiring. It’s technical and got some big questions, and time will be tough.”
In the Bates CCI2* class, Northlander Megan Finlayson on Greensleeves has a lead of just 0.7 from Canterbury’s Brent Jury on SE Hedging, with Donna Edwards-Smith on Quantico another 0.4 penalties behind him.
Megan was very pleased with her 11-year-old, who she’s been carefully nurturing since she purchased him as a weanling. “He was a little on the lazy side, and we have been working on going forward more. He’s done this test a lot and he’s getting to know it off by heart.”
The large field in the Fiber Fresh CCI1* is headed by the talented young rider Vicky Browne-Cole on Eli on a score of 43.7. Two very experienced riders are right behind her: Angela Lloyd and Lyrical in second place on a score of 45.5, and Emily Cammock on Ngahiwi Frostie third with 46.2.
The South Island team has the advantage in the Silver Spurs inter-island competition, on a combined score of 143.1, but with the North Island on 145, there isn’t much in it.
Sam Felton had a field day in the Equissage Young Event Horse National Championship which was judged today, finishing first and second overall. On Ricker Ridge Mystery Man she also took out the best thoroughbred and the five-year-old class, and was second in that class on Sooty GNZ. Sam had won the Ex-Factor Dunstan Challenge at Equidays on Ricker Ridge Mystery Man, so was very pleased with the horse. “He’s a keeper,” she said about the off-the-track thoroughbred which she has had about 18 months.
Christen Lane was third overall on Tom Cat, who won the best four-year-old prize. Donna Edwards-Smith was fourth on CHS Ripleys Dream, and Tayla Mason on Tharness Xtreme won the best mare and finished fifth overall.
The cross-country starts tomorrow with the Fiber Fresh CCI1* class at 8:45 and the other classes following that, with the main class due to start at 12.45pm. There are two cross-country courses running at the same time for most of the day, so there will be plenty of action for people to watch.
The event will also be livestreamed on www.equestrianlive.co.nz. For the first time in New Zealand some of the NRM CCI3* cross-country action will be filmed from a Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (aka a ‘drone’) as well as the four cameras on the course. bringing a whole new perspective for viewers.