The first day of Equidays was a very entertaining one, and the weather was mainly well-behaved, with a few afternoon showers. Those few showers didn’t stop good crowds attending and getting treated to some great equestrian activities. As well as the 19 clinicians and 11 seminars, there were 214 exhibitors and by the look of the bags being carried out, people had enjoyed the shopping experience too.
Oliver Croucher had a good Friday, he won the FEI Challenge Classic Category B as well as the Horseware Ireland Dual Show Jumping Slalom! It was an invitational class and provided a lot of fun for the sold-out crowd as the first event of the night show.
The feature event of the evening’s show was the G H Mumm Champagne Horse Grand Prix. There were three clears in the first round, but Helen McNaught and Carnutelabryere added one time fault and it proved very costly. The other two clears were from two of the Wilson sisters: Vicki on Ngahiwi Showtym Premier, and Amanda on Showtym Cassanova.
Amanda took the win on her brave and talented coloured horse, and Helen was second, with another clear jumping round and no time faults. Katie Laurie was third on Dunstan On the Point Eve, who put in a fabulous second round after an unlucky rail in the first. Katie was also fourth on Dunstan Lucca with Mathew Dickey on Quango fifth. Vicki had 12 faults in the second round.
Amanda managed a few words at the prize-giving, despite having her hands full with a very fidgety horse. “He was very, very fresh in the first round, but warmed up and was much better in the second round.” She thanked the sponsors, and said she looked forward to seeing everyone again tomorrow night, where she will again be the star of the show.
Earlier in the day, the Category A FEI World Jumping Challenge was won by Taupo teenager Briar Burnett-Grant, riding Fiber Fresh Verona. She was one of the last to go in the jump-off, and her time was just over a second faster than runner-up Maia Coster, on Landenfeld. Third was Nicola Hammond on Carlo I.
Briar (16) was very pleased with her young horse, especially has she hasn’t had him for that long. “It was obviously a good choice. This is going to be my first full season on him; I had him for about two months last season. I know he is a fast horse, that is naturally how he goes, so I knew if I let him do his thing he is quite a careful horse.”
Olivia Ahlborn, from Napier, was the winner of the Honda New Zealand Pony Derby riding Aorangi Ragtime, beating the other five riders who made it through to the jump-off, out of the 57 starters. Olivia described her win on the eye-catching Appaloosa as ‘pretty awesome’. “It is great to do this with him, as we have been together for four years. He is just such a great pony. It is really cool to do really well with him.”
Olivia has had a lot of success with this wonderful pony, including winning the Speed Pony of the Year title twice. “We are in the Equidays Pony Grand Prix tomorrow, and then the Isuzu D-Max show jumping and cross-country challenge on Sunday, so that will be fun.”
Sarah West was second on Showtym Cruiser, and Isabella Du Plessis third on the well-known Kabo Silver.
The clinics proved very popular, and there were lots to choose from. Luckily this is not just a one-day event, so if you missed something on the first or even second day, you should be able to catch the ones you haven’t seen on Sunday. The standard of clinicians is very high, from both an educational and an entertainment point of view.
Albert Voorn from the Netherlands is an Olympic medallist in show jumping, and a world-acclaimed coach. He had a great session this afternoon with Lucy and Braydon as the demo riders. Albert said he took up coaching “as riding and showing was not enough income. People were interested in how I ride so they asked to come and train.” He says he can be quite outspoken, and that sometimes his own National Federation doesn’t like what he states. “I am not always respected in my own country. I am outspoken and they punish me for that.” He is very philosophical about this: “There are many different ideas about how to do things. A horse will adapt himself to fit the different training systems. Everyone is attracted to different systems. I try to do the best for those attracted to mine.”
Bill Noble gave a great demonstration today on riding a Grand Prix, riding his horse in a snaffle. He called the double bridle ‘a ghastly relic of the ages’ and predicted that it will gradually be banned, although wasn’t hopeful it would be in his lifetime.
Clarke Johnstone had a real struggle on his hands getting organised for his clinic. He was badly injured in a fall off one of his young horses recently, and suffered a broken shoulder and leg – on the diagonal. He was bemoaning the issues with not being able to check the striding between the jumps, with his broken leg still not able to be weight-bearing. However those that took part in his clinic were getting a lot out of the advice he gave them under the shelter of his big umbrella with his leg elevated.
There were a lot of children gaining their education at Equidays today rather than at their school, and looking at how attentive they were, it was a day well spent. There were a great deal of mothers and daughters having a day out, but plenty of young lads were spotted as well. Dan Steers, who is doing clinics with his horse Double Image, talked about how he really encourages boys to get involved in pony club and equestrian events. “I take boys aside and say to them, hey look around you, do the maths, don’t worry about if you are teased about being interested in ponies, just look at who is around you!” Dan also hoped to entertain “the dads that have been dragged along.”
Tomorrow the farrier competition gets started and should provide an interesting spectacle. The show on Saturday night, Horseplay and Hijinks is already sold out.
The official results for the Honda NZ Pony Derby were not up when this went on-line. The G.H. Mmm Champagne Grand Prix is the next event due to start shortly so we hope to be able to bring you the results in due course.
|G H Mumm Champagne Horse Grand Prix|
|1||Showtym Cassanova||Amanda Wilson||0|
|2||Carnutelabryere||Helen McNaught (GBR)||1|
|3||Dunstan On the Point Eve||Katie Laurie||4|
|4||Dunstan Lucca||Katie Laurie||4|
|FEI Challenge Cat B 1.10 – 1.20|
|1||Kiwi Rocket||Oliver Croucher||42.68|
|2||Tom Collins||Nichole McGee||45.89|
|3||Kabo Marmite||Charlotte Amos||46.76|
|4||Clifton Ali||Emma Thurlow||47.13|
|FEI Challenge Cat A 1.20 – 1.30|
|1||Fiber Fresh Verona||Briar Burnett-Grant||51.59|
|3||Carlo I||Nicola Hammond||53.38|
|4||Whakanui De L Amore||Hannah Bodle||54.51|
Honda NZ Pony Derby
|1||Aorangi Ragtime||Olivia Ahlborn|
|2||Showtym Cruiser||Sarah West|
|3||Kabo Silver||Isabella Du Plessis|
|4||Showtym Mochachino||Rebecca Loyd|
|5||Showtym Endeavour||Deanna Horsburgh|