Taranaki dressage trainer Vanessa Way finally broke her run of being bridesmaid at this year’s HOY, taking out the Level 6/7 championship with her stunning NRM Andreas. Vanessa was reserve in Level 4 with NSC Pronto and reserve at Level 5 with NRM Arion but today she turned the blue ribbons to red, winning the freestyle on 67.7%.
The musical actually didn’t start all that smoothly for Vanessa and the nine-year-old Anamour gelding, with a little trip coming out of the corner and a break into canter. However, Vanessa is the queen of thinking on her feet and managed to fit in the missing compulsory shoulder-in later in the test. “There was definitely a little bit of freestyling at the end!” Her test featured music from The Last of the Mohicans and Pirates of the Caribbean and as usual was put together by Vanessa’s husband Brooke Hughes.
“I’m pleased with all my horses in their own different ways – they’ve all hit different targets for me,” she says. “Andreas’s canter work today was really solid. I’ve always had good trotwork but in the past he’s got hot in the canter. In all the tests at this show I’ve actually been able to ride his canter, which is a first.”
Cambridge’s Alex Matheson and PSL Lingh II didn’t have their best test in the freestyle, with a few mistakes and finishing ahead of the music, although there were still plenty of highlights and they were third on 66.87% to end up reserve Level 6/7 champions
Hunua event rider Angela Lloyd and Ruanuku R (Regardez Moi) produced a beautifully smooth, flowing freestyle to finish second on 66.87%, and third in the overall championship.
Grand Prix Special
In the Grand Prix Special, John Thompson and JHT Antonello triumphed again, on 70.23%, the test really suiting AJ as it plays to his strengths.
“He gave me even more than yesterday,” says John. And despite the mud and dampness everywhere after the seemingly relentless rain, he was pleased the arena held up.
“There were puddles which made it hard, but the actual surface was fine,” he says. “It’s a test of your riding in these conditions; it’s good to not get blown away with outside distractions – you just have to cope with it.”
Taranaki’s Abbie Deken and KH Ambrose pulled out a super test in the Special, finishing a close second to John on 69.21%. The horse looked soft and happy in his work, with just one little glitch in the one-tempis, although two judges still had them in first place.
“Vanessa has been instrumental in helping me and we’ve really worked on the passage-piaffe tour at home, which is probably the thing that’s improved the most at this show,” says Abbie. “We’ve got a few Grands Prix under our belt now, so it’s good to get some sort of consistency going.”
It was a close affair further down the field in the Special, with Bill Millar and Raukura Satori MH third on 66.11%, Jody Hartstone and Ali Baba fourth on 65.62%, Penny Castle and Magnus Spero fifth on 65.54%, and Vanessa Way on NRM Arawn sixth on 65.47%.
There were only two starters in the CDI-Y Young Rider Individual Test today, which was won by Pukekohe rider Caitlin Benzie and Rosari Royal Gem on 66.21%. Hannah Van der Horst and the Clydie-cross Moby’ll Do were second on 58.57%. Sadly, Lucarne Dolley was forced to scratch Devil’s Chocolate after the mare sustained an injury at the show.