Great XC jumping at NZPCA eventing championships

Beth Wilson, Alto et Audax, leading the A1 championship after dressage

The cross-country course lived up to expectations, providing plenty of drama and challenges for riders in the NZPCA Eventing Championships at Barge Park, Whangarei.

Results have changed a lot in the teams competition and it is last year’s winners, Nelson Marlborough West Coast who have risen to the top of the leaderboard tonight.

The team members were in high spirits after they had all jumped clear around the course, with the two A1 competitors having some time faults.  “We’re not used to those steep bits,” they said, as they do most of their competition in the flat parts of Canterbury. Their tactics for tomorrow are, “Trot up sound, jump clear and do what we are told!”

Todd Magner has been to a number of eventing championships now and rated this course as one of the best. “Sometimes they under-build it, but this champs had the right questions for the competition and venue, and it was well built. We had to ride forward more.”

Kendall Thompson on Awatuna Alpine Rose from the winning MNWC team at the finish of the cross-country

The team will remember these champs, whatever the result, for the huge eight-day trip to get here, plus the rain which they said was “just like home.”  For Kendall and Todd, it was a first driving trip without their mothers, who flew up later. “It was like a couples trip,” Kendall said. “Yes we had a few arguments!”  The team will head to Cambridge tomorrow night after the competition, stopping also in Otaki and maybe Marlborough.

Kirk Magner and Marsden Magic, leading the MT Championships after cross-country, for Manawatu West Coast

Beth Wilson leads the A1 on her lovely Alto et Audax.  She not only jumped clear, but also was within the time. “I really went for it on the straights. I have done a few one-stars now, so I felt quite confident and he is very capable.”  When asked what jumps she thought she did the best, Beth couldn’t decide. “I liked them all! He was really good through the water, and was really good everywhere.”

This is her fourth champs and she has been having a lot of fun. “We’ve got a great group of girls in our team.”

Meg Dempster and Pixie Caramel lead the DC championship. The Paraparaumu College student had a great ride cross-country. “She was really bold and she saved me a couple of times. She did a huge leap into the water, I just had to hold on.” Admitting to a few nerves going into tomorrow’s final phase, Meg thinks she might not watch many rounds. “I’ll probably just go in and try to pretend that it is nothing.”  She has been doing a lot of show jumping practice and says that Pixie’s show jumping is “pretty cool.”

Meg Dempster and Pixie Caramel are leading the DC Championship after cross-country, riding for the Manawatu West Coast team

Meg has only had Pixie Caramel since December. This is just her fifth ODE on the horse – and her first Pony Club championships ever.

Jacque McKinley, one of the NZPCA National Coaches who is here coaching the Auckland team, thought that the cross-country course, designed by Robbie McLean, was very fair throughout. “It was tough for the DC and A1s, they had to be up to it. It was a bold course and the riders needed to be committed.”

Mary Dawkins, coach of Waitemata Rodney, was happy with having all her riders home safe. “Some of the riders had unfortunate problems here and there, but that is the joy of this sport. If you can’t handle those, you shouldn’t be riding.”

Gemma Hampson had a good round on Pintado Prima Rosa in the A1 class, despite having to contend with a loose horse coming galloping towards her. “I had to make up time afterwards as that was the place where I could have had a good gallop. He was awesome though.”

Gemma Hampson, Pintado Prima Rosa, second in the A1 Championship

Taranaki’s Reuben Gray was happy with his round on Reviver, despite getting six time faults (putting him into 13th place). “It was quite slippery out there, especially down those tracks at the back. I didn’t always let him go.” This is Reuben’s sixth PC champs, and he isn’t sure if he will get back to another one. “It will depend on work. I’m studying cinematography and it depends on whether I get a job and where it is.”  He enjoyed this course, commenting that he hasn’t had such a challenging course for a while, but he was pleased to have that challenge as he hopes to step up to three-star in the future.

Reuben Gray and Reviver from the Taranaki team

Melissa Wallace, Otago Southland, was attending her first-ever champs and had an “awesome” ride to go clear with some time faults. “It was slippery so I took it carefully. I even trotted into the water.”   Melissa, who works in an office admin role for a heavyweight mechanical company, was thoroughly enjoying her first experience of champs. “Northland has done such a great job. The course was quite technical but safe. It was well thought out.” She, too, has aspirations to ride at three-star level. “I’d like to give it a go but we will see what happens. He’s 15 years old so he is in his prime.”

Melissa Wallace, Dunurban Maotai from Otago Southland

Jessie Fitzjohn was disappointed to incur a few time faults (3.6 and she sits in seventh place). “I didn’t want to go for it at the start, I wanted to ride for the team but he was really cool, so I decided to really go for my usual style later in the course and went faster.” Five out of their six team members jumped clear, which was their main aim, but all bar one incurred time faults. The team sit in second place just 2.6 penalties behind the leaders.

Jessie now will head to the Taupo three-day event. She is a working pupil for Christian Lane in Pukekohe during her gap year, having just graduated as a mechanical engineer. “I hope to travel at the end of the year and then will be applying for graduate jobs.”  She was also hoping to get something where she could continue riding.

Jessie Fitzjohn, What’s the Buzz

Heather Grant, NZPCA President, was on hand to watch the pony club members compete for National honours. “It was a very good course and there was a lot of good riding. I must especially congratulate Northland for a beautifully presented challenge to the riders.”

Tomorrow’s action starts with a trot-up at 8:30am, followed by show jumping, with competitors jumping in reverse placing order.

Team Results

1st: Marlborough Nelson West Coast 134.4

  • Kirk Magner Marsden Magic27.2
  • Ella Rae-Wood Tallyho Primrose40
  • Maisie Hopkins Awatuna Classic Rose31.6
  • Gretchen Anderson Tallyho Cleopatra46.7
  • Todd Magner Kawhaka Concorde35.6
  • Kendal Thompson Awatuna Alpine Rose41.6

2nd Canterbury 137.0

  • Charlotte Thomas Picollo31.9
  • Sophie Jarvis Time To Tango Too34
  • Niamh Rayne My Hallucination32.8
  • Tayla Moriarty Sir Jack Sparrow98.8
  • Jessie Fitzjohn Whats The Buzz38.3

3rd Manawatu West Coast area 146.6

  • Kaitlyn Freeman Rhapsody II 35.2
  • Georgia Moody Irish Sky 36.4
  • Meg Dempster Pixie Caramel 29.1
  • Grace Henley-King Griffin 67.2
  • Charlotte Gray Coup Perfectly Done 45.9

4th Waitemata Rodney Area Pony Club 149.7

  • Ivy Doak Going for Gold 114.9
  • Keeva McCambridge Too Much Pizzazz 41
  • Mila McCambridge Toublesome Tom 39.5
  • Ruby Sattler Diamond Cheval 89.8
  • Courtney Winterbottom My Governor Grey 39.2
  • Gemma Hampson Pintado Prima Rosa 30

5th Wairarapa Wellington/Waikato 150.0

  • Hollie Falloon Phoenician Soho 32.2
  • Vania Mason JKA Seduction 45.6
  • Jess Viviers Trogg LS 37
  • Emma Gibb A Patchy Ponyn40.6
  • Jenny Bevege Ngatamahine Joy Ride 40.2

Individual Results

A1 Championships

1 Alto et Audax (Franklin Thames Valley) Beth Wilson 27.9

2 Pintado Prima Rosa (Waitemata Rodney Area Pony Club) Gemma Hampson 30

3 LV Little Chief (Waikato Area Pony Club) Dayna Fox 32.5

4 Kawhaka Concorde (MNWC) Todd Magner 35.6

5 Irish Foxtrot (Waikato Area Pony Club) Storm Harris 37

6 My Black Beauty (Northland/Auckland) Sylvie Maclean 37.9

DC Championships

1 Pixie Caramel (Manawatu West Coast area) Meg Dempster 29.1

2 Awatuna Classic Rose (MNWC) Maisie Hopkins 31.6

3 My Hallucination (Canterbury) Niamh Rayne 32.8

4 Roo Baloo (Hawkes Bay/Canterbury) Ella Simcox 35.1

5 PK Pure Zing (WR/BOP/WAI) Peta Kuluz 36.2

6 Golden Horse Feed Ultimatum Emily Denny 36.4

MT Championships

1 Marsden Magic (MNWC) Kirk Magner 27.2

2 Kinnordy Gallilee (Auckland Area) Francesca Masfen 29.8

3 Swan Lake (Waikato Area Pony Club) Clay Harris 31

4 Mr Parkes (WR/BOP/WAI) Jacinda Baker-Singh 31.4

5 Picollo (Canterbury) Charlotte Thomas 31.9

6 Da Vinci Code (WR/BOP/WAI) Alyssa Harrison 32.1