Despite a very influential cross-country, the leaderboard in the Mitavite Springston Trophy at Rakaia hasn’t changed a lot, and the top three have retained their places. View Hill Red still lead with a score of 123.60. View Hill Silver are close behind, on 126.80. Halswell Crusaders put on a fantastic display across country and are on 130.23, with Roydvale fourth on 132.81. View Hill White have moved up to fifth on 142.95, with Greymouth Green on 153.17 in sixth, and Eyreton Navy on 159.62 lying seventh. Rounding out the top ten are Halswell Knights (168), Kaiapoi Black (169.81) and Greymouth Gold (171.24).
Liz Thomas, one of the View Hill coaches, was delighted with the performance. “It was a testing course and a few have come to grief. Anyone who went clear today should be proud of themselves.”
As for their chances tomorrow, Liz wasn’t inclined to express any confidence. “Traditionally we are not that great at show jumping, but let’s hope they pick their feet up tomorrow! It’s far from over after today.”
The weather was very dreary, with drizzle and showers on and off all day – hardly ideal for spectators (and photographers), but the ground conditions were great and the hardy South Islanders were heard to say things like “at least it wasn’t snowing like it did three years ago in Middlemarch!”
Competitors in the senior section showed some very classy riding, with the trailblazers, Lucy Turner and Astek Victor (previously ridden by Sam Taylor), making it look easy. They posted the best score in the senior (105cm) section, despite a delay of well over half an hour before their round: there was no vet on course, and Lucy had to warm up twice.
Charlotte Thomas and Te Puke are another pair who looked very impressive, and they now lead the junior (80cm) section. Charlotte, a member of View Hill Red, described the course as “lots of fun”. “He was amazing, and he found the course really good,” she said, nursing a sore back after pulling a muscle out there. “He’s quite tired now, but normally he’s a pretty good show jumper.”
The intermediate (95cm) section is led by Hannah Vanden Broeke and Dare to be Dublin, who added just 0.8 to their dressage score.
However, the Springston Trophy isn’t about individual performances: it is very much focused on teams, and it was great to see painted faces and lots of cheering and support for all of them.
Richard Crowe and all those who helped him should be very proud of the course. It had some excellent questions, and many with options which some riders chose to take, while others went straight through the shortest ways. It did prove too much for a number of competitors, and for some reason the second fence posed quite a challenge for many ponies, who perhaps didn’t want to go away from the warmth of the truck park. The water jumps also caught a few. There were some spectacular saves (we’ve got a couple to show you later in the week), and there was one poor rider who, despite the weather, decided a swim was called for. In the end, there are 23 teams still “live” out of the 39 that started.
Whatever the result, riders will be richer for having participated today, as there was plenty to learn from a course so well designed and built.
Photos can be purchased from this link.