The Canterbury Area Pony Club team have continued on their winning way, adding the Aitchison Silver Salver to their trophy cabinet after winning the PGG Wrightson Pryde’s EasiFeed 2018 NZ Pony Club Association Dressage championship in Christchurch today.
This is their first win in the championship (they were runners-up last year to Auckland) and follows on from their win at last year’s NZPCA Eventing Championships.
The competition is held in two stages, with the North Island Championships taking place last week at Manfeild Park, Feilding. Waikato came out victors in that round but had to wait until today to see if they could be beaten by any of the South Island teams who have been competing at the National Equestrian Centre over the last two days. In the end, Canterbury’s score of 560.648 was well ahead of Waikato’s 552.492, with Ashburton/South Canterbury/North Otago third on 537.398. Manawatu were right behind them in fourth place on 536.29, with Bay of Plenty/King Country on 525.462, Auckland on 511.765, Otago/Southland on 496.965 and Taranaki on 496.149.
Claudia Wilson (aged 22) was the captain of the team, and there were some big cheers when they found out they had nailed the competition. “We knew it was pretty close but we were really stoked to have won it,” said Claudia. “We knew we had a good team and we put a lot of hard work into our training, and everything was going well. We trialled in November and December, so we have had a good amount of training with none other than Jenny Scotter, who has been amazing. She is awesome and we really appreciate everything she does for us.”
Claudia was very pleased with how the younger members in the team went. “I think everyone rode really well, but in particular the intermediates and juniors were so consistent and they had some really good top finishes. The first-timers did really well and picked up some individual awards as well.”
Most of the team are from North Canterbury, with some from the View Hill Pony Club. “I’m from Eyreton and we also have one of the team from Springston Pony Club,” said Claudia, who, along with her mum and team manager and organising committee member, Helen Bowers, now have a wedding to get ready for. Claudia and Alex get married on Friday and while her team mates (want-to-be-bridesmaids) were challenging her to go to the prize-giving with a veil on, she was saving that until Friday!
The team members were Claudia (Citadelle), Niamh Rayne (My Hallucination), Brittany Fowler (Apsley Backchat Kid), Lucy Cochrane (Lovely Rita), Charlotte Thomas (Te Puke), and Emma Copplestone (Dinky Di Doff).
The Waikato team was Jenny Bevege (Ngatamahine JJ Airtime), Klara Nikolai (Flowervalue Florencio), Julia Wykes (Wembleybrook Consort TSH), Taylor McDonald (Ramsbury), Caitlin Spellman (Annie Oakley), and Anna Wilson (Glenwood Repose).
The Lynley Price trophy for the highest placed pony in the teams championship went to Woodlands Park Light O Day ridden by Rebecca Aplin from the Hawke’s Bay Pony Club. This pair also won the Pony Breeders Society of NZ Dressage sash, and Overall Intermediate Secondary School Rider, and with team-mate Caroline Howell on Telestory, won the Overall Intermediate Team. Rebecca’s aggregate score was also the highest in the intermediate section, so she won the Lynley Price Rosebowl for that as well. The Blue Legend Rosebowl, donated by the Holmes Family for the individual senior rider with the highest aggregate score went to Brook Harris on Furstango.
Tayla McDonald and Ramsbury from Waikato won the Overall Best Junior Secondary School Rider, and the Overall Senior Secondary School Rider went to Brook Harris on Furstango from the Bay of Plenty Pony Club.
Canterbury’s Junior and Senior teams won the National Coaches prize for the overall winning junior and senior teams, with the junior team consisting of Charlotte Thomas (Te Puke) and Emma Copplestone (Dinky Di Doff) and the senior team being Claudia and Niamh.
The highest-placed first-time junior was Emma Copplestone on Dinky Di Doff, and Lucy Cochrane on Lovely Rita won the NZPCA Plaque for the highest-placed first-time intermediate; both riders are from the Canterbury team. Auckland’s Claire Webster on Hollywood Oscar won the NZPCA Plaque for the highest-placed first-time senior.
Sponsor representative Braden Forrest from PGG Wrightson was on hand to watch the dressage competition today. “They were really cool especially the younger age groups,” he said today. PGG Wrightson have joined forces with Prydes to sponsor NZPCA and this competition. “We want to support the horse industry,” said Braden, who has done a bit of riding himself in the past, having been to the Flaxmere Pony Club in his younger days, getting his D certificate.
Geraldine Rae, the NZPCA President was delighted to see her home team win the competition. She had already warned the North Island team that the trophy may be coming to the South Island for the first time when she attended last week’s competition in Manawatu. Geraldine also acted as gatekeeper. “I was so impressed that everyone wished the next rider good luck as they crossed over, and every one of them thanked me as they came out of the arena. That is the true spirit of pony club!”