The first FEI eventing competition in New Zealand for 2018 was held by Eventing Southland on January 26-27 at their Ryal Bush centre. Ground conditions were good considering the amount of rainless days and uncharacteristically hot weather the Southlanders have experienced over the last few months. A lot of hard work was done by a small team of volunteers preparing the ground and staining fences.
The Fouveaux Equestrian CIC2* class suffered from a couple of scratchings but was still very competitive. The Ground Jury of Helen Christie and Val McGregor agreed on the placings after dressage, with Anna Poole and Alfresco first, from Kirsty Sharopoff and Shoot The Breeze second and Molly Thacker and Happy Go Lucky third. Kirsty was the only one to show jump clear, taking her into the overnight leader position, a place she held to the end with a masterclass performance over John Carmicheal’s cross-country course. Kirsty added 8.4 time penalties to her dressage score. Molly also went clear, adding 14 time penalties to finish in second, with Anna Poole and Alfresco having a green stop at the skinny ‘B’ element of fence 8, to end up in third place.
The judges had different ideas on who led the Fouveaux Equestrian CIC 1* after dressage, with Anna Robinson and Valkyrie ending up narrow leaders from Janelle Gibson and King Curtis (0.2 point behind) and Melissa Wallace and Dunurban Moatai third. The first two placings stayed the same after show jumping, being two of only three in the class the jump clear. The cross-country course caused a couple of problems, with overnight leaders Anna and Valkyrie parting company at the skinny ‘ D’ element out of the water. Janelle Gibson and King Curtis were foot-perfect, coming home with 3.6 time penalties for the win, followed by clear rounds from Paige Hardwick and the gutsy little grey Ivanhoff who finished second, and Brodie Roberts and Playmaker who moved up from seventh overnight to take third place.
It was good to see that the winners of the CIC2* and CIC1* both appeared to have overcome the small niggles they had experienced before Christmas. A big thank you to Fouveaux Equestrian for donating the the lovely rugs and Kentaur boots.
The only competitor in the AB Lime CNC 2* was Jessie Fitzjohn with Whats The Buzz. They had a disappointing show jumping but went clear in the XC to finish on a score of 73.6. Three riders competed in the Saddlery Warehouse CNC 1*, with none show jumping clear, but they made a better job of the cross-country, with Sarah Bennetts and Maximus leading from the start to take the win from Jade McRae and Mafioso.
The large WOW Saddles 105 class saw the consistant Redwood and Lilly Anderson take the win from Paige Hardwick and Versailles and Hazel Gibson and Beaumont Long Pockets.
The show jumping course-builder, Graham Tippett, had designed a lovely, open, flowing course, so it was disappointing that only a total of eight from 35 competitors in the 105, 1* and 2* jumped clear.
The Konica Minolta CNC 95 was won by Suzanne Black and her young horse Colton AF, from Lynda Gilkison and Little Buckaroo and Georgie Dickson and Tigerherz. Coloured ponies quinellaed the Fouveaux Communications 95 Pony Club class with Ella Morshuis and Time Bandit first and Maggie Bowles and Darvel Mai second, both finishing on their dressage scores. Madeline Neal and Z’Questionnaire were third.
The Gail Richardson Equine CNC 80 saw the busy Kelly Tyson trifecta the class with all three of her horses finishing on their very good dressage scores. Southern Z (12.6) was first, DSE Southern Halo (15.8) was second, and Rhiko (23.2) third. The Fouveaux Communications 80 Pony Club Class was won by Bella Park and Comedy Gold, with Philippa Stratford and Holly second and Kayley Johnson and Gollum third.
The Eastern Physiotheraphy CNC 65 went to Pam Thompson and Zac with Kerry Jordan and Daquiri second and Nicola Barringer and Gemami third. The Fouveaux Communications 65 Pony Club class was won by Lucy Brown and Shimmering Rain, with Mackenzie Jordan and Dingmac Cate Blanche second and Blake Moat and Ellangowan Chianti third.
The Southland eventing committee was very appreciative of the sponsors and volunteers who made the event happen.