Narrow lead for Sarah Young at Kihikihi

Sarah Young and Leo Degas lead the Waipa Home of Champions CIC 3* Forest Gate Trophy Championship. Kihikihi International Horse Trial (Image: Libby Law Photography)

Sarah Young narrowly leads the top class at the Kihikihi International Horse Trials which began today in the most perfect weather, with the footing unbelievably good considering the amount of rain that had fallen in the area over the last few days. In fact, the footing couldn’t have been better and it certainly suited Leo Degas who continued his consistent performance in the dressage arena.

“He was a good boy,” said Sarah after his test. “We could improve the changes, but it was a solid test.”

Right behind her are two tied for second – Dannie Lodder on Balmoral Henton and the South Island farrier, Brent Jury, on his super young horse, SE Hedging. Brent bought Hedgey up to the North Island for HOY, and to have a few lessons with Christine Weal, then went on to finish second in the Puhinui CIC3*. He was really pleased with his horse, who has been improving with each outing. “He’s hardly been ridden since Puhinui. It’s been great having Christine here, having someone on the ground cuts out about a third of my workload and I can concentrate on riding.”

Brent Jury and SE Hedging doing a debrief with Christine Weal

Dannie did a lovely test, not just on Balmoral Henton but also on Eye Spy in the Wade Equine Coaches CIC 1* Ferndale Salver Trophy Championship, and she leads on him in that class. Eye Spy has only been back in New Zealand since Christmas. “He is just starting to pick up now; it’s taken a while for his coat to change,” said Dannie who really likes the horse.

In the Trust Waikato CIC2*, Amanda Pottinger leads on a score of 42.2 with Just Kidding; they have dropped down a level from their usual three-star to iron out some issues. Amanda is just 0.2 ahead of Clarke Johnstone on Balmoral Sensation, who would have been in the lead had Clarke not mistaken the next arena’s bell for his own. The error cost him a few points. Clarke is planning on going for time in the cross-country tomorrow with his Olympic horse. “There are people I help here competing against me. I can’t let them beat me,” he laughed. Ritchie is still getting back to full fitness and Clarke hasn’t yet finished discussions with the New Zealand selectors on where he will start next. It could be the Melbourne Three-Day Event in June, or it could be Adelaide four-star in November. “We are trying to work out what works best for next year,” he said.

Balmoral Sensation in full flight in the 2* dressage 

Clarke is also second in the one-star on In Disguise after doing a very accurate test. “He’s really reliable – he’s cool!”

Clarke Johnstone and In Disguise

The cross-country looks bold and testing. Sarah Dalziell-Clout, who is lying in ninth place on Benrose Super Star, says the course is big. “There are questions right through.”  Others agreed with her, including Danielle Wheeler who shares ninth place on One Cool Dude. Danielle thought the early corners might cause a few issues.

The cross-country starts at 8am with the lower classes, with the three-star due to start at 1pm. Check back tomorrow for more photos from Libby Law and Take the Moment Photography, but in the meantime, enjoy our gallery from a lovely day at Kihikihi.

Waipa Home of Champions CIC 3* Forest Gate Trophy Championship
1 Leo Degas Sarah Young 49 1
2 SE Hedging Brent Jury 50 2
2 Balmoral Henton Dannie Lodder 50 2
4 Pioneer Brass Monkey Ashleigh Mckinstry 50.8 4
5 Spring Panorama Andrew Daines 52.7 5
Trust Waikato CIC2* – Waiteko Trophy Championship
1 Just Kidding Amanda ‘Muzi’ Pottinger 42 1
2 Balmoral Sensation Clarke Johnstone 42.2 2
2 For Fame Nick Brooks 42.2 2
4 Waitangi Pinterest Madison Crowe 44.5 4
5 Visionnaire Jackson Bovill 45.2 5
5 Javari JS Matthew Grayling 45.2 5
Wade Equine Coaches CIC 1* Ferndale Salver Trophy Championship
1 Eye Spy Dannie Lodder 38.7 1
2 In Disguise Clarke Johnstone 40.9 2
3 Ricker Ridge Sooty GNZ Samantha Felton 42.4 3
4 Astek Guardsman Chanel Campbell 43 4
5 Eon Kate Herdson 43.5 5
Horselands – CIC 1*
1 Greensleeves Megan Finlayson 40.2 1
2 Timely Judy Hatfull 47.2 2
3 Tobinator Cherie Jaques 47.6 3
4 Toa Rosa Rieger 48.7 4
4 Charlton Xplorer Loran Mathis 48.7 4
JLT CNC 105 Tait Trophy Championship
1 RM Limbo Jeffrey Amon 28.4 1
2 Spellbound Christine Jeffs 30.5 2
3 The Dragon Warrior Renee Faulkner 31.2 3
4 Waitangi Chrome Virginia Thompson 32.1 4
5 Pioneer Canny Lad Ashleigh Mckinstry 32.3 5
Vosper CNC105 Open A
1 Delta Duet Nick Stackpole 29.8 1
2 Chester FW Anna Mesman 30.8 2
3 Presque Noir Kaasandra Chee 32.2 3
3 Boot Scoot N Boogie Brittany Newman-Marrs 32.2 3
5 Cricket Anna Nelson 32.5 5
Vosper CNC105 Open B
1 JA Take a Shot Jeffrey Amon 20.8 1
2 DSE Presley Donna Edwards-Smith 25 2
3 Noble Value Eden Doull 27 3
4 Renegades Night Rider Paula Henderson 28.2 4
5 El Novio Sarah Bleakley 28.5 5
5 Mr Tambourine Man Ingrid Herdson 28.5 5