View Hill Red were the winning team in the 2016 Springston Trophy held in Ward, and at the Mitavite Springston Trophy 2017 in Rakaia they got off to the best possible start by leading after the dressage phase.
Halswell Crusaders were the first team into the arenas this morning, and they held that lead right through until early afternoon, when the team in the magnificent red riding helmets came out and put on a great display of dressage.
The View Hill Red team of Maddy Tait on Island Road (37.63), Jordan Kruger on Bamboozle (31.38), Lucy Cochrane on Inspector Gadget (28.09), Hannah Vanden Broeke on Dare to be Dublin (25.44), Charlotte Thomas on Te Puke (26.84) and Nicole Hubrick on Ashton Ultra Magnus (34.34) finished on a team score of 111.75.
View Hill Pony Club hadn’t finished yet though! Their silver team were the second to last out: they, too, did a great job in the arenas and with their score of 126.80 snuck ahead of Halswell Crusaders, who are on 130.23. Halswell also showed their dominancy in the dressage phase with their second team, the Halswell Knights, finishing on 131.20 in fourth place. Roydvale is on 131.21, fifth, with Waimea on 131.23 in sixth. There really is nothing in it, as the top teams are really close. Greymouth Green is seventh on 132.33, Okuku eighth on 133.14, View Hill White is on 133.55 and Kaiapoi Black is on 134.2 in 10th.
Becci Thomas, the acclaimed View Hill Pony Club coach, was delighted with her team. “It is hard to see all six of the tests as they are all going at the same time, but what I saw was some lovely work from each of them. They certainly held their nerves.” In the Springston Trophy, team members do their dressage simultaneously – not ideal for coaches, but certainly great for team spirit. Becci is looking forward to cross-country day, as she loves the course. “It’s perhaps not harder than previous years, but it is bold and there are many questions to test the riders. It is beautifully built and presented, and the spectators will really enjoy it!”
Lucy Turner is one of the riders in the Halswell Crusaders and while she thought she had mucked up her halts, she was pretty pleased with her test. “We’ve got a strong team over all three grades,” she says.
Charlotte Thomas and Te Puke did a really lovely test. “I am really happy with that,” Charlotte said afterwards. “He was really good!” He certainly was, as the pair scored just 26.84, topping the junior section.
Kaiapoi Pony Club, especially the Kaiapoi Eyreton composite team, has had a tough time so far this competition. Yesterday, before the event started, one of their horses, Cowboy, died (of natural causes). The beloved coloured horse who owner Susie Stewart rode up to three-star level had been enjoying cruising around with Deanna Scoon in recent months. The team paid a fitting tribute to the lovely horse by making a presentation of flowers to Deanna and Susie (who is one of the team’s coaches) in the arena where Cowboy would have competed. It was a very touching moment. Unfortunately, just minutes before, one of their other riders, Emily Heald, had a nasty spill off Stolen Identity in a nearby arena and was taken to hospital with what we understand was a badly broken arm. Kaiapoi, we hope things improve for you, and heal quickly Emily!
There are a lot of excited and nervous riders tonight, planning their cross-country ride for the morning. Everyone is impressed with the course, and while no-one was saying it was easy, they were all praising the work that has gone into it, especially from a presentation point of view. “It’s like a baby Badminton or Burghley,” said Jordan Shrimpton, from the View Hill White team. “Its going to be a challenge,” Hollie Kooman of West Taieri Maroon thought, although she got “lots of good tips” from Clarke Johnstone yesterday.
Unfortunately, a bit of rain is forecast for the weekend, but the ground is very sandy and should hold up well. Good luck everyone!
Photos are available from this link.