Women hold all the leading positions in the top classes after dressage at Puhinui.
Emily Cammock, from West Melton in Canterbury, leads two of them, with Shaw Lee being the top scorer in the Honda NZ CCI3* class, and Impeccable in the Veterinary Associates CCI1*.
Emily and Shaw Lee, the current national three-day title-holders, did a good test for a score of 47.6. “I have changed his bridle to a Micklem, and changed his bit, and it has really helped. He felt very rideable. I have been at Christine Weal’s all weekend and he has been working well.”
“He warmed up super-calm, super-relaxed and I was really happy with him. I didn’t have a clue what any of the scores were and didn’t see any of the tests, as obviously I had to ride my other horse earlier and then it was whip back to the truck, do a quick change and then come back out. I can’t change what everyone else does, I just have to do my best.”
Emily is also seventh in the class on Lewis who tried hard. “It is hard work for him in those little arenas,” she said about the big horse.
At the press conference, Emily declared that all her horses were for sale as she needed to buy a new truck. She confirmed that Shaw Lee is in that category, but “don’t tell him!”
Impeccable is a very cute little horse and produced some good work to take the lead in the CCI1* class. “I was a little unsure whether it was going to happen or not, as he was a wee bit tense today and yesterday, but he was pretty perfect.”
Emily found seven-year-old Impeccable after a friend of hers saw an ad for him on Facebook. “She made me go and look at him as a three-year-old. Katie was only five or six weeks old and I really didn’t want to get on anything that was off the track and sat in a paddock for a while, but he didn’t do anything wrong. We rang the owner who wanted $500 for him, and said it was a bit much as we couldn’t even jump him, so she said we could have him for $250. The price may have gone up just slightly now.”
Jock Paget and Snow Leopard are only 0.1 penalties behind Emily in the CCI3*. Snow Leopard is usually ridden by Heelan Tompkins but Jock got the ride in August when Heelan was having her second child. Coincidentally, there is a strong chance that Jock will not be able to finish the competition, as his wife Tegan is expecting their first child and is overdue. We therefore didn’t mind when Jock kept checking his phone during the press conference! So, if Snow Leopard is a late scratching at any stage of the event, you could well assume that baby Paget may be on his way.
Maddy Crowe was delighted with her mare Waitangi Pinterest, who has a very solid lead in the two-star class. Her score of 36.5 puts her well ahead of Nick Brooks and For Fame with 43.9 and Clarke Johnstone and Wolf Whistle II with 47.8.
Maddy’s test was one of the highlights of the day. “She likes the job,” Maddy said afterwards. The mare did a beautiful extended trot, which is a movement she loves. “She comes around the corner and says, ‘Can I do it now’? She’s phenomenal.”
Nick Brooks was delighted with For Fame. “I’m beside myself with him; he was great!” For Nick, the highlight of the test was: “Having him stay on the bit from the start to the finish. We’ve had bad luck here in the past. One year he had done two movements and then kicked himself and went lame. Last year they started cleaning the portaloos with a loud sucker thing and he lost the plot.”
Clarke Johnstone produced some good work with Wolf Whistle, with one exception. “We had a big blip, he was going backwards when he should have been going forward!” He recovered well, however, and did some lovely work, especially in the canter.
In the Honda NZ CCI2* Young Rider class, Sophie Alexander and World Famous are in the lead on a score of 47.7. They, too, did some lovely work, especially in the medium movements, although Sophie said that “he thought the flowers were a bit scary!” She has competed World Famous here before, coming third in the Junior 1* class. “It was good seeing his little legs run so quick.”
Jock Paget is Sophie’s coach and she speaks very highly of him. “I have found Jock to be one of the best to work with, he really makes sense to me and it all works really well. He has definitely turned World Famous into a new horse for me.”
Kate Herdson and Eon are leading the Devi Heating Systems CCIJ1*. Kate said she was very lucky to get Eon, who she bought off Sarah Milne about three years ago. “He was just what we were looking for. He was very unfit and fat when we went to look at a him but we knew he was the one. He is well bred, being half brother to Dunstan Springfield and Highly Recommended.” Springfield is one of Katie Laurie’s top jumpers, competing with great success in Australia at the moment, and Highly Recommended went to four-star level with John Twomey.
In the CCN105 class, sponsored by NZ Horse & Pony, Scout Lodder is in the lead with Overnight Success on a score of 27.5. She is also fourth on Pioneer Makokomiko on a score of 29.4. Second is Corey Wood on Lorrenzo Farrero, with Larissa Srhoy on Double Black third. Christen Lane on Henton Armada is fifth.
As for tomorrow’s challenge, all the riders were united in their praise of how well the ground had been prepared and what a good cross-country course Tich Massey had designed. Maddy Crowe thought it would be a good challenge. “There’s a lot out there to jump tomorrow, it will be a long nine and a half minutes. Tich always designs courses really well and we have a fairly difficult question near the end; you just have to keep riding the whole way around.”
Quotes from other riders:
Virginia Thompson, Man of Honour: “He did a solid test, answered everything I asked of him. He had one break in the 10m circles, but it was a lovely test to start the competition with.”
Samantha Felton, Ricker Ridge Mystery Man: “Really happy with him, he tries so hard to hold it all together. Then we do the last salute and it is ‘OMG!’”
Larissa Srhoy, Rockquest: “He was a bit fresh coming into the arena so my warm-up was all about him stretching. I was quite pleased overall.”
Angela Lloyd, Lyrical: “The test was good, except for that wrong strike-off into the canter. She was a bit lazy in the second half, but you’ve got to be pleased with her.”
Bryce Newman on his two: “It was all right. They always go better in the lead-up events.”
Abbey Lawrence on her two in the two-star: “I was really happy with Indy, he was a little hot and teetering on the edge but produced some beautiful work. Charlton Yamani was a little wild – some of my dressage riding was intertwined with cross-country riding!”
Jackson Bovill and Visionnaire: “I was coming up the centre line when the umbrellas all took off towards us! The judges rang the bell and we started again, but she never really settled down after that.”
Beth Wilson, Alto et Audax: “Overall I was quite happy but there is always more to work on. He did have one of his moments part way through.”
Gemma Hampson, Pintado Prima Rosa: “Sometimes she doesn’t like to be told what to do and today was one of those days.”
Bundy Philpott, Tesca NZPH: “He tried hard, he is a real worker.”
Corey Wood, Pick Up Line: “He was on edge but he kept his composure. Only done a few three-stars but I have been doing some proper dressage classes on him and it has really helped. He has relaxed and the experience has done him good. I don’t have a dressage coach since moving up to Canterbury but I have just kept practising what Bell Adams, my Southland coach has told me.”
Chloe Phillips-Harris, Cor Jet: “Happy overall, there were a few errors, I pushed him a bit hard and he broke in the extended trot.”
Donna Edwards-Smith on Clunie: “It was good for his first time!” [first three-star CCI]
Renee Faulkner on Rubinstar HH: “So happy that he put it all together. I think that might be his best test this season. He tried hard.”
Samantha Felton didn’t have the best of days in the dressage phase of the three-star but she was very philosophical about it. “I brought a team of jumpers to Puhinui!”
In the Thompson Electrical CNC* there are two sharing the lead: Elise Quin (Secret Trick) and Renee Faulkner (The Dragon Warrior). Amanda Illston and Verdelho are third, with Devon Prangley on Blazer fourth. Beth Wilson and Aramis are fifth.
Sofie Boswell and Anastasia lead the Bucas CNC105, from Alyssa Harrison on Da Vinci Code and Fiona Fraser on Xanthus III. Eliza Raven and Forbes PSH are fourth, with Anne Marie Styles and Giocattolo fifth.
The Fiber Fresh CCN95 is led by Sophie Abbott and Henton Armani from Beth Wilson and Arohanui II, with Rene Ryan third on Falstaff. Anna Gray on Twickenham and Emma Finn on Macaroany are fourth equal.