Dressage day at Kihikihi

Clarke Johnstone and Balmoral Sensation (Image: Libby Law)

It was always going to be a hard ask for the other three-star competitors to head off  Clarke Johnstone and Balmoral Sensation at the Kihikihi International Horse Trials, and the test the pair produced today just emphasised their dominance.

Clarke himself wasn’t sure that Sensation’s performance in the Waipa Home of Champions CIC3* was any better than his winning test at the Horse of the Year Show, but the judges thought it was, albeit not by much. At HOY the pair scored 31.7pen, and today their score was 30.8.

Great Britain’s Annabel Scrimgeour, who judged at HOY and is a member of the Ground Jury here at Kihikihi for the three and two-star classes, says the pair were far more harmonious today and she gave them more marks as a result.  “I thought the horse went much better today in a snaffle; he looked happier,” she says.

Clarke decided to switch from his usual double bridle to a snaffle, mainly due to a broken finger. Having two pairs of reins needed for a double is just too much to contend with when you have a broken finger, he explains. “I was very pleased with him. He is so much easier now, but to me he doesn’t feel as good in a snaffle as he does in a double bridle… but he might look better!”

Coming in second to Clarke was Sarah Young on Leo Degas, scoring 32, with Donna Smith on DSE Tangalooma third on 34.7. Renee Faulkner produced a good test on Rubinstar HH and sits in fourth place on 35.1 with Ashleigh McKinstry on Pioneer Brass Monkey right behind her on 35.2. Ashleigh was pleased with her test: “dressage can always be better but at least I didn’t get dropped this time.”  She was referring to her test on her one-star horse, Pioneer Techtonic Shuffle, when the pair parted company after the horse spooked and bucked during their test when a car alarm went off, dislodging Ashleigh and thereby eliminating her. The pair had been going really well up until that point too, making it even more disappointing.

Sarah Young and Leo Degas (Image: Libby Law)
Donna Edwards-Smith and DSE Tangolooma (Image: Libby Law)

Dannie Lodder and Lexington lead the Wade Equine Coaches CIC1* Ferdale Trophy Championship on a score of 28.4, from Denise Rushbrook on Astek Gadzuks (29.1) and Christine Lane on Henton Armada in third (29.6). Ashleigh’s third horse, Ngahiwi Makem, is in fourth place on 30.1 and Christen is fifth on Henton First Lady on a score of 31.4.

Dannie Lodder and Lexington (Image: Libby Law)

In the Weatherbeeta CIC2* for the Waiteko Trophy, Donna Edwards-Smith has the lead on Chanel Griffith’s Astek Guardsman. Chanel has recently handed the reins over to Donna as she is expecting her first baby in August and Donna did a great job, producing a lovely test.

Donna Edwards-Smith and Astek Guardsman (Image: Libby Law)

Stephanie Vervoort and X Factor are in second place on 32.1, and Diane Gilder and Your Attorney are third on 33.7. Louise Mulholland and Mr McTaggart are fourth on 34.2 with Brooke Campbell and Freddy Dash fifth on 34.4.

Stephanie Vervoort, X Factor
Diane Gilder, Your Attorney

One rider who was pleased with his test in the two-star class was Frank Phillips, on I Told You So. The pair scored 38.7.  “I have learned more about dressage in the last three weeks than I have in the rest of my life,” says the ever-frank Frank. “Nicoli Fife drilled me for hours – I could hardly walk afterwards,” he confesses.

Frank Phillips, I Told You So

Annabel says that generally, she saw a vast improvement in the whole group from the Horse of the Year show, but suggests most “still needed suppleness so they could find their work easier.”  She is pleased to see them “going in the right direction”, however.

She is also impressed with the cross-country course. “It’s fantastic, beautifully presented and very interesting with lots of original questions.” As part of the Ground Jury, she can ask for changes to be made to the course, but there were none requested today of course designer, John Nicholson. “None were needed, that man knows what he is doing,” says Annabel.  As to what fences may cause the issues, Annabel suggests that the riders need to “keep their heads together all the way” but suggests perhaps the second water will be interesting. “It will be the accumulative effective of the concentration, and they will need to be on their game for the second water.”

The cross-country is on tomorrow, with the show jumping phase on Sunday, after which the National ODE championship titles will be awarded.

Angela Lloyd and Raucous are in first place in the JLT CNC105 Tait Trophy Championship (Imager: Libby Law)
Kelsey Leahy, Showcause, in 9th place in the Ferndale Trophy Championship (CIC1*)
Sharne Paton on McConnell Road are in 8th equal place after dressage but win the most distance travelled, having travelled up from Oamaru with her two horses to compete
Jock Paget and Bing Bong lead the Carlton Party Hire CNC105 class after dressage

Other results after dressage are:

Pryde’s EasiFeed CNC 1*
1 Megan Finlayson Greensleeves  21.8
2 Lizzie Green Rubix RE  24.3
3 Abby Lawrence Indy RE  24.8
3 Jeffrey Amon JA Take a Shot  24.8
5 Megan Hart Hot Ginger  25
JLT CNC 105 Tait Trophy Championship
1 Angela Lloyd Raucous  25
2 Jessica Woods Kings Soleil  27.9
3 Donna Edwards-Smith DSE Sagacious  29.8
4 Sophie Wilkinson Astek Gravitate  29.9
5 Scout Lodder Overnight Success  30.5
Vosper Law CNC105 Restricted
1 Eden Doull Noble Value  22.5
2 Cassie Dalgety Final Edition  24
3 Charlotte Robertson Sirocco Venus Rising  25
4 Georgie Smith Mr Clyde  26.5
5 Bridget Hawthorn Devereux  27
Prestige CNC105 Open A
1 Dannie Lodder Kiss  29.2
HC Christen Lane Thunder Cat  29.5
2 Jessica Woods LV Encostalot  31.5
3 Lizzie Green Comanche II  32.2
4 Danielle Wheeler Pierre  32.5
4 Holly Rose Airthrey Maggie May  32.5
4 Amy Parker Airthey Debt Collecter  32.5
Carlton Party Hire CNC105 Open B
1 Jonathan Paget Bing Bong  29
2 Amberlea Mulholland George of the Jungle  31.5
2 Dannie Lodder Money Shot  31.5
4 Sofie Boswell Astek Graffiti  31.8
5 Denise Rushbrook Manhattan  32.8