PC Champs: Canterbury leads after dressage

It's Canterbury first, but Franklin-Thames Valley close behind after the dressage phase of this year's NZPCA Teams Eventing Champs

A1 leaders Beth Wilson and Alto et Audax, Franklin-Thames Valley (Image: Pegasus Communications)

Pony Club teams have headed from all over New Zealand, north and south, to Masterton for the 2018 NZPCA Teams Eventing Championships.

There were some lovely tests performed today, with some in the DC section particularly impressive.

Last year’s overall winner, Canterbury, has a lead in the team’s section, after consistent performances by all their riders, with a combined score of 118.81.

Franklin-Thames Valley are second on 120.26 and have individual riders in the lead in both the A1 and DC sections. A combined team of mostly Auckland, plus one Otago-Southland rider, is in third on 130.67.

Becci Thomas, the Canterbury team coach, is not too keen to celebrate yet, as it is still early days in the competition. “They all held their cool and seemed to be very relaxed,” she says.

The Canterbury team relaxing in the sun (Image: Pegasus Communications)

In the A1 section, Beth Wilson (FTV) has the narrowest of leads on her score of 30., riding her two-star horse Alto et Audax. Canterbury has two team members right behind her with Molli Thacker and Happy Go Lucky on 30.527, and Jessie Fitzjohn on What’s the Buzz on 30.79. Taranaki’s Claudia Hurley on Dartanian is in fourth on 32.369.

Jesse Fitzjohn, Whats the Buzz, Canterbury (Image: Pegasus Communications)

Beth was regretting a few mistakes. “We broke at the medium – I could have kicked myself afterwards.”

Eden Doull, riding Noble Value, has the lead in the DC section, on an impressive score of 22.90. Second, on a score of 26.84 is Kaitlyn Freeman from Manawatu-West Coast, riding Landisohn. Tayla Moss and King Oath, from the Auckland team, is third on 29.87 with Canterbury’s Jordan Shrimpton and Ka Pai Kiwi and Auckland’s Francesca Masfen on Kinnordy Gallilee sharing fourth place both on a score of 30.66.

Eden Doull, Noble Value, FTV leads the DC section after dressage (Image: Pegasus Communications)

In the MT section, the two Canterbury riders feature at the top of the leaderboard. Charlotte Thomas on Te Puke has the lead on a score of 27.625, with Fabriana McQuarrie on Yippee Ki Yay on 30 in second place. Wairarapa-Wellington’s Hollie Falloon on Fairleigh Catterick is third and Samantha Belsham on Gypsy Gold fourth, from the Franklin-Thames Valley team.

Charlotte Thomas, Te Puke, Canterbury produced another lovely test to be in the lead in the MT section (Image: Pegasus Communications)

Robin Friend, who judged the DC section with Jenny Draper, was impressed with the overall standard she saw. “We both really liked the winner,” she says. “But we do need to train the riders to use more inside bend, and they need to ride more from behind, with a steady contact.”

There is certainly lots of good team spirit being shown. The South Canterbury-North Otago had a ‘character building’ trip up from their South Island base, but have put it down to a good learning experience and are still smiling, despite having one of their horses unable to compete this morning.

Ashburton0South Canterbury0North Otago team enjoying their North Island trip despite a few mishaps and “learning opportunities” (Image: Pegasus Communications)

The Otago-Southland team have travelled the greatest distance, and arrived up on Sunday, having had a great trip over the Cook Strait, with the highlight being seeing dolphins! One of their team is from Invercargill, with the rest from either Central Otago or the Dunedin area.

“We have sort-of known each other before this trip, but we are joined at the hip now,” the all-girl team reckons. Part of the bonding practice was practising the skits which were performed last night in a joint evening event with the participants of the Mounted Games Championship. Wairarapa-Wellington team won the Games championships from Hawke’s Bay, with Franklin-Thames Valley third and Canterbury fourth.

Some of the Otago-Southland girls enjoying their champs (Image: Pegasus Communications)

The skit performed by the Otago-Southland eventing team involved black and orange wigs, and singing the Highlander rugby team’s chant, with some word changes. “I don’t think many people were rugby fans and therefore didn’t get it, but it was lots of fun,” said Melissa, the team’s A1 rider. There was also high praise for the team cook, Jackie, who has impressed the girls. “She absolutely nailed it with the banoffee pie,” was the unanimous chorus!

The cross-country course is also receiving high praise from competitors. “It’s going to be fun,” and “it’s done well,” and “beautiful grounds” are some of the comments. The corners have been identified as potentially being tricky for the A1s.

Jordan Shrimpton isn’t planning on using her Springston Trophy technique tomorrow at NZPCA eventing champs (Image: Pegasus Communications)

The Canterbury team has a team strategy of “staying attached” for tomorrow. Jordan Shrimpton, who entertained everyone with an amazing save at the Springston Trophy last year, is hoping for a quieter round tomorrow. “It was funny at the Springston Trophy, but I’m not planning on doing it again here,” she says. Jordan was pleased with her score in the dressage: “a big personal improvement.”

Jordan Shrimpton, Ka Pai Kiwi competing today at the NZPCA Champs in Masterton – the pair are in fourth equal spot (Image: Pegasus Communications)

The cross-country is held at the Clareville show grounds tomorrow (just down the road) with the show jumping back at Solway Showgrounds in Masterton on Sunday.

Teams results after dressage:

Canterbury (Molli Thacker, Jessie Fitzjohn, Lucy Cochrane, Jordan Shrimpton, Charlotte Thomas and Fabriana McQuarrie), 118.81, 1. Franklin-Thames Valley (Beth Wilson, Eden Doull, Bridget Sullivan, Lara Butler-Gallie, Samantha Belsham, Harriet Gelb), 120.26, 2; Auckland/Otago-Southland (Rebecca Davey, Francesca Masfen, Tayla Moss, Jasmine O’Brien, Noah Coutts), 130.67, 3.