After months of planning by Dressage Southland the Harper Horsecoaches/Mataura Licensing Trust South Island Championships get under way this weekend at the Gore A & P Showgrounds.
Some 135 combinations will compete at the championships with many riders traveling with their mounts from the Canterbury region. Two combinations will also make the long trip from Blenheim to Gore, one of these being last season’s Level 6 Champion Tracy Johnson and Apollo 4.
The depth of Level 6 & 7 combinations in the South Island is evident with a quality field of 15 combinations entered. As well as Johnson, recently crowned Canterbury Level 6 Champion Jenny Scotter and Kinnordy Gallium will be making the trip south and Balclutha’s Jenny Affleck and Boss II will be having their first starts of the season. Keeping the experienced riders on their toes will be no less than three young riders, Siobhan Fauth (Hollywood Superstar), Kate Maclean (Oscar Del A Hoya) and Hannah Johnston (Just Hollie).
Otago riders hold a strong hand in the Level 5 championship with Anya Durling and Rosari Guest Star, Barbara Chalmers and Rossellini and Heilke De Graaf and All-White. As last season’s Level 4 Champion Durling will be looking to continue to work her way through the grades with her Gymnastik Star gelding.
The Level 4 Championship looks set to be an even contest. With the majority of the field from the Otago Southland region Canterbury raiders Jane Crichton (Alpachino MH), Kirsty Schist (Kinnordy Gambado) and Soo Wells (AJK Carronade) will be looking to steal the trophy off the locals.
Levels 1, 2 and 3 will all come down to consistency with large fields across the three grades. High entries in Level 1 have meant the classes have been divided into 2 divisions.
Friday afternoon sees the McCulloch and Partners Young Dressage Horse Championship with a number of quality future stars set down to compete. The bloodlines include Rascalino, Anamour, Kinnordy Gym Bello, Lessing and Florian.
Competition commences at 10am on Friday with prizegiving scheduled for 1pm on Sunday afternoon.