The New Zealand Young Rider team had mixed fortunes today in the dressage phase of the Melbourne International Horse Trials.
Two of the team, Sarah Young and Jessica Woods, have finished in the top ten, while the other two are at the other end of the placings in the CCI** competition. However, the team is handily placed behind the Australian team in the Oceania Young Rider Championships, with just 10.19 penalties difference in the team scores.
The competition is led by Western Australia’s Gabrielle Pither on the thoroughbred gelding Max Almighty. They finished on a score of 69.26 to hold a marginal lead over second placed Victorian rider Wilhelm Enzinger and his Wenlock Aquifer with 69.01. Victorian rider Teegan Ashby, who won the junior competition at MIHT in 2011 is currently third placed with 68.64.
Both Pither and Ashby are members of the Australian Young Rider four-member team.
Sarah Young was very happy with her dressage test on Regal Romar. “I’m ecstatic, he really performed well. He loved the atmosphere.”
Jessica Woods on Defies Logic is 10th position, 7.22 penalties in deficit of the leader. She said she was very nervous before going into the arena. “I then just zoned in, as if it was just me and my horse doing a test in New Zealand. Then when I came out of the arena, I started shaking!”
The luck continued for Enzinger as he leads the CCI1* dressage class aboard Paihia Wilhelm with 74.31. Lauren Balcomb and Guido Hatzis are second on 73.89, while Australian Olympian Shane Rose sits third with 73.47 aboard Purbeck Diesel.
Event President Douglas Wright said day one of competition provided an equestrian spectacle of an international standard for competitors and eventgoers alike at the new look competition.
“We have been encouraged by the competitors on the first day with the new approach we have taken to this event,” he said.
The Kiwi team has the day off tomorrow while the dressage phase continues in the other classes with the CCI1* dressage starting at 8am. The cross country phase starts on Sunday, and the course is beautiful – and challenging.
New Zealand rider Madison Crowe described it as “big, bold and demanding. I am really looking forward to riding it, there will be no time to switch off, with lots to think about.”
Bonnie Farrant, another looking forward to the jumping phases, agreed that she will have to be thinking the whole way around but says “it’s our kind of course.”
Additional reporting: MIHT
YR CCI** results, after dressage:
Gabrielle Pither on Max Almighty, 46.11
Wilhem Enzinger, Wenlock Aquifer, 46.49
Teegan Ashby, Rockingham No Reason, 47.04
Bill Chrisanis, Jaybee Castille, 47.78
Sarah Young, Regal Romar, 48.15
Jessica Woods, Defies Logic, 53.33,
Madison Crowe, Brogan, 62.04
Bonnie Farrant, Kaipara Dior, 66.86