The higher level titles may have left the region but Southland hosted a fantastic South Island Championships.
North Canterbury’s Jenny Scotter secured the Level 6 title at the completion of three days of tough competition. Despite not winning an individual test, instead finishing runner up each time, it was Scotter’s consistency aboard Kinnordy Gallium that earned her the championship.
Marlborough visitor Tracey Johnson and Apollo 4 regained their form to win the final two tests but finished too far down the leaderboard on day 1 to pick up the overall title, with the combination being named Reserve Champions.
Dunedin riders dominated both the Level 4 and 5 Championships with Gillian Edgar and Cordacious (Level 4) and Anya Durling and Rosari Guest Star (Level 5) taking home the silverware. Each combination was successful in three of the four tests they contested with Durling scoring huge percentages well clear of the rest of her rivals. Runner up in Level 5 was young rider Nicole Ostermeier and Suburban while North Canterbury’s Kirsty Schist and Kinnordy Gambado were Reserve Champions in Level 4.
Southland riders came to the party in the Level 2 and 3 championships. Another combination to be rewarded for continually consistent performances was Allie Harper and Dream Girl MH. Harper also won the award for the best placed Hanoverian competing in Levels 1 to 3.
Invercargill’s Kerrie Morrison came back from disaster to win both the overall championship and the South Island Zilco Musical Level 2 Series. After winning the opening class Morrison’s horse, Allitation, took serious exception mid test on day two, leaving Morrison no choice but to retire from the test. Saturday afternoon saw the duo back on form and a second placing was enough to secure the title.
Holly Merritt, another visitor from North Canterbury, enjoyed a successful weekend on her 5 year old Go Lightly. Winning the Level 1 Championship, 5 year old young dressage horse, the Abbotsburn turnout trophy as well as being a member of the winning team. Southland’s Marlene Parkinson and Te Peka Lucky Me were runners up.
Lynley Stockdale and Komplete Kaos were the sole entrants at Grand Prix, the same level which is competed at the Olympics, and deserved their victory following solid performances which achieved good percentages from the judges.
The McCulloch and Partners Young Dressage Horse Championship was also contested yesterday with the winners being Helen Boyd and Gemma MH (4 year old), Holly Merritt and Go Lightly (5 year old) and Kirsty Schist and Kintore Romany (6 year old).
Day 2 – Saturday, December 9
Just two combinations remain unbeaten at the conclusion of the second day of the championships.
Otago’s Gillian Edgar and Cordacious appear to have the Level 4 title under wraps following convincing wins in both the Zilco Musical and the NRM Challenge classes. Meanwhile in the Level 1 Holly Merritt on the 5 year old Go Lightly were unbeaten.
Tracey Johnson and Apollo 4 returned to form winning the Hobson Horsecoaches Level 6 Challenge. The usually consistent combination were left unplaced on the opening day after a tense test but Apollo 4 redeemed himself on day 2 when beating Jenny Scotter and Kinnordy Gallium. Wendy Butler and Millstream Magic maintained their Day 1 position to finish third with teenager Kate Maclean moving one place up the leaderboard to finish fourth.
Another combination to turn their opening day form around was Anya Durling and Rosari Guest Star who won both Level 5 classes. The duo was 5% ahead of the rest of the field in the Hatton Horse Floats Challenge and scored 71.9% to extend the margin to 8% in the 5.3. Beneath Durling the competition is tight with several riders sharing the placings.
In level 3, Megan Robinson and Genero have won two classes to date, including the Zilco Musical and the Reichenbach Challenge, with Kirsty Schist and Kinnordy Rialto winning the 3.4. Allie Harper and this year’s Canterbury A & P Supreme Champion Horse Dream Girl MH have been runner up in each.
A top performance in the Level 2 final will be crucial for Kerrie Morrison and Allitation who won the Level 2 Zilco Musical after having to retire from the Matthews Hanoverians Challenge mid test when Allitation became unsettled.
The points table is an open affair in this grade with a number of horses picking up placings. Lynette Wood and The Gambler III took advantage of Morrison’s misfortune, narrowly winning the Matthews Hanoverians Challenge before finishing runner up in the Zilco Musical.