Dressage shake-up for NZ 3DE champs riders


Video: CCI** leaders Diane Gilder and Your Attorney 

A series of small earthquakes in the early morning centred just miles from the venue just added to the pre-dressage nerves for riders and horses contesting the national titles at the NRM National Three-Day-Event at Taupo today.

Clarke Johnstone and Balmoral Sensation.
Clarke Johnstone and Balmoral Sensation. Matthew Grayling and NRM Lowenberg. Matthew Grayling and NRM Lowenberg.Abby Lawrence and Psuedonym.  Abby Lawrence and Psuedonym. Pictures © Jane Thompson

Five small earthquakes measuring between 2 and 3.2 woke some around 1am this morning whereas many others slept on, blissfully unaware.

One of those was Clarke Johnstone, who produced the winning test in the NRM CCI*** dressage with a score of 50.2 on Balmoral Sensation.

“It felt like we nailed it” he said on leaving the arena. “The walk, halt and rein-back section hadn’t gone well in Sydney, but I was very happy with it today. I’m thrilled, he tried really hard.”

Matthew Grayling is right behind Johnstone on 51.6 penalties with his first of his two rides, NRM Lowenberg. He said he had focused on fitness this week with his horse rather than dressage. “We made a few mistakes today, he wasn’t as relaxed as he has been, we could have avoided these,” he said.

In third place is Abby Lawrence with Pseudonym on 57.2. Lawrence described her test as super. “He isn’t an easy horse, we got a bit unbalanced with our counter canter and the flying changes were exuberant but overall he was really, really good.”

Samantha Felton on Ricker Ridge Pico Boo is fourth on 61.2, just ahead of Donna Smith on Balmoral Tangalooma on 61.8.

In the Silver Spurs Trophy for the South v. North Island teams event, the South Island is the leader after the dressage phase. The South Island team is Clarke Johnstone with Balmoral Sensation, Christen Hayde with Tandarra Sweet As, Emily Cammock with Al For Short & Kirsten Beaven on Summer Ale. The North Island team is Donna Smith on Balmoral Tangolooma, Dannie Lodder & Moochi, James Jackson & Leo Distinction & Amanda Pottinger with Corcovado.

Australia’s Lyn Roycroft, president of the CCI*** Ground Jury, commented that overall the horses and riders were very well presented. “I was disappointed that their arena craft was not up to standard all the time. Restricted contact didn’t allow some horses to flow. There are, however, a number of horses that will enjoy the cross country tomorrow.”


Diane Gilder and Your Attorney.
Diane Gilder and Your Attorney. © Jane Thompson

In the Bates CCI**, Diane Gilder on Your Attorney continues to impress with her dressage, performing a lovely test to take the lead with a score of 48.7.

She was really pleased with the test and result.

“He was brilliant, relaxed and really happy. The test felt consistent and relaxed the whole way through, and my horse felt lovely and soft. It was the best test we have ever done,” Gilder said.

In second place is Bundy Philpott with Romeo NZPH on 53.1, with a tie for third between Amanda Pottinger on Achilles II and Dannie Lodder on Moochi on 53.9.

CCI* and CCN105

In the Fiber Fresh CCI* Championship, Tayla Mason is the narrow leader on a score of 41.3 on Royalty. Amanda Pottinger with Just Kidding are on 41.5 and Cherie Jaques is third on Tobinator. Davina Waddy is fourth on Milburn Maringo on a score of 48.1.

In the AMS Saddlery CCI* Open, Lindsay Colwell on An Act is the winner after dressage, on a score of 38.7, well in front of Abby Lawrence and NRM Ru Star on 46.2 and Abigail Long on BMW Advokaat on 46.9.

The Bombers Bits/Prestige Floats CCN105 Championship is led by Dannie Lodder on Hawk Noir PSH on 28.2, from two combinations on 32.8; Devon Grantley-Hogg and Cordova GNZ and Ashleigh McKinstry on Pioneer How Ironic.

There are joint leaders in the Wade Equine Coaches CCN105 Open after dressage. Both Tania Baker and Guilt Trip and Sophie Wilkinson on Turbulance scored 27.5. Third is Emma Broughton-Watt on 28.5 with Lochinvar II.

Young Event Horse Champs

The winner of the Equine Trader Young Event Horse National Championship was Waikato’s Jessica Woods on the four-year-old Elf. The best thoroughbred in the class was Donna Smith’s Piper and the best mare was judged as Ocean McKinnon’s Graffiti Mh.


The cross-country course is now the focus for all of the riders. Many of the CCI*** riders commented that the John Nicholson designed course was one of the longest ones they had seen. Fitness will obviously be needed for both horse and rider but as Clarke Johnstone said, there is plenty to jump. Angela Lloyd described the course as “meaty with a true Nicholson flavour.”

Live streaming available of cross country and showjumping is on Event Freak.

What the riders say:

Abby Lawrence:  “Extremely long course, longest we have ever done.  There’s a few good questions there, but it should be rideable.  John Nicholson has done a great job.”

Bundy Philpott:  “John has done a fantastic job, its very long.  Tired horses and riders may make mistakes but it’s a good test.”

Donna Smith: It’s awesome!  I can’t wait to ride it.”

Fraser King: “The course looks fun.  I’m looking forward to it. It’s quite long, it should suit my full thoroughbred.”

Kelsey Rothery: “It’s not as big as Kihikihi but there are lots of questions.  There are a lot of galloping spaces so I will have to get back for the combinations.”

Diane Gilder: “The course is good, there are a couple of tough questions.  There’s a good run at the beginning so hopefully that will set us up for a good run.”

Samantha Felton: “The course should suit my horses.  There’s some good rider decisions on lines.  John always makes us riders think.”

Shelley Ross: “It’s quite taxing, there’s a lot of combinations with related distances off bends.  It will be taxing on time and horses.  There’s lots of undulations, not hills but it will be quite hard on the horses.”

Angela Lloyd: “The course is meaty with a true Nicholson flavour. It is long, longest we’ve done but it will suit my mare I hope.  She’s fit.”

Matthew Grayling: “I like the track. I think it suits my horse. Henton Executive is a bit behind on fitness so it will be a test for him.”

The cross-country starts on Saturdayat 8am and the weather forecast is for a continuation of the sunny weather. We just hope there are no more earthquakes!

Full results www.equestrianentries.co.nz

Jane Thompson

Jane has always had a keen interest in horses, and was an active competitor in equestrian events from her early days until the late 1980s. » Read Jane's profile

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