It was Kiwis one and three on the podium in the FEI Grand Prix Special CDN at the 2017 Australian Dressage Championships.

Rio Olympian Julie Brougham and Vom Feinsten rode a stunning test to take the class on 69.53%, with Abbie Deken and KH Abrose in third on 66.941%. Both women were very pleased with the improvement their horses had shown through the champs, which were held at Boneo Park, Victoria.

“He did a lovely test,” said Manawatu-based Brougham. “It was just fantastic.” Their efforts were well rewarded with a number of eights from the judges. “I am very happy with the mark – it is a qualifying score for WEG and now I have just one more to get. With every test Steiny just got better and better.”

For Brougham, the win set the record straight too. “In 2005 I was just beaten by Brett Parbery in the special, so this is a great win for us.”

As the victor, Brougham was also presented the Crown Law Trophy, although it did take a little while for organisers to make sure it could be awarded to a ‘foreigner’.

The results rounded out a great Australian Champs for Brougham who was also second in the Grand Prix Freestyle to Music and third in the Grand Prix.

Next for her fiery German-bred chestnut is Equitana. “I am very excited about that and then we are strongly considering coming back to Boneo Park in January to do the CDI. It is such a big deal to be in a line-up of 26 grand prix horses, and half of them are really good competitors. It brings huge pressure but that is what you need if you are going to do the game internationally.”

She was very proud of Deken and her efforts on her self-produced KH Ambrose. “She really came through today. It was great to see her in the line-up. She has learnt so much. She really is setting the ground work for the future.”

Both Brougham and Deken commented on the high quality of the surfaces at Boneo Park. “Steiny is just a different horse on these surfaces. It is just phenomenal,” said Brougham. “Today he was just so rideable . . . just amazing to ride.”

Deken too said it made a huge difference to be competing on sop surfaces. “Especially at grand prix level,” she said. “It is just a huge thing, and something we need in New Zealand.”

Deken, who had gone from heartbreak on the opening day of the champs to the podium on the final day, heads home knowing there is more to come for her and horse horse. “Every day is a roller coaster of emotions but that is the sport,” she said. “It was nice to finish with a better one.”

She was frustrated to have a couple of mistakes in the special but was pleased KH Ambrose had again improved on the previous day. “I do want to be trying to do personal bests,” said Deken, who hails from Taranaki. “That wasn’t achieved here but there is a whole different load of pressure with travel and big competitive fields.”

For her, the best thing she takes home is that experience.

“That experience of being under a different pressure and the pressure you put on yourself under those circumstances. The only way to get better is to get out there and do it, and experiences like this make you even more determined to get better at test riding.”


The horse details:

Vom Feinsten owned by David, Julie and Nicholas Brougham

KH Ambrose owned by Abbie Deken


By Diana Dobson – HP Media liaison