Clarke Johnstone & Balmoral Sensation – Dressage leaders CIC3*, Kihikihi International Horse Trias. Credit Take the Moment Photography



Perfect ground conditions and great weather resulted in some excellent dressage at the National Eventing Championships at Kihikihi today (Friday), especially from Clarke Johnstone and Balmoral Sensation who are in a class of their own, leading the Waipa Home of Champions CIC3* class on a score of 30.8 penalties.


Johnstone was very pleased with their performance, feeling it was one of their best performances, and is looking forward to riding John Nicholson’s cross-country course tomorrow, saying, “The going is perfect. It does not look to have the same degree of difficulty as in the past, but it can always ride differently to how it walks.”


Sarah Young holds second place overnight after a polished performance on Leo Degas to score 32 penalties, with Donna Edwards-Smith lying third on DSE Tangolooma on 34.7 penalties.


Young Rider Renee Faulkner produced a great test from her dressage rebel Rubinstar HH for 35.1 penalties, fractionally ahead of Ashleigh McKinstry on Pioneer Brass Monkey with 35.2.


Bundy Philpott and Tresca NZPH are sixth with 35.6 penalties, and the scores are very close thereafter, but tomorrow is another day and traditionally the scoreboard is scrambled after the cross-country at Kihikihi.


Sadly for Samantha Felton, she was forced to withdraw after breaking her thumb the day before the event in a loading mishap with a young horse, so is not able to defend the title she won last year.


The Weatherbeeta CIC2* class is led by Donna Edwards-Smith riding Aztec Guardsman for Chanel Griffiths’, who is pregnant, Donna having had the horse for only a week, but produced a flowing test to earn 28.4 penalties. Stephanie Vervoort is second on X Factor with 32.1 penalties, with the scores in the 32 strong class again very close.


The Wade Equine CIC1* class, with 39 starters, sees Dannie Lodder in the lead on Lexington with 28.4 penalties, followed by Denise Rushbrook on Astek Gadzuks with 29.1, and Christen Lane on Henton Armada with 29.6 penalties. Again the scores are close.


Angela Lloyd leads the 31strong JLT Bloodstock CNC105 championship on Raucous with 25 penalties, ahead of Jessica Woods on Kings Soleil with 27.9.


Virginia Caro