Amanda Pottinger knows that finishing second in her first CCI4* competition is nothing to sneeze about . . . but what does irk her is that she and Just Kidding had four rails down in the showjumping.
“That upsets me,” she said.

Amanda lost her hard-won overnight lead after a very challenging cross country at the Mitsubishi Motors Australian International 3 Day Event in Adelaide after adding 16 penalties in the showjumping to finish on 63.2 penalty points. Hazel Shannon and Willingapark Clifford who were second coming into the all-important showjumping, added just eight to finish the competition on 59.9.

It was another tough phase in the Southern Hemisphere’s only 4* competition. The 24-strong field had been cut in half by the challenging Mike Etherington-Smith cross country and the showjumping provided little solace with no-one finishing without faults.

Australia-based Kiwi Hayley Frielick and Class Action LP added eight jumping and one time to end the day on 90.3 and in fifth place with Jess Woods and Just de Manzana in 10th and Renee Faulkner aboard Rubinstar HH in 11th.

Amanda and Just Kidding received some “really nice” feedback from the ground jury which meant a lot to her. “The actual not winning part is not what I am gutted about,” she said “I have never had four rails on Ferg (Just Kidding) in his whole career. That is what upsets me. It was a big course. There was a horse out there who for the last two years has jumped clear and even they had two rails down, so that is good perspective for me.”

Coming into the event, Amanda says she knew there were many unknowns. “It is the first time he has had to gallop around a course that long, first time travelling overseas and our first 4* in 30-something degree heat. So many massive unknowns.”

But ESNZ high performance development coach Jock Paget said he was incredibly proud of all of the Kiwi riders. “All of the girls who finished were first timers at 4*.” He felt Amanda had been very impressive and solid across all three phases.

He was full of praise for the efforts of young Renee Faulkner and has pegged her as one for the future. “She had to be close to the youngest in the field and just did a really good job all weekend,” he said. “The cross country track was huge and the horse certainly finished much better than when he started. He would have been feeling the distance today. She is such a cool jockey and is not fazed by anything. I am pretty proud of her.”

And Renee was chuffed too. “He tried his heart out all weekend,” she said of Rubinstar. “I am super happy to have our first 4* under our belts.”

Jock also had plenty to say about Jess Woods and Just de Manzana. “She and the horse are a great combination and they’ll be exciting to watch in the future.”

Jess was super proud of her horse. “Lexi tried hard today,” she said. “We had a wonderful day yesterday but she had a bump on her leg and was tired so it wasn’t our best showjumping but we will be back next year.”

Hayley was ecstatic. “I am totally amazed,” she said. “My horse was just brilliant and kept trying all weekend I am so lucky to have him, He has a heart of gold and I couldn’t have asked for more in his first 4*. It was an amazing experience and I hope to be back again soon – it is just incredible here.”
And being part of a wider New Zealand team was also very special. “It was great to meet the Kiwi team properly too as I don’t actually see any of them being over the ditch but it was great to be a part of it.”

In the CCI2*, Lucy Turner and Carbon placed 20th on 75.2 penalty points. The class was won by Shane Rose and Easy Turn who finished on their dressage score of 34.9.

Also on hand was ESNZ high performance eventing manager Graeme Thom. “Adelaide proved a proper test for our Kiwi riders,” he said. “It was exceptional that Amanda finished second in her very first 4*. The cross country proved pivotal, both for our veterans and our first timers.”

Graeme felt course designer Mike Etherington-Smith had raised the bar on last year. “All of the riders, including those who walked home, were appreciative of the challenge and look forward to this trend continuing.”

He thanked he support team, including Jock, Penny Castle and Dr Alec Jorgensen. “My hat is off to all our wonderful owners, family members and grooms who truly made it happen,” he said. “In the end, this past week has been another reminder that we must continue to improve in order to maintain the high level afforded our team.”


The horse details:
Rubinstar HH – owned by Renee Faulkner
Just Kidding – owned by the Pottinger Family
Just de Manzana – owned by Simon Tainish
Class Action LP – owned by Hayley Frielick
My Happiness – owned by Hayley Frielick
Carbon – owned by WJ and EA Drayton and Lucy Turner

By Diana Dobson – HP Media Liaison
Photos by Libby Law/ESNZ