Olympian Clark Johnstone showed his class in the Auckland Council CCI4*-L title at Puhinui International Three Day Event this weekend  but Ella Morshuis, a 15 year old schoolgirl from Mosgiel stole the show by snatching a win in the CCI2*-L class from Clarke’s fellow Olympic team member Jonathan Paget.

Johnstone needed all his experience to jump two clear rounds over a tough and technical show jumping course on Aces High who took the win on 32.7 penalties with his stablemate Deo Volente in third on 42.8. “It was a difficult course and I walked it twice, but was still scratching my head about how many strides there was in places”, Johnstone said.

In second place also jumping a clear round was Karaka’s Monica Oakley and Acrobat on 33.6. Christen Lane from Hawkes Bay took home fourth place with Thunder Cat after just one  rail down over the testing course built by Phillippa Howells and local rider Renee Faulkner, who was the dressage leader after day one’s dressage  finished 5th on Rubinstar HH after 4 time faults across the country yesterday and three rails down in the jumping test. The 22-year-old vet nurse also finished 3rd in the Gilmour’s 3* event on her new ride Mi Focus. Speaking to Renee after her 3* show jumping, she was pleased with “Maple” as she is known, “show jumping has not been the best of late so that round was our best to date! That was our first long format event and only our fourth event together. She’s so cool”. What does the future hold for the two? “I plan on stepping Maple up in 2020, so I’ll have two horses at 4* level. Planning on Adelaide 2020 and then hopefully the 2024 Olympics in Paris!”.

Monica Oakley also took home the Gilmours CCI3*-L title with an all the way win on Artist. In spite of one dropped rail incurring 4 penalties on the final day she had enough in hand to take the win on 29.1 penalties. Amanda Pottinger and Good Timing finished in 2nd on their dressage score of 32. Fourth went to Ashleigh Mckinstry (Pioneer Brass Monkey), 5th to Alena Dorotich (Donner XS) and 6th to Bundy Philpott and Shillings.

The undoubted star of the weekend was Mosgiel’s 15 year old Ella Morshuis who competed in the 2* class on her chestnut horse World Famous. Ella and her family took 4 days to travel north to Puhinui and the pair put in an excellent dressage test on Friday to sit second behind Jonathan Paget and Bing Bong. They cruised around the cross country penalty free to keep the pressure on the Olympian and went into the arena for the jumping needing a clear round to keep the pressure up. A beaming Morshuis came through the final flags in the jumping arena never believing that they could win, but the unthinkable happened and Paget had the final fence down and handed the win to Morshuis. The ever-gentlemanly Paget was the first to congratulate his victor who was speechless with delight. For the record the final scores were Ella Morshuis and World Famous 1st on 28.4, Abigail Long (Cruising Guy) 2nd on 28.7 and Jonathon Paget 3rd on 31.1, closely followed by Greer Caddigan (Ricker Ridge Pico Boo) 4th on 31.8, Matthew Grayling (Henton Ambassador) 5th on 32.5 and Samantha Mynott (CHS Royal Genie) 6th on 33.2.

The competitive Thompson Electrical CCI1*-L class saw  Clarke Johnstone lead the class from start to finish and taking the win on his dressage score. Sixteen year old Charlotte Treneary and her little white pony Kabo Pongo won the hearts of the crowd but had an unfortunate rail dropping from 2nd to 4th place with Charlotte’s second ride, Mirrabella Piper finished in 6th place. Francesca Masfen with Kinnordy Gallilee finished on their dressage score to finish 2nd, with Amber Scott and Absolu in 3rd and Charlotte Edwards and Charlton Cabaret in 5th.