The first week of competition at the CDI4* Dressage by the Sea event at Willinga Park in Australia may not have produced the much-hoped-for Olympic qualifying scores, but it certainly showcased some exciting talent for the future.
Melissa Galloway (Marlborough) and Windermere J’Obei W had a blinder, placing third in the Grand Prix on 69.174%, second in the Grand Prix Special on 69.66% and notching a personal best and second place in the Freestyle with a score of 75.565%.
Australia-based John Thompson and JHT Chemistry who have only been competing at this level for two months were fourth in the Grand Prix with 68.478% and third in the Freestyle on 75.025%. They did not start in the Special.
Victoria Wall (Waikato) and Letty Lei EDH scored 64.413% in the Grand Prix and 69.125% in the Freestyle. They didn’t start in the Special.
Wendi Williamson and Don Amour HM scored 62.587% in the Grand Prix, 62.915% in the Special and 69.22% in the Freestyle for sixth place.
Mary Hanna dominated all of the classes, winning the 16-strong Grand Prix aboard Calanta on 70.696%, the eight-strong Special aboard Syriana on 70.213%, and the 11-strong Freestyle on Calanta with 76.205% which was a new Australian record.
Kiwi Julie Brougham and Vom Feinsten still hold the Australasian Freestyle record with a score of 76.3%.
Dressage New Zealand sport manager Wendy Hamerton said it had been a nail-biting few days watching the event. “To see the two young Grand Prix combinations taking on the Australians with such confidence and quality is so exciting for the future of our sport way beyond Tokyo,” she said.
“To have some of the top international judges in the world giving them such a positive commentary will make the world sit up and take note. While New Zealand is a long way from the Eurocentric hub, we are continuing to develop a strong base and we will be increasingly competitive. These riders are lifting the standard in Oceania, leading the way and showing other New Zealand riders what is possible. The whole sport is feeling very proud of the achievements of all the Kiwis at Dressage by the Sea.”
Holly Leach a good week too, winning the final round of the seven-year-old class with Sugarloaf Amnesty on a score of 71.882%, and with HP Fresco placing seventh in the Prix St Georges on 68.08%, fifth in the Inter I on 66.5% and second in the Freestyle on 71.375%.
The second week of competition gets underway this Friday.
THE HORSE DETAILS:
Don Amour HM – owned by Wendi and Jon Williamson
JHT Chemistry – owned by John Thompson and Holly Leach
Letty Lei EDH – owned by Victoria Wall
Windermere J’Obei W – owned by Rodney and Anne Parkes and Melissa Galloway
By Diana Dobson – HP Media Liaison