Melissa Galloway headed home from her first CDI4* competition in Europe on a high. She and Windermere J’Obei W deservedly picked up a clutch of very important results – their final World Champs qualifying mark and a personal best in the Grand Prix Special.
And let’s not forget that meant a fourth placing in the Grand Prix Special with a score of 72.341% and a ninth in a very competitive CDI4* Grand Prix with a score of 69.956% at the Dressage Festival Opglabbeek 2022 in Belgium.
Their efforts even caught the eye of some of the world’s top dressage journalists with Euro Dressage saying she “blended in perfectly with the Euro crowd and produced a respectable test that earned her 69.956% and ninth place”.
Understandably the Marlborough rider is buzzing. “It means so much to be getting these scores at my first 4* in Europe and amongst such incredible company,” said Melissa. “I really didn’t expect to be in the placings so early on in my time here. I am so blessed to have the most wonderful horse as my teammate.”
Melissa is confident there is plenty to come, especially under the watchful eye of her coach Anne van Olst. “There is still plenty of room for improvement with Joey. I had some small mistakes in the special and there are still things I am not getting as good in the competition arena as at home,” said Melissa. “There is always going to be room for improvement.”
Joey as he is affectionately known was bred by Rania Todd and David Woolley. David was equally as rapt, posting his congratulations to Melissa’s Facebook page. “Melissa left her home and everything she knew to travel to the other side of the world just a few months ago and is now footing it with the best in the world on a horse she bought as a two-year-old and has produced herself,” he wrote.
“Anyone who has ever seen Joey knows what a beautiful horse he is and the incredible talent and brain he has for top level dressage. I think we can also say he was probably the only horse in the class whose mother was a racehorse in New Zealand.”
Eleven-year-old Joey is by Johnson TN, out of Miss Pompeii XX (who is by Pompeii XX).
“I really owe him (Joey) so much,” says Melissa who since November has been based at Van Olst Stables in Den Hout, in The Netherlands. It is owned by Anne and Gertjan van Olst with Anne the head trainer and Melissa’s coach.
“I am very grateful to Anne. She has made a massive difference to my riding and how I approach things at a competition,” said Melissa. “She has so much knowledge and I am very lucky to have her guidance.”
Both the Grand Prix and the Special at the CDI4* in Belgium were won by Charlotte Fry (GBR) and Glamourdale who is also based at Van Olst Stables. Melissa is the assistant rider for Charlotte, who is the head rider for the barn and she works closely with the Kiwi.
Melissa and Joey moved to the Northern Hemisphere in November and had their first outing in early February at CDN Peelbergen in the Netherlands. There they showed they were going to be ones to watch with a fifth place in the Grand Prix with a score just over 70%. Even she was surprised saying at the time it was more than she had dared dream for in their first outing.
They followed that with a 72.085% and second placing in the Grand Prix Special – a personal best – at the CDI3* in Lier, Belgium. Their next outing will be Horses and Dreams in Hagen, Germany. “It is a show I have always dreamed of riding at so I am very much looking forward to that at the end of the month.”
By Diana Dobson – HP Media Liaison
Photo by eurodressage.com