There may not have been podium finishes for the Kiwi eventers or showjumper Dylan Bibby at CHIO Aachen, but there is plenty to take away from the iconic event.
Competing in the individual final of the FEI Youth Equestrian Games, Dylan made it through to the jump-off aboard his borrowed mount Chasseur Ask Z, garnering plenty of praise from his coach Lucy Olphert and those watching his rounds from afar. Eighteen of the 30 starters came back to be challenged by the 1.30m Frank Rothenberger-designed course where the top nine all kept their slates clear.
“I couldn’t be prouder of Dylan,” said Lucy. “Being early out in an incredibly strong field of riders he had no choice but to try and set the pace. A couple of unlucky mistakes saw him finish out of the medals but jumping clear over three of the four rounds on one of the world’s biggest stages is an outstanding achievement. He has gained so much from this experience and can go away with his head held high.”
Dylan was chuffed with his efforts that saw him place 16th, finishing with eight faults. “I am really happy with our performance in the first round,” he said. “He felt the best of all our rounds so far. Being second out in an 18-field jump-off, I knew I had to go out there and leave nothing behind.” He leaves Germany knowing they “gave it our all”. “That’s the nature of the sport – sometimes you win and sometimes you lose.”
Thomas Van Rijckevorsel (RSA) and Lucy 781 won the individual gold, with Jad Guerraoui (MAR) aboard Lady Angeles coming in for second, and Mimi Gochman (USA) with Merino van de Achterhoek third.
The eventing didn’t quite produce the desired result for the Kiwis, but there were still positives to come from the CCIO4*-S competition.
The team finished fourth with Great Britain holding on to win with 109.3 penalty points, Germany were second on 138.2, and France third on 147.9. The Kiwis were just a snip back on 149.9. In the individual competition, Clarke Johnstone and Leopard’s Action, in their first 4* start together, were the best of the crew, finishing in 11th on 40.8. The combo moved steadily up the leaderboard over the three tests.
Jesse Campbell and Gambesie placed 15th on 44.7 and Jonelle Price with her youngster Killbunny Andy ended the comp on 64.4.
Jonelle felt the horse had certainly shown glimpses of what he is capable of. “My horse is a relatively unknown quantity, particularly in that league and environment,” she said. “Hopefully we can build from this and the experience gained this part week will be invaluable moving forward.”
Tim Price and Falco were eliminated on the cross country. “I was really gutted to have got stuck on the keyhole,” said Tim. “He took a funny little step in front and it just got us into a pickle and he was beached on the fence, so I had to go into rescue mode pretty quickly to get him off the fence.”
Tim said it was a real shame, especially given that they were 15 seconds up on the clock. “As the class eventuated it was a good day to go very close to the time for where I was coz Michael (Jung) got the 15 penalties for his flag and the class was relatively wide open after that.”
Falco was fine and Tim said the two would “live to fight another day”. “We have had a really great week with the team and we feel we are just sharpening the sword for the future.”
Sandra Auffarth (GER) and Viamant du Matz took top individual honours with a score of 29.5, with Andrew Hoy (AUS) aboard Vassily de Lassos ruing a .4 time penalty on the cross country to slip to second on 30.5, and Tom McEwen (GBR) on Toledo de Kerser third on 32.8.
THE HORSE DETAILS:
Leopard’s Action – Rob, Jean and Clarke Johnstone
Falco – owned by Sue Benson and Tim Price
Gambesie – owned by Sarah Moffat
Killbunny Andy – owned by Therese Miller and Constance Edmundson
By Diana Dobson – HP Media Liaison
Photos by Libby Law/ESNZ