New Zealand dressage riders have produced a trifecta of quinellas at the Sydney CDI3* with Melissa Galloway and Wendi Williamson dominating the competition. The duo rounded out a stunning weekend with the quinella in the FEI CDI3* Freestyle to Music late last night, backing up the same results in both the FEI3* Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special.

Melissa and J’Obei won all three starts, scoring 70.891% in the CDI3* Grand Prix, 72.511% in the Special, and 76.33% in the Musical Freestyle. Wendi and Don Vito MH were second in each with 70.435% in the Grand Prix, 67.128% in the Special, and 74.825% in the Freestyle. Both combinations are members of the ESNZ High Performance Futures Squad.

New Zealand’s Melissa Galloway and Windermere J’Obei W receive the John Lieutenant Trophy from Sue Cunningham for the highest FEI level freestyle score at the Sydney CDI. Photo by Franz Venhaus

Melissa was full of praise for her horse. “It is just so overwhelming,” she said. “I am so happy with Joey (J’Obei). He is one in a million and I owe him the world for what he does for me.”
She never dared dream she would win all three crowns at an event she had so long wanted to compete at.

“It has always been a bucket list show for me. It is quite unreal to believe we won all three titles. It will probably take a little while to really sink in.”

Wendi was also over the moon. “I have had quite a few trips to Aussie over the years but this one was next level in terms of support and camaraderie,” she said. “Our team of support both here (in Sydney) and online made it seem so much more than just a personal journey.”
She was rapt to finish the event on a high in the Freestyle. “Don Vito is still fairly new to this level and the Special is a marathon of a test.”

The small improvements the combination have made since the Nationals in March were a huge boost. “It is amazing to have that next level combination (in Melissa) to chase.”

ESNZ Talent Development Squad member Madison Schollum also shone at the event with her horse Kinnordy Golda, picking up personal best scores in each of their starts and placing seventh in the FEI CDI1* Prix St Georges on 67.088%, sixth in the FEI CDI1* Intermediate on 65.147%, and went out on a high in third place in the FEI CDI1* Intermediate Freestyle with 71.005%.

Her efforts drew plenty of praise from Wendi who Madison works for and is taught by.
ESNZ dressage high performance manager Penny Pearce was very pleased with all three combinations. “They all rode amazingly and deserved their scores,” she said. “It shows we are sneaking up little by little which is exciting.”

But New Zealand still needed to focus on continually raising that bar. “The Australians are talking about bringing a team over to Takapoto which will be very exciting and another step forward for Dressage New Zealand and our riders. To enable and encourage this rivalry will really help.”

There was a lot of pressure at CDI3* level and both women had ridden well. “They got every mark they could out of their horses and I can see there is still more to come.”

Penny had debriefed with top international judge Peter Storr (GBR) who had given her plenty of positive and constructive feedback. “It is little bit by little bit (that makes the difference),” said Penny. “Both athletes are consistently performing and continuing to up their games. As the three days went on they continued to improve. It shows we are certainly going in the right direction.”

Penny also praised the efforts of Madison who had finished just behind the very experienced Brett Parbery and David McKinnon.

Don Vito MH – owned by Jon and Wendi Williamson
Windermere J’Obei W – owned by Anne and Rodney Parkes and Melissa Galloway
Kinnordy Golda – owned by Madison and Lynley Schollum


By Diana Dobson – HP Media Liaison