NZL-Clarke Johnstone rides Menlo Park. File Photo. Copyright Photo: Libby Law Photography

Rio Olympian Clarke Johnstone has had a cracker weekend at the Lignieres International Horse Trials in France, with a win in the CCI3*-L on his new horse De Pleasure and placing third and fourth in the CCI4*-S. “It was almost a dream finish but not quite,” said Clarke.

He was rapt to have Aces High back out competing after a challenging run of late, and very pleased with their third place effort in the 4*-S. The combination finished on 31.7 penalty points, with Menlo Park right behind on 31.8. The horses were one and two after the dressage with solid scores.

But the event wasn’t without it’s challenges. “The only down side to an absolute brilliant week was that we got held at the second to last fence (with Menlo Park) and I am sure they now have my time wrong,” he said. “It is frustrating but otherwise we have had a wonderful week.” However, his test with Menlo Park was the best-ever and Clarke says the horse continues to improve. “He is feeling very grown up and cool, so that is so exciting.”

Aces High led the dressage on 26.5, added 4 faults and 0.8 time in the showjumping and .4 time in the cross country for a final tally of 31.7. Menlo Park scored 27 in the dressage, added nothing in the showjumping and 4.8 time in the cross country for a final score of 31.8.
Clarke has been working hard at his dressage and it’s a good feeling to see the scores coming down.

“I’ve had a very solid year with Menlo Park. He knows what his job is and is firing.” Clarke is so pleased too, to have Aces High back in the competition arena. “It is lovely to have him back and feeling fit and well and enjoying his job.” He had hoped to start the horse in a 4*-L but felt they were just a run short so will now head to Poland in a couple of weeks.

Tayla Mason and Joopiter placed ninth on 39.6. They scored 34 in the dressage, were clear in the showjumping and added 5.6 time in the cross country.

De Pleasure has only been with Clarke a month and while he thought he may have been pushing the boundaries in the horse’s first ever 3*-L, he needn’t have worried. “He was just brilliant and exceeded expectations by miles. He is really lovely!”

The horse led from the get-go with a 26.7 penalty point dressage effort and added nothing for the cross country or showjumping tests. Clarke was also eighth aboard Domasco on 32.2, with Jonelle Price and Full Monty de Ladense 11th.

Meanwhile at the Osberton International Horse Trials in the United Kingdom, Andrew Nicholson and Fenizio placed fourth in the CCI3*-L, finishing on a score of 34.3 penalty points. Abigail Long and Henton Audacious placed fifth on 35.1, with Andrew seventh with Filipo on 37.5.

The class was won by Emily King and Jackpot on a score of 25, with Kitty King aboard Cristal Fontaine second on 25.2. Dan Jocelyn and Greannanstown Atomic were third in the CCI2*-L on 30.1. The class was won by Piggy March (GBR) and Brookfield William on 27.5.

Click here for results from Lignieres
Click here for results from Osberton

DE Pleasure (Hanoverian By Diacontinus out of For You) – owned by Rob & Jean Johnstone
Aces High (TB by Another Warrior out of My Fairytale) – owned by Rob & Jean Johnstone & Clarke Johnstone
Menlo Park (SHGB by Berlin out of Faerie Queen) – owned by Rob & Jean Johnstone & Clarke Johnstone
Joopiter – owned by Sonya Mason, Therese Miller, Katherine Corich, Tayla Mason
Fenizio (CDE by Meneusekal out of Magic Moment) – owned by Andrew & Wiggy Nicholson
Filipo (CDE by Meneusekal out of Banana) – owned by Andrew & Wiggy Nicholson
Henton Audacious (NZ Hanoverian by Anamour out of Distancia) – owned by Abigail Long
Greannanstown Atomic – Owned by Atomic Syndicate & Dan Jocelyn

By Diana Dobson – HP Media Liaison
Photos by Libby Law/ESNZ