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Dressage & Jumping with the Stars: Day two

Pony Champion of Champions Charlie Sheen 5, ridden by Danielle Walliss - © Roger Fitzhardinge

Pony Champion of Champions Charlie Sheen 5, ridden by Danielle Walliss.

© Roger Fitzhardinge


By Roger Fitzhardinge

Dressage & Jumping with the Stars, again back at Werribee and as always a very great sponsor in P.S.I. who have supported this event for so many years and so good to see Francois Kasselmann here representing them and enjoying the ambience and warmer weather.



5YO Young Dressage Horse Round 1

The first round of the 5YO Young Dressage Horse class saw out first the Quarterback gelding Quartererland owned by Vicky Newham and ridden by Sally Rizutto. This horse started out as a 4 year old in Sydney with enormous marks, but today the judges Mary Seefried, Jane Ventura and Raphael Saleh were not so generous. A leggy chestnut with great rhythm and regularity, but needs still to move more through the body for the bigger marks.

Two very interesting horses together were NEP Bugatti by Benicia x Sandro Hit and ridden by Sara McDonald. This big horse, a striking chestnut with plenty of bling, was asked to swap places with Willingapark Emotion. Poor Sarah almost ran into the back of Brett’s horse – needless to say a very nice horse for the future, but in the class today was a little scared and lacked the degree of suppleness and engagement, as he tended to be a little open in all the paces for this class but a horse that is appealing.

Brett Parbery and the beautiful bay mare Willingapark Emotion by Equitaris X Florestan, and what a great showing with this expressive mare who really demands the eye to look and effortless in the way she covers the ground. The judges giving 8.5 for the trot and a deserved mark, as she is so sensitive and light on the ground. A 7.9 for walk, and perhaps better purpose and clearer transitions to the medium, but clear and obedient; just spoilt by a little tension. The canter was 8.2 with the judges commenting on the big ground covering steps, but what appealed the most was the degree of collection, activity and shorter steps she was able to easily manage. The submission 8.4 and perspective 8.5, and what a fine collection of marks and the quality here for the future was interesting and absolutely promising for sure. A winner at Willing Park a few weeks ago, and that two shows in two weeks there gaining experience and confidence and the mare was better here for that time. A great import and looking forward to seeing more of this horse.

A horse of interest was Camden with Jenny Bray, and this chestnut by Charmer out of a mare that Amanda Shoobridge and David imported by His Highness and bred at Revelwood Stud. Unfortunately they became very wary of the atmosphere and Jenny retired and left the arena, which was a shame as he looked very fancy, but the resistance was too much.

A horse that draws the eye for sure was Quincy B by Quarterback X Desperados, and ridden by Jayden Brown. They did great job and this very expressive and appealing chestnut has a kind and generous attitude, with a quiet and controlled disposition coupled with three good paces. The judges were critical of the horse not stretching in the long rein trot, but the ability to show uphill work that shows so much promise was very impressive. Despite clear transitions and great attitude in all of them, the judges saw a 7.9 for submission and this was a mark that could have been a little tough as all the work was so well established and through to the contact. The canter was the highlight with an 8.8; it was ground covering and great for the future, quite a horse.

The standard of the top horses is truly international and what a great competition. Valhalla, ridden by Elliot Patterson, was a horse that caught the eye as a four year old and this very leggy tall bay mare by Vitalis X Epson was impressive and uphill. The trot very fluent and free in the shoulder and so forward, and a great impressive look as she was uphill and looked so well through the bridle. Unfortunately the canter right was not as good as the canter left – that was seriously uphill and forward – and an overall mark of 7.9 for the canter. A great horse or the future here as well and so impressively and confidently ridden, making the performance look easy.
It was great to see Alexis Hellyer on Daenarys by De Niro, an appealing mare that has expansive paces and is very well trained. A little croup high in the canter work, but a very good frame and a walk that oozes a thoroughness in the body that was not so often seen. Alexis makes the most of every horse, and this is no exception – also winning the first round of the 7YO class with Doris Day yesterday.

The judges were quite tough in their comments, and always drawing attention to a lot of the problems and that is fair. However, there were some truly beautiful horses and schooling, and often a feeling of dwelling on the minor problems without drawing greater attention to the positivity of all these horse, who are at the final of the young horse competition where they have all in their own right qualified for this prestigious P.S.I. sponsored event.

The final horse was the import Yarramee Fonzie by Firestone X Polansky. This tall brown horse is has very balanced and has rhythmical paces, and again so well produced by Justine Greer and owned by Sharon McCombe. 

So first to Quincy B and Jayden Brown on 82.2%, second to Brett Parbery and Willingapark Emotion on 81%, and third to Stuart Archibald and Woodleigh Remember Me on 78.8%. Elliot and Valhalla were then in fourth on 78.6%, followed by Alexis and Daenarys in fifth on 76.8%.


Jayden Brown and Quincy B - © Roger Fitzhardinge

Jayden Brown and Quincy B.

© Roger Fitzhardinge

Champion of Champions Young Dressage Pony

The Champion of Champions Pony was won by the imported German stallion in Charlie Sheen 5 and what a great pony. He was great last year, but disappointing placings, and this year the improvement was obvious. The guest rider, Therese Nilshagen from Sweden, had a great ride and was saying he was like riding a big horse, not a pony. A very outstanding winner indeed and what a star!!!

Grand Prix CDI-W

It was the Grand Prix CDI-W class outside arenas that attracted attention, but a field of only 10. What a great win to Donna Elena and Maree Tomkinson, and four scores of seventy and over… and then one at 64%! A great total 69.652%, with Donna trying hard throughout with room for bigger marks still when she becomes stronger and more uphill and confident in her balance. Well done for a young horse at this level, and their first CDI. She turns nine in a few days and is the only horse in this field that was born in this decade! 

In second place was Luxor 118 for Kate Farrell on 67.196%. As always, this horse also tries so hard and what a good job for Kate. In third was Tacita for Fiona Selby and a 67.109%, and not quite the test we saw at Willinga Park but a very fluent test with highlights in the passage and the extended canter.

It was good to see Maree come up with such a great score as she has had a tough and harrowing time over the past weeks, losing a beautiful Negro x Diamantina young horse. Neo was a sweet horse, and lost a tough battle to colic after three surgeries. It was so sad for the connections, and a seriously sad loss. Despite adversity, Maree always looks to the future never pondering on the past. Well produced Maree.


 Donna Elena and Maree Tomkinson - © Roger Fitzhardinge

Donna Elena and Maree Tomkinson.

© Roger Fitzhardinge

4YO Young Dressage Horse Round 2

The second round of the 4YO Young Dressage Horse, and Lyon for Jayden Brown is just out of quarantine and a big ask for this gelding by Livaldon X Fiedertanz. A very forward thinking chestnut and again well shown by Jayden, but looks a little underdone for this class today. All the same, a very impressive horse who competed at the last Bundeschampionet, and a great import for Lauren George and her great team. 

It was Justine Greer who showed her expertise to take the lead from one of the first in, on Desert Sands Isle of D Bling, by Somerset D’Isle X Isle of Quest. Sonic K, by Stedinger, is a Weltmeyer gelding and has been very impressive in the lead up competitions. A nice uphill horse with an expansive walk and a very good canter that is grand covering and well balanced, but the trot lacked a degree of forwardness and expression, but along a good way. Ridden by Karen Blythe, and she sits so easily and still and Sonic simply motored around the area with ease and charm.

Karizmah Buzz Lightyear for Danielle Walliss is by Royal Classic x Jaybee Excellent. This horse looked a little tense in the arena by himself, and a few mistakes from being green and inexperienced, but all the same an athlete and expressive. The straightness and relaxation was a little lacking and this filtered a little through all the paces. Not a great stretching circle, as a consequence. A good horse all the same.

Last to go and first in the first round was Willingapark Fangio by Flanell x Laurentino. This smaller chestnut stallion was ridden by David McKinnon, and a winner in this class at the Willinga Park CDI4*. A power packed little stallion and solid in stature. The trot is strong and steady in the contact, with a still frame and topline. An impressive stretching circle to end a very popular performance, and well shown by David who does such a great job on this little power pack owned by Terry Snow. A good class, but perhaps lacking a little strength after the top few, but all the same some well-presented horses. It’s not easy, as the 4 year olds change a lot as they are not experienced at this competition and atmosphere and so with new judges the placings often swap around from one class to the next!

Unfortunately the judges gave no public comments, and then there were no individual marks to see where the horses gained marks or lost them. This is not conducive to encouraging the public to feel part of the competition. The winner was Sonic K and Karen Blythe with 78.4% then Willingapark Fangio for Terry Snow and ridden by the talented gentleman David McKinnon on 77.8% and in third place was Justine Greer and Desert Sands Isle of D Bling on 75.6%.

7YO Young Horse Round 2

The second round of the 7YO class was won by Bluefields Doris Day, a well bred mare by Desperados and from a Florencio mare, ridden by Alexis Hellyer. Of course, Alexis is well known for her amazing job riding Bluefields Floreno, who competed for Alexis at the WEG Tyron. What a great test to win on a great score of 71.129%. This mare has so developed cadence and swing since this time last year, and looks well along the right way.

In second and third was Heather Currie and two fabulous horses in Bluefields Honduras by Hofrat x Rotspon and Wunderbar Black 59 by Desperados x Grand Cavalier. The two were very well trained and with scores of 69.157% and 66.372% respectively. Heather’s horses from SA were beautifully conditioned and presented, and these two are great horses for the future. Honduras is for sure an impressive horse with an attractive outlook and great trainability and appeal; there is no question that you will see these two at Grand Prix for sure, as with Doris Day.


Alexis Hellyer and Bluefields Doris Day - © Roger Fitzhardinge

Bluefields Doris Day and Alexis Hellyer.

© Roger Fitzhardinge

6YO Young Horse Round 1

In the first round of the six year old, it was Iresias L who was in the first two for Gina Montgomery. This horse is by Johnson x Ferro. The test was mistake free, and good changes with a nice canter in an uphill way. The trot has amazing, with hind legs that get plenty of air indeed. The judges were a little tough on the frame, that was a bit tight and not in front of the leg. Very good marks and with an 8.5 for the submission and perspective, despite the comments, and for the canter that was super, an 8.0, and then an higher mark for the trot at 8.2. The second round saw Maree Tomkinson on the Totilas x Diamantina mare, Total Diva, but the judges were not so keen on this combination that showed forward, active and balanced work, but still very inexperienced having only had three comps, and showed a very solid mind and attitude in the arena. No doubt a good horse for the sport here as well.

MI Aber Sienna, ridden by Riley Alexander for Mulawa stud, is an impressive bay mare by Aber Halo x Sugarloaf Sahara x Sir Donnerhall. The mother herself was a winner at this show, and a champion herself. This mare Sienna is a very good type and a very elegant frame, with an expressive trot. The canter lacked a little freedom, but good changes though a little tight. Riley producing a very pleasing ride and the judges complimentary, in fact more so than in their comments than for Iresias L.

Sarah McDonald riding Adlanta Marcella by AEA Metallic, out of her own FEI winning mare Adlanta Rose x Rotspin, who herself won young horse championships. A very bold and impressive bay mare with a forward attitude and good changes and good purposeful walk. Sarah rode well, and the mare little tight at times but expressive and powerful. The judges were not so forth coming with marks, but some great part to this showing.

Jayden Brown rode the very impressive Bertone, by Benecio x Fiedermark Degazonni. What an impressive and uphill horse and so beautifully ridden. The judges were complimentary and a huge mark of 8.8 for the walk. The simple change lacked clarity for sure, but other than that the test was seamless. This is a beautiful imported horse and the moment he entered the arena he attracted a lot of attention and that’s what it’s all about. They go in o the lead but the class is far from over!

Hollands Bend Skyfall is a big bay by Sir Donnerhall X Ribinero, and what an amazing stature and uphill way of going, especially in the canter where he finds the work effortless. Ridden by Danielle French. He could show a little more cadence and expression in the trot, but all the same very even and easy. An 8.3 for perspective.

The black stallion Braveaux unfortunately again at this show showed no bravery at all, and on several occasions refused to go towards the C end of the arena and gave Gina some difficult times! Seriously heartbreaking, as for sure no one more into realising the problems and her attention to detail amazing, and for sure this horse is so seasoned and then in some environments but he just becomes overwhelmed and just can’t breath. A beautiful horse, and Gina will not give in.

In the last group was the stunning big leggy Furstenball x Rosario. This stallion, Furst Deluxe, was ridden by Maree Tomkinson and he got a great mark in the walk of 8.5. This stallion has so improved over the year, and much rounder and more elastic and submissive.

A win to Jayden Brown and Bertone on 82.6%, and hot on his heels was Iresias L for Gina Montgomery on 82%. Third today was Hollands Bend Skyfall on 80.8%, with Maree and Furst Deluxe in fourth on 78.8%.

A great class and tomorrow will see the top ten in the arena individual, and it will be so interesting to see these fabulous horses!


Bertone and Jayden Brown - © Roger Fitzhardinge

Bertone and Jayden Brown.

© Roger Fitzhardinge

Aachen Challenge Final

The Aachen Challenge Final saw Lewis Newton, Michaela Bray and Tayla Desmet compete for a trip to CHIO Aachen 2019! Lewis Newton was awarded best rider after the three tests, while DS Burlington Bertie was the winning horse.

Inter I Freestyle

The Inter I freestyle indoors in the evening was a great class, but the younger horse were all a bit excited in the atmosphere with plenty of merriment in the wings from the winners and the losers. The winner tonight was Brett Parbery and the ever expressive Sky Diamond, who managed to keep a lid on it despite trying his best to get around the pirouettes before Brett. This is a horse with loads of impulsion and pizzazz and to rousing music with clear choreography; it was a pleasure to watch. Brett as always owning the arena and an absolute champion, and nothing like tough competition to get the best out of him and as a consequence he was the overall Prix St Georges Cup (sponsored by Complete Supply Co, John and Kylie).

In second place in the freestyle was Aristede and Lindsey Ware, and what a Great performance when you think that she has only been riding this horse for about 4 months, as he was a short listed Grand Prix horse for WEG with Shannan Goodwin before being bought for Lindsey. Didn't they get out there and strut their stuff… you may criticise that they could be more uphill, but the carefree and determined attitude and empathy between the horse and rider was obvious. Aristede is only too happy to do his best and Lindsay encouraging him in every movement… it’s a match for sure and a great and popular second place.

In third place was for Jayden Brown and this fantastic horse, owned by Lauren George, was a little tense in the atmosphere and has done a lot in the last few months and made a few mistakes - especially in the half pass trot and in the pirouettes where he took over and was not so sitting and balanced. But he is a young and green horse really at this level, despite all his success he lacks experience and in this class a few mistakes was the difference between third and first… but the result was not unanimous and he was actually still first with two judges! It was a good performance and truly a quality horse and so well ridden.

In fourth place was another Grand Prix WEG shortlisted horse that has come back down the levels in Diamond Star, owned by Vicky Newham and ridden by Sally Rizutto, and what a great test here. Diamond Star too showing his confidence and Sally enjoying the experience, and they both looked so at ease and the work looked so easy. What a way forward for the younger riders and what a way to set them up for the future!!

It was a great evening and as could be seen a lot of celebratory drinks for all and despite the stands not being so full, it was a fabulous competition and again well done to Brett and Terry Snow who owns Sky Diamond.






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