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Roger Fitzhardinge reports from Day 4 at the Boneo Classic

Another super day at the Boneo Classic supported this year by NAB and what great competition. The Riders Shoppe Inter I saw a very classy field and after the outdoor PSG  where the general feeling that the class was so strong yet the marks not so high as everyone was out there to strut there stuff to the maximum and as a consequence they were making mistakes and not paying attention to the intricacies of the test and mistakes are very costly. You cannot win without a clean test! The first one to do just that was the consummate competitor Denise Rogan and the home bred gelding Virtuel I by Rituel out of a Valuta mother. Denise has brought this horse through the ranks with great success and her consistent and balanced riding made for a test that was consistent from start to finish. It was a very well ridden test still with room for more energy and uphill attitude but it is easy to see that it will come and now is simply about strengthening and carrying capacity. Denise was as happy as punch no matter the outcome and a 67.74 put her in the lead for nearly the entire class.  David Shoobridge had a 67.52 with the imported and scores here were from a 70 to a 62.7. There were many points too look at this impressive moving horse. Some moments of lack of balance and a at times a little strong against the bridle gives the judges a chance to focus on differing aspect of this impressive horse.  With the scores it can be understood that the look from the from and the side could easily give variance but all the same David very happy with this horse that continues to gain confidence and balance it was Georgina Foot and the stallion Bellair Carnavaro who put together a very impressive test and with clean lines. Perhaps a little for flexion in the corners and in the lateral work but a very nice uphill frame for this consistent and well-balanced combination for a score of 68.026.

In third pace on 67.52 was Letizia for Georgia Haythorpe and this flamboyant mare keeping it together in their home arena but again the lack of suppleness especially in the corners of with there are four every time you go around the school was apparent and on both sides. The marks for the movements themselves must be great and for sure there is more marks in this mare with truly great paces. Georgia looking absolutely at home with this test. Brett Parbery and the very tall PPH Zellelin with a 67.03 show some truly fabulous trot work that is so uphill and as always Brett sitting there as if he is molded in to him. He is often a little trying to get too forward but the trot has all the international quality for big marks and he was in a better balance than ever.  In the canter work he became a little against the bridle and in the changes he just lacks the strength and balance to show a consistency as yet. Some hood changes and some tight ones and a loss of a few marks.  It is simply this lack of consistency in the his shape and balance where marks are lost but with Brett taking his time with this horse we will see a good grand Prix horse as the piaffe and passage are quite something but all the same a good placing to be fifth.

This class was strong indeed when you see that fro second to fifth the was only 0,5% separating them. It is all good fro the future of dressage and the up and coming horses for the grand Prix ranks.

In the Grand Prix Freestyle sponsored by Horseland it was fierce competition indeed. It was The final of The world cup qualifiers and the winner of this class earns the right to represent the Pacific leave at Las Vagas in a few months time. Mary Hanna was out to hold her grand Prix win and Heath was going-to make sure that wasn't to happen as was Maree who was going to  prove her mares worth not to forget Brett Parbery and his student Kate Farrell and Luxor who made minor mistakes in ten GP that were costly.  Sue Hearn and the popular Remmington young and on the improve at every test.

It was a simply fantastic competition and the crowd enthusiastic. It was probably the best scored Grand Prix Freestyle that Australia has hosted.

It was Mary Hanna and the imported Umbro who won overall by a whisker, 71.6 was a great score and a mistake in the changes and a kick out at the spur brought a gasp from the crowd and a wonder if a mistake was going to loose her the class.   Not to be but Heath was out to see him win this class again and win he nearly did it was a great performance and he too made a mistake before the final extended trot when Regardez Moi was quite excited about it all and became a little hot and bounced acrossed the short side in preparation and yes in to second with a 71.2 simply 0.4% behind. Kate Farrel simply oozed presence with a wry smile of total pride in her horse the imported Londonderry gelding Luxor 118. iI was a delight to behold as this young rider danced her way through a mistake free performance to music specially produced for them. It was a special performance and a score of 70.65 was fantastic. Lief Tornblad having them in first place and could be easily understood. It was close judging and don't be surprised to see these guys making there way to the top. It's wonderful. Maree would have been a little disappointed with her score and Diamantina to be fourth with a score of 69.8. All the same two scores over seventy but this night the piaffe was a little modest and big marks here in this test. The changes so uphill and expressive and for sure the balance and the frame as good as has been seen from this combination.  Sue Hearn and Remmington next and a good job for this inexperienced horse so well ridden by Sue and then a great test for Brett Parbery and the Weltmeyer  gelding DP Weltmeiser. The scores were all outstanding and positive and above all so close. Tango and Caro Wagner in seventh.  

It was truly a fantastic competition and when you realise that the lowest score was 67.2 it was even more wonderful. The standard and the production that was evident in all these freestyle tests show that the keen competition and the enthusiasm is pulling the sport higher and higher. It's exciting and exhilaration to realize the rise in the standard within Australia over the last few years and with the strong fields in the lower levels only is more exciting. 

By Roger Fitzhardinge  

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