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What a great start to the Saddleworld Australian Dressage Championships

  Brett Parbery and Good As Gold not actually good as gold today but great parts but tension got in the way for better mark  
© Roger Fitzhardinge

What a great start to the Saddleworld Australian Dressage Championships. The weather was hot like the competition and especially in the cool indoor where some amazing tests were closely contested in the Equestrian NSW Prix St George and it was eventually a win by a mere 0.5%  to Rodney Martin on SPH Sonata Hit with a great 70.26%  ( 3 1 2 4 2 ) from Diamond Star and Judy Dierks 69.79% ( 1 9 3 1 1 ), Third to Stedinger  and Gina Montgommery ( 2 4 1 3 6 )

Judy Dierks second in the PSG and Diamond Star

These three horses were all up in front and expressive horses and with no real mistakes. There were plenty of good ones lurking just behind to gain a few places with any minor mistakes so the pressure was really on.  There is still room for improvement with all these three, when their degree of self carriage improves and as a consequence a freer and more supple horse will ensue. It’s a case of riding for the marks,,,,,, expression, or the suppleness with less power, and it seems as though the expression is a winner here. It was a very keenly contested class and with horses like Furst Tyme from Queensland well down the list after coming in to this competition with huge scores. Poor Nicole Tough had a torrid Time! The mare pricked her ears and was sure there were goblins in the arena surrounds and as for the wonderful flowers on the markers they were simply horse eaters and the mare simply had the handbrake on and Nicole had little if any, at times, adjustability and plenty of mistakes. It was a shame but that’s dressage and despite a disaster she still managed ( 9 19 21 34 25 !!! ) 63.9%  and 21st. when the gremlins leave the arena this mare should blitz the field if these marks are a reflection of the test. Bellario for Deon Stokes from WA was fourth and this stallion can in to this competition with an average of well over 70% so a 68.5% is behind what Deon would have wanted.

 Deon Stokes and Bellario in the warm up. Last to go and in to 4th!

Georgina Foot showed her Stallion Bellaire Cannavaro well to be equal 5th with the smart and enthusiastic brown mare Diva Royale for Holly Cutler. This mare made a few mistakes and will be one to look for in the coming tests. Queensland for NSW (J ) ridden by Emma Youngman formally from Vic handed in a wonderful performance to be  7th on 66.95%. This chestnut mare by Quando Quando looks well and truly established and look out Grand Prix this is a super mare and another to watch.

Queensland and even Emma gets time to smile at the effortless way she can make changes

The list goes on of super horses with some good percentages but minor mistakes and it was down the list you go. Don Diego DC for Tracy Smith from New Zealand handed in a good showing to be 8th on 66.92%.

One to also take the eye and wonderfully ridden was Millfield Dominique. The bold chestnut mare perhaps could have shown a more impulsive and expressive package  but Glenda rode a wonderfully adjustable test showing great transitions and suppleness equally to both sides with calm and beautiful balance in every corner and in great preparation and adjustable endings. It was a pleasure to watch but unfortunately not for all the judges as (22 20 7 10 10 and 62% to 66.6%.

It was a group of 34 horses that you could sit and watch each one with out any effort. The group was the best ever PSG at a nationalks and a credit to Dressage in Australia and so many are about to hit the big tour ranks and that’s exciting and so positive for the sport. This is the class where champions evolve.

Winner in Regardez Moi and Heath Ryan

The Inter II held outdoors and also sponsored by equestrian NSW was one by none other than Heath Ryan and Regardez Moi and a very well deserved win to score 67.37% ( 7! 1 1 1 2) Heath rode a finely established and easy test and pipped the up and coming mare Donna Bonita for Tor Van Den Berg on 66.29%.thsi mare has a real highlight in the tempi changes!  in 3rd was Utopian Cardinal for Heath again and then the well presented Wacca W for Alexis Hellyer. Vom Feinsten for Julie Brougham was next and this pretty headed chestnut showed promise but tended to get hollow and not be over the back enough at times and as a consequence lacked a thoroughness that allowed the collection and expansion of the paces. Perhaps a little cautiously ridden and the foot not really on the gas here. The judges certainly were and eclectic group with one from Hungary and one from Tasmania.

The national Championships are off to a fine start and with the Advanced class on Friday that will be another serious competition with some real quality horses. Also the Inter I then the Inter B and the Grand Prix.

Its all happening and looking positive with good percentages yesterday and with another hot day today lets hope the tests follow in the same way.

The trot up saw all the horses pass the fitness inspection and what a  good looking and well presented group of horses.

Bring it ON.

Click here for photos.

By Roger Fitzhardinge.

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