Tuesday, 20 January 2009
The month got off to a successful start when Argentille Germaine and I travelled to compete in the picturesque showgrounds at Tweed Valley (in the shadow of Mount Warning) for their regional championships. We contested both the medium and the advanced tests and either won or placed in all four. She received her best score ever in medium of 68% and some really lovely comments on her test and she won both medium and advanced championships.
Two weeks later she followed this up with some lovely tests in Toowoomba at our FEI August competition receiving 61.94% in the medium and 63.5% in the advanced. However although she would have placed in both these tests we had decided to compete her HC. Elite River Run also finally got to compete that weekend after recovery from his niggling hoof injury. He did a creditable novice test to place 6th with 63% and a better elementary test for 63.3% placing 8th.
This month was a quiet one for me competition wise but very successful in my role as a coach. Two of my long term students, Leith Tyrer (the Glennie School) and Katrin Haddon (Fairholme College) contested the QISEA State Championships at Maryborough. Both performed well in their dressage classes (novice level) and Katrin also won her division of the secondary showman class. I have coached both girls since they were 13 years old and now they are finishing their final year in high school and it is great to see the success they have enjoyed over the years in the QISEA movement.
I competed with Elite River Run at the Sunshine Coast Regional Dressage Championships in Nambour over the weekend of the 27th and 28th September. As always this was a very big competition with the best horses in the State using it as a warm up for the State Championships two weeks later. I had decided not to take Germaine to this event as she never enjoys the crowded stabling and warm up conditions there. River Run being far more stoic copes with the stress of these competition conditions much better. He went very well in all 4 tests he competed in although he had some trouble handling the grass surface on which the novice tests were conducted. He placed 6th and 10th in his novice tests and 8th and 11th in the elementary.
I also judged the elementary and medium freestyles at this event which is always interesting and enjoyable to do.
I was pleased to be asked to judge at the QISEA National Championships in Toowoomba. This is the first time this event has been held and riders came from all over Australia to compete.
I was thrilled that my student Katrin Haddon, who had been chosen as part of the Queensland team, was very successful in the showman classes where she was named reserve champion on her lovely horse Unicorn Park Revenge. This is the first student I have coached to success at this level so I am very proud of their results.
I chose to only take Germaine to the Queensland State Dressage Championships at Caboolture as I had entered River Run for the National Dressage Championships. She had a good show in what can only be described as appalling conditions. On the Friday the 10th October she completed an advanced test in pouring rain. It was very obedient but did not score all that well due to the conditions which required me to ride a safe and steady test. This is probably the worst weather I have ever had to ride a test in.
That evening she did her medium freestyle in the indoor at Caboolture (thank goodness as it was still drizzling rain) and received a great score of 69.5% and placed 2nd (one judge had her 1st).
She did a good job in both her medium tests on Saturday and Sunday and placed 6th on the Sunday in the 4.4 with 63%. Given that this class included 2 horses who have just been named as medium champion and reserve champion at the Nationals I thought this was a very good result and testament to the strength of dressage in Queensland!
I made the decision to scratch her from the advanced on the Sunday as the arena conditions had become so poor that I was concerned about her safety.
On the 24th-26th October we were off to the National Dressage Championships in Sydney with Elite River Run. It is always a thrill to compete at Horsley Park as it is a fantastic venue. Everyone commented how the quality of horses is getting better and better at this event with many high quality imported horses as well as some very flash locally bred horses. The class sizes were enormous.Thirty-five horses in both novice classes I contested together with a reserve list of 17 horses. So just to get a ride was an achievement in itself as obviously one has to qualify for this event.
The team of riders from Queensland was very well supported by Dressage Queensland who provided a travel subsidy, DQ cap and representative shirt. The chef d'equipe also was on the ground supporting riders on the day of their rides. I had two good rides on River Run but was unlucky in the draw for the first and better ride being first on in the class. One judge would have had me in the placings in this test but unfortunately the other two judges did not agree so I ended up mid field (21st). The second test was very obedient but lacked a bit of sparkle and again he place mid field (22nd). I was very happy with his performance in a tough field and he was really the ultimate comeptition horse to travel with as he ate and drank well and settled in to his surroundings in Sydney beautifully. He really enjoyed the Easiresult feed which I took with me to add to his Easiresponse pellets.
Finally I want to mention that one of the first products of our breeding program, Elite Abracadabra, whom we sold two years ago to talented young Queensland dressage rider Brent Eastwell is starting to make his mark in the competition arena. He recently won preliminary champion at a local dressage club day and has just (on the 2nd November) won his first official preliminary test in Toowoomba. This will hopefully be the start of a number of our young horses coming on in the dressage competition arena.