Billed to be the highlight of the Ashburton Area ESNZ 1 * Jumping and Show Hunter Show on Sunday, the Country TV Pony Grand Prix did not disappoint with local riders Jamiee Bird and Lucinda Askin battling it out for top honors.
Sixteen combinations started, many having their first start at this level. There were just four clears in the first round over the challenging Lex Peddie-designed course – Askin with her two rides Totem and Dusky Brew, newcomer Grace Manera on Tallyho Neptune, and fellow local Jamiee Bird on Showtym Image.
Just 11 combinations returned for the second round. Having picked up four faults in the first round both Lucy Turner on Tallyho Mystic and Molly Buist-Brown on Miss Mae West took the shortest routes, jumping clear and fast, to put the pressure on the leaders.
Askin was the first of the clears from the first round to jump in the second aboard Totem, posting another solid performance, clear in 43.34 seconds. Manera took an early rail to drop her to fourth. Askin posted her second double clear on the inexperienced Dusky Brew to finish third, leaving it all up to Bird, who shaved seconds off the time to finish clear in 39.32 seconds, securing the first points of 2014.
The Horse 1* Grand Prix was reduced to just the six starters, with Tegan Fitzsimon and Dual Diamond scoring another exciting win with a double clear. Mosgiel visitor Claudia Hay on Euro Sport Centavos had to settle for second with Carrissa McGregor third on Chatterton.
Local rider Zoe Shore made an impressive start to the business end of the season winning both the Mitavite Six Year Old and Caledonian Amateur Rider Series aboard Burberry, while Jessica Sonne won the KiwiSpan Junior Rider with Mimoa. And in the Telford Young Rider the honours belonged to Olivia Roberton on Ngahiwi Cisco.
Ashburton kicked off the 2014 showjumping action, building up to the NZ National Championships in Christchurch at the start of February and ultimately the Horse of the Year Show in Hastings in March.
Horse 1* Grand Prix: Tegan Fitzsimon (West Melton) Dual Diamond 1, Claudia Hay (Mosgiel) Euro Sport Centavos 2, Carissa McGregor (Christchurch) Chatterton 3.
South Canterbury Saddlery 1.30 Horse Championship: Nicole White (Invercargill) Flashback 1, Jenna Walls (West Melton) Baltamour 2, Tegan Fitzsimon (West Melton) Alacazam MH 3, Rose Alfeld (Weedons) Capprera 4, Kate Cavanagh (West Melton) Vermont 5, Angela Lissington (Amberley) Donala Dundee 6.
Country TV Pony Grand Prix Series: Jamiee Bird (Rakaia) Showtym Image 1, Lucinda Askin (Ashburton) Totem 2, Lucinda Askin (Ashburton) Dusky Brew 3, Molly Buist-Brown (Templeton) Miss Mae West 4, Lucy Turner (Broadfields) Tallyho Mystic 5, Grace Manera (West Melton) Tallyho Neptune 6.
Telford Young Rider Series: Olivia Robertson (Ohoka) Ngahiwi Cisco 1, Rose Alfeld (Weedons) My Super Nova 2, Nicole White (Invercargill) Cricklewood Ace 3, Rose Alfeld (Weedons) Capprera 4, Kayla James (Christchurch) Berry Desayo 5, Emma Pilcher (Blenheim) Snazzy As 6.
Caledonian Amateur Rider Series: Zoe Shore (Ashburton) Burberry 1, Melanie Morris (Loburn) Malluka 2, Nick Baddeley (West Melton) Vortiel 3, Carrie Findlay (Rangiora) Grazando 4, Amy Peddie (North Canterbury) The Sequel 5, Zoe Shore (Ashburton) Boulevard II 6.
KiwiSpan Junior Rider: Jessica Sonne (Christchurch) Mimoa 1, Georgia Urquhart (Fairlie) Quickstep NZPH 2, Harry Feast (Weedons) Double J Butler 3, Courtney Thompson (Hokitika) Springair What Next 4, Madeline Tapley (Banks Peninsula) Ngahiwi Call Girl 5, Lucinda Askin (Ashburton) CH Amazon 6.
Outpost Buildings Seven Year Old Series: Brad Cunningham (Christchurch) Kiwi Crusher 1, Olivia Robertson (Ohoka) DHS Ceniki 2, Tegan Fitzsimon (West Melton) Henton Eragon 3, Andrew Ward-Smith (Timaru) Far South 4.
Mitavite Munga Six Year Old Series: Zoe Shore (Ashburton) Burberry 1, Chris Harris (Alyesbury) Zilco Glenbrook Archie Bunker 1.
Canterbury Equestrian Five Year Old Series: Harry Feast (Weedons) Double J Bouncer 1.