The hopes that the New Zealand Young Rider team had of retaining their Oceania Championships title (previously known as the Trans-Tasman) were dashed early on Monday morning in Melbourne at the final horse inspection.
While Jessica Woods and Defies Logic passed, both Kaipara Dior (Bonnie Farrant) and Brogan (Maddy Crowe) were put in the hold box. On re-presenting, only Brogan was approved to continue to the show jumping. That meant that only two New Zealand combinations were through to the showjumping, not enough to furnish a team score.
West Australian rider Gabrielle Pither and Max Almighty led from start to finish after scoring of 46.11 in Friday’s dressage phase to win the CCI2* class, and lead the Australians to victory.
Victorian rider Wilhelm Enzinger was second on Wenlock Aquifer and Teegan Ashby, also a member of the Young Rider team, was third on Rockingham No Reason. The top three placings remained unchanged throughout the three phases.
Pither and Ashby joined fellow CCI2* Young Rider competitors Michaela Martindale (Kinnordy Gatow) and Jaimie Stichel (Image Blue Ice) in the Australian team.
The show jumping in the class was influential with only 10 clear jumping rounds out of the 34 who started this phase. Both Maddy and Jessica had 8 faults each. The three leaders all jumped clear, as did all the members of the Australian Young Rider team.
Gabrielle Pither on Max Almighty, deserved every bit of her win as they put in a beautiful round and finished on their dressage scores. The best placed New Zealand rider was Jessica Woods in 12th, and Maddy Crowe finished in 21st place.
The Australian Young Rider team was impressive. Only Jaimie Stichel did not finish on her dressage score, but could be forgiven as she only had 0.8 of a cross country timefault, and ended up in 10th place. Teegan Ashby was third on Rockingham No Reason.
While it was a disappointing result for the Kiwis, the experience they have gained will be invaluable.
Images below © Jane Thompson
Final Results CCI** Melbourne International Horse Trials:
1st. Gabrielle Pither & Max Almighty, 46.11
2nd. William Enzinger, Wenlock Aquifer, 46.89
3rd. Teegan Ashby, Rockingham No Reason, 47.04
12th Jessica Woods, Defies Logic, 61.33
21st Maddy Crowe, Brogan, 70.04