Melbourne International 3DE Win,Win!
Kelvin Grove Equestrian supported our broadcast of the best MI3DE for many reasons, 10 of them would be the weather! The many other reasons for enjoying MI3DE would be the vibe created by the organising committee. Melbourne 3 day is one of those events that every Victorian eventer and their families write into their calendar as a must do, either to compete, to spectate or volunteer.
Our broadcast kicked off on Thursday afternoon, with Lindsey Constable and myself covering the first horse inspection, AKA the trot up. After a sparkling winter morning, we positioned ourselves at the end of the two runways, CCI 1 star and the Juniors closest to the indoor. The CCI 2 star runway was adjacent to them, with the Young Rider Teams in their uniforms, looking very fancy, certainly a proud moment for all. Following the 2 star, were the CCI 3 star and the respective senior Oceanic Team members. Not an easy task to closely watch the 2 runways simultaneously, a bit like a tennis match!
A couple of feisty horses and 1 very notable wardrobe change were really the only things that caught our attention. There was of course the “why did I wear these shoes” moments, interestingly, mostly on the 3 star side of track. Sadly, or gladly, no really short skirts got the wind under them until the weather went from sparkling to dreary, wet, windy and other terms exclusively used at Werribee. Our exposed commentary position meant we became like shags on a rock and even Lindsey, hardened to the cold of the southern extremes of winter ran for cover. She did start the broadcast in a t-shirt, ultimate optimism there!
Friday morning dressage and the most entertaining thing to watch to kick off the morning, was the huge swag of helpers bailing out the competition arenas with buckets and shovels, so the competition that should have got underway at 8.30 was started 30mins late due to this task. Lindsey was back and joining us in the commentary position was Jo Brady. Jo being nearly a local came rugged up ready for an Antarctic trek with Jock her little dog in similar attire.
CCI 1 star got underway and it was the second competitor into the arena that got everyone excited for dressage, I’m not sure if that is a thing, but it did happen! The big grey fella Grandjany with Adele (can you sing too?) De Krester in the saddle setting the bar high for the first 20 or so horses. After 2 days of square dancing only 2 New South Welshman into the top 10, Grace Kay with Celerity Park Faberge and Rachel Lee riding French Evening of the 71 horses in the field. Notable performances for Willtony Garnet, a really cute Andalusian cross, Precious Dreams ridden by Del Ogilvy, holding up the “never discount an ol’e girl” flag and Parkiarrup Peregrine our Western Aussie chick with obviously a wardrobe assistant for trot up.
The CCI 2 star commenced, with the Young Rider team representatives from New Zealand followed by the Aussies and it was Abagail Long with her horse Enzo leading us off. The Aussie team threw down the gauntlet early taking the lead after the first day of competition. Another grey that really stirred both Lindsey and Jo up was the stunning DVZ Chevalier ridden by Emma King. This horse really looked like an international star, fabulous paces and performing an accurate flowing test. Resurrection of the day went to Murray Lamperd, spotted off in the distance of the warm up arena doing something only to be described as trick riding on Chocoholic then proceeding up to the competition arena on a wing and a prayer, and bugger me the little horse did a super test to slide into 7th place after the first day! Andrew Barnett rode Bradgate Park Fonzie positively to take the lead and the final competitor, Gemma Tinney doing her own style of preparation for the test, taking the 3rd spot in the leader board.
Day 2 of dressage, another crisp fine winter’s day and in arena 2 the rest of the CCI 1 star, followed by the Junior 1 star was moving along but it was all eyes on ring 1 where the big guns from across the ditch were about to do battle with our Aussie team. The Kiwi’s held a strong grip of the lead from early in the day with only Clifford and Hazel into the top 10 for the Aussies. Through the day the Sit Tight commentary team nearly took flight when Kiwi rider, Andy Daines for some unknown reason, just about leapt off Spring Panorama in the final halt, with what can only be described as a star jump! His horse got a huge fright whilst Andy had both arms above his head, I’m not sure if he’s practiced that manoeuvre, I reckon he surprised everyone, including the mare!
Cross country day dawned bright and chilly, you could nearly say perfect, yep ya right, there’s always that little hump in the road to keep us guessing/entertained/frustrated. Off we went, the 1 star got underway and we had a little “issue” with a strange man with steel wool hair and a spittle problem, which poor Jo Brady and Lindsey really just wanted to be anywhere but near said man’s speakers or Werribee for that matter!
Moving on, we got on a roll as did the CCI 1 star, all 70 or so of them! From our spot at the edge of the old show jumping/dressage warm up area we were up close and personal from fence 3 till fence 7A & B, a fair bit of “organic” riding keeping us on our toes, mostly at fence 4A & B, which was the first combination in the track, 2 fairly simple roll top jumps set on a turn, 4 strides with a gentle curve between but of course we saw plenty of variables, including one of our favourites Jane Wilcox riding her big young fella Quantico who saw a bit of an each-way bet between the A & the B and big “Ted” saw the bunting as the better choice and leapt onto the hallowed turf of the polo field! Similar varied styles of stride choices between 7A, a log drop then travel on a curve to a formidable brush apex as B. We saw as few as 5 strides and all the way up to 8 strides between the elements! Lindsey headed out on course and informed us that 2 and a half strides between 12A & B seemed to be the preferred option, never a dull moment!
The 1 star always seem to draw the short straw as their course had 3 water jumps, the second of these situated in the Rose Garden area where the history books are adorned with many many graphic pics of saturated jockeys due to slightly wandering off the very narrow path through the LAKE! Our man Joel Funnel and the very lovely Airbrushed, who was very fancied by many of our tipsters, did the slight deviation and into the murky duck excrement filled waters they went. Getting down to the final few horses and Grace Kay with Celerity Park Faberge set off with the gold spandex print pants. It’s great to see this young lady handle the big imposing chestnut gelding like a pro and post a clear jumping and time to hang on to the lead.
The middle of the day and every equestrian in Victoria was in attendance, mums with babies in prams, both wearing jodphurs, dogs wearing the latest fashion, all lashing out big bucks at the gate to witness cross country at Werribee. The CCI 2 star including the Young Rider team challenge handled the track very well with only a couple of riders glancing off here and there and picking up 20 penalties. The high percentage of clear rounds with great riding making for an exciting future for Australian eventing.
The Kiwi’s maintained their tight grip of the leaderboard for the 3 star, the stand out rounds came from the big mare Tasman Park Ovation ridden by Andrew Cooper, the fairly flying award went to Megan (MJET) Jones on the mare Kirby Park Impress and a little further down the ladder but still a great display of “good things come in small packages” Mousetang with James Lang in the saddle. The Aussie team took a hit when Hazel parted company from the ever-reliable Clifford over at fence 6, a very testing combination and our hearts sank for Hazel. There were a couple of holds over the course, one when Glenwood Park Cooper Street either looked past the skinny brush out of the final water jump or did something very uncoordinated and poor Emily Anker and horse had a big ker splat. Em put the wind up everyone but tough as army boots was seen mentoring her tribe the next day walking (looked a lot more like limping) the show jumping track. Another hold whilst Hazel and Clifford were given the all clear would directly impact the very impressive Halcyon’s Dark Secret, held on approach to fence 6 for what seemed an eternity. Rob got her running again but realised the big mare felt not quite right and pulled over a few fences later. By that time the sun was setting and K Road was soon to become a carpark for the next couple of hours as spectators packed up their kids and dogs and headed home.
Show jumping on Monday morning gets started while the trot up, that started at 8am, is still taking place, so Sit Tight took up our commentary position for the Junior 1 star show jumping. Nina Clarke, 3 star competitor form Victoria, Lesley Brodbeck and myself took the reins for the morning, the show jumping takes place on the grass area in front of the old secretary’s office, surrounded by the VIP Marque on the eastern side and grandstand situated on the carpark side and a scattering of beautiful gum trees in the arena. Very picturesque but the lush grass, shadows and a huge atmosphere makes for interesting jumping early in the morning. There were 5 clear rounds from the Junior 1 star field of 17 horses, which is par for the course, most of the 4 faulters were well ridden rounds over a tough track. Some very stylish riding from the juniors including Jaimie McElroy on HH Hawke, a NSW rider that Sit Tight has been following throughout this season. Great to see Jaimie finish on her dressage score, rising up from 9th to 4th placing. Sadly, for the over-night leader Nicola Payne riding QWilliam had 2 rails down due to a hefty attack of the show jumping jitters, slipped back to 3rd. The lovely grey Devereaux Top Up ridden by Madison Gielen made the trip across the Nullabor very worthwhile, finishing on her dressage score to take the title.
62 started in the CCI 1 star show jumping, the top ten placings were certainly shuffled around with very few clears. Emma Mason riding the very impressive chestnut mare Aramatai Fox rose from 22nd up to 8th, as Nina pointed out possibly suffering from being very early in the draw for dressage, 3rd into the ring on Friday, placing them in 36th, one to watch for sure and winning our ladder climber award for the event. Down to the final competitor into the ring, Grace Kay and Celerity Park Faberge, she rode well, she looked fabulous, we love this horse what more can you say but congratulations Grace!
Judy Fasher had her first experience of Sit Tight Radio, taking up the microphone for the CCI 2 star show jumping. Few and far between for clear rounds in fact, 28 horses took on the track and it wasn’t till another favourite Matavia Cheval and Callum (dreadlock) Buczak cantered into the arena in 20th we hadn’t seen a clear round, rising up the placings from 32nd up to 13th. Our Aussie Young Rider team smashed it out of the park, all 4 riders clear and under time cross country and only Shanae and Venture Sky High adding 4 penalties from the show jumping to their dressage score! In fact 3 of our Aussie Young riders held down 2nd, 4th and 5th positions, which proved invincible. Andrew Barnett rode a superb clear round on Bradgate Park Fonzie to win. The happy camper award went to Amanda Ross, with her mare Koko Popping Candy, “The Black Bat” a great partnership being formed. Another one to watch.
With the Aussie Senior Team in tatters, bad news quickly spread that Evergem Perfection had been withdrawn after passing the trot up earlier in the morning. The Oceanic Team results were reversed the Kiwis flogged us! They took out 1st, 2nd and 4th in the top 5 placings! It was a pleasure to watch Jock Paget back on Aussie turf ride and win the top honours on Angus Blue, we give him the “Keith Urban Award” as we reckon he’s one of ours but actually, sadly a Kiwi!
The sun set upon the show jumping arena, the national anthems had been sung, K road became the carpark again and that was Melbourne International for another year. We hit the road chocka block and looking for the pillow, like we’d done yum cha brekkie and stayed till dinner! Thanks again to Kelvin Grove Equestrian, Mario and Anne Kuna, click this link for their website. If you need the best saddle available for any discipline contact Mario.
The next broadcast will be Quirindi 3DE 7th to 9th July, hope you’re listening!
A beautiful Dyon Dressage bridle available from Kelvin Grove Equestrian.