All the stars were shining at Equestriad!
Of the 18 horse and rider combinations announced as team hopefuls for the Oceanic Teams Challenge 12 of the senior team and 1 young rider were out in force.
Saturday morning our broadcast kicked off for the CCI 4* dressage, I was accompanied by Merran Wallace. Merran is a long-time friend, who, a few years back competed on the International eventing scene in the UK with many great successes, including 2nd at the amazing Burghley 5* on her horse Gershwin. We watched the star studded field, including Willinga Park Clifford making his final Aussie appearance before jetting off to USA for Kentucky CCI 5* in May. Our stand-out performances, possibly all the Taupo hopefuls but definitely worth mentioning Jade Findlay and her mare Oaks Cordelia, Jess Rae and Rascal and the young man from Queensland Matt Gaske riding Thymes Two. The field of 22 horses commenced at 11 am, the weather was slightly warmish by the afternoon session it was positively toasty at p.m. when the final competitor saluted the judges.
Saturday afternoon the action in the main arena was really heating up for the CCI 4* show jumping. We kicked off the broadcast at 5.30 with Phil Pollen taking up the co commentator position, we had a hoot! There was a scattering of clear rounds, Heath Ryan and the stallion Winborne Constable being one, outstanding result for big Heath as the stallion didn’t put his best hooves forward at Sydney CCI 4*in February. Shane Rose riding the lovely mare Easy Turn, Tina to her friends, was sensational, One of our favourites Oaks Cordelia, Heidi, had an unusual 2 rails down. The sun set, the band kicked into action, as usual Equestriad was a hoot.
Sunday, cross country day was a sensational warm day. Long-time Sit Tight Radio follower and old mate Greg McNamara gave cross country commentary a go, we settled into a good repartee once he stopped fiddling with the laptop, which is a finicky device quite liable to “jacking up” and disconnecting our broadcast. Greg and I kicked off with the CCI 2* class, our position over at the second of the 3 water fences gave us a great view from fence 10 onwards. There were some sit tight moments reported by none other than Marcia Williamson at the first water fence, which came up at fence 8 but the riders seemed to tackle the later water fences with ease. Only Jess Somerfield had a whoopsie in the 2*, the relatively skinny fence out of the billabong was not on her horse’s radar and unceremoniously deposited poor Jess on the landing side. After 15 vehicles including the Ambo attended to Jess, she hoped up and walked back to the trucks, leading her horse, maybe to the local Spec Savers!
The 3* cross country saw 25 horses take on the track. Katie Taliana having a break from competing, hoped on a pony to set sail out towards the third water jump and the finish line to hopefully capture some rider interviews for the broadcast. This plan is great, but Katie’s pony Ginny did lots of neighing and side stamping, toe taping and generally giving pregnant Katie a rough time, so Ginny was excused from duty! Katie took position at the final water complex seated on a log for a more stable commentary position. Stand out rides in this class were the “old boys”, Heath (Big HK Ryan) and his 2 rides, Tim Boland partnering both Napoleon and Menlo Park. An honourable mention to Emma Mason soon to be Mason Jones and the mare Aramanti Fox, looking the goods and getting a bow for “ladder climber award” from 26th dressage to 6th place at the end of cross country.
Outta the start box went the CCI 4* and the CNC 4*, it was a Stuart and Shane tag team at times, riding at least 4 horses each in both classes. Virgil and Shane were a masterclass as was WP Clifford and Hazel. It’s so great for our sport that these International competitors get amongst it with our homebred Aussie riders, raising the bar for all.
Sit Tight is next LIVE for Sydney 3DE from the first horse inspection (trot up) till Sunday, show jumping in the main arena.
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