By Virginia Caro
Photo by Alison Price – Spot On Photography
Persistent drizzly rain at the Fiber Fresh National Equestrian Centre at Taupo on Sunday meant time faults were the order of the day on Robbie MacLean’s 3* cross- country course, which provided competitors with a big, bold, but straightforward challenge to start the season.
Fortunes were mixed, with both Donna Edwards-Smith, who led the NRM CIC3* class on DSE Mr Hokey Pokey by a whisker from Amanda Pottinger on Just Kidding, relinquishing their top spots. Mr Hokey Pokey lost a shoe early on the course Edwards-Smith saying, “It flew past my head after landing over fence 6,” so she pulled up and retired rather than soldier on in the slippery conditions.
In Pottinger’s case, Just Kidding remembered the ducking he received at the same fence in last year’s NRM three-day event, despite going on to win that competition. He stopped at the roll top into the water, after which Pottinger trotted him round in the water before attempting it again, and although successful they had incurred 20 jumping penalties.
The remaining competitors all completed without jump faults, but all with double figure time penalties, Edwards-Smith winning on Gay McClunie’s DSE Cluny with 21.6 time penalties and a final score of 75.1 penalties. Andy Daines was second on Spring Panorama with a final score of 76.4, and Samantha Felton third on Ricker Ridge Rui with 77.1 penalties, having the fastest round with 14 time penalties.
Geoff Sinclair, the FEI Technical Delegate from Australia, was impressed with the quality of the venue, saying, “It’s a great place for the sport, the ground is excellent, which is so important for the horses, and the riders coped remarkably well with the conditions.”
This was the first leg of the ESNZ Eventing Super League for the 2017-18 year, with Edwards-Smith on DSE Cluny & Daines on Spring Panorama taking the major points, ahead of the second leg at Arran Station, Takapau, on 28/29 October.
ESNZ Eventing Super League
Points after 1st leg:
Donna Edwards-Smith (Te Kauwhata), DSE Cluny, 32 pts; Andy Daines (Kumeu), Spring Panorama, 30 pts; Samantha Felton (Matangi), Ricker Ridge Rui, 6 pts; Edwards-Smith, DSE Tangolooma, 6 pts; Renee Faulkner (Papakura), Rubinstar HH, 6 pts.