News from Vicki

16 October 2008

Busy couple of weeks with the State and National Titles on consecutive weekends. State Titles very well patronized, and again very well organized by John and Jane, but the Worrigee facility was very inadequate for the huge numbers that attended, and the ground also doesn't cope with the extremes of weather, with it becoming pretty firm by the end of the Youth Titles, and then being unusable for the Sunday program of the States due to rain. Fortunately the rain held off so the Monday program could be conducted and completed. Well done to Jamie Grant on winning his first Senior Title on The Player, a horse that he has brought on himself that has been none too easy! Emily Blinkworth has returned to great form, winning the Young Rider Ch'ship on the imported Romantic Dream, and Monique Barrett (I think! Short term memory not too good...) won the Junior Title on her super little Ginger Meggs. Our troops good, Cassie won a 1.20 class, and was placed every time out. Evenescence (aka Roxy) of Sue Middleton's was great and jumped her little socks off for several placings, as did Welsom, my cute as a button Dutch bred 5 year old, who still hasn't worked out it's summer yet and has a coat like a moth eaten rug! Irish was a good boy, but not coping so well with the shifty footing; it's a long way from his brain to his feet!

Students were great. Sophie got good placings on Ricci, and Clyde also is jumping and travelling better. Nakita and Elle got some great placings, with just the odd unlucky rail. Sarah and Panther continued their good form, just missing a place on the first day, and then headed home when the heavens opened, thinking that was the end of the show, and didn't quite get back...

After a couple of days at Jamberoo, we headed to Canberra, and by contrast, here is a facility that could easily cope with the 600+ horses that descended upon Canberra. Our sport is in good shape when you see these numbers! Over 100 in the Junior Title class, 50+ in Young Riders, and close to 30 in the Seniors, plus 150+ D Graders and more! And the ground that was up until a year or so ago one of the worst grounds footing wise in the state, is now easily one of the best. Lots of sand and top dressing, and in ground sprinklers has made the footing excellent under any circumstances. Jumping was great with Leeson Sirret doing a fantastic job in the large area he was allotted; perhaps a bit tough on the Juniors, but his Young Rider and Senior tracks produced great jumping, with horses getting better as the show progressed. Leeson also is the best at designing and placing the water jump to encourage horses to jump this type of fence that we see too little of. Unfortunately, he felt he was only able to use it for the Seniors, and the Futurity final, as he was concerned that the footing on the landing side would deteriorate, which would then be counter productive, so was only able to use it sparingly.

So thank goodness for all of the above, as we all had a pretty average show! Couldn't blame the footing this week for Irishs' rails, and not the travelling, as finally he is travelling beautifully, and being very rideable, he was one of the few to do a beautifully balanced 6 strides after the open water in the AM5 class, I was shocked! Once upon a time it would have been 4 1/2! Cassie once again carried the team with a bunch of good placings, and Roxy and Willy again were D Grade stars, with Roxy jumping double clear over quite a tough C and D Grade track on the last day. Sophie and Nakita experienced the ups and downs of the sport, with the tough first Junior making it's mark, but she was able to bounce back on both horses with good results in the other rings. Nakita's difficult mare was great on Day 1, but still lacks a bit of brain conformity and education needed to cope with tough tracks week in, week out, but they are getting there, and will improve with further experience. For sure Nakita's next few horses are going to feel very easy after this one! Tom Mc Dermott, having won his first Nat Title at 12 years of age now has won his 2nd at 15 riding very well. Emily Blinkworth followed up on her State Title win with emphatic 1,2 placings on Romantic Dream and Rolex. Great stuff Emily, who has the added pressure of being subjected to the good ol' Australian 'tall poppy' syndrome, but handles it well, and is riding very well. Chris Chugg and Vivant showed the benefit of their overseas campaign with back to back Senior Ch'ships, Vivant recording two 1sts and a 2nd over the 3 event series. Great to see Becky Allen's win in the final Grand Prix. Here is someone who has been in the sport a long, long time despite her relative youth, and done a lot the hard way, on an Australian bred horse that she has produced herself, Koyuna Ted. Also Hayley Coman's win in the Young Rider GP. She gave the jump off a perfect ride on another Aussie bred horse Just Lately, to outpace all the imports. Jamie Winning's rise in the sport has been nothing short of meteoric, and she was runner up in the Senior Title on her cute import, Vangelo. Also Wendy Schaeffer's team were consistently in the line ups for most classes, with Wendy now easily one of the best jumpers in the country. Another to convert easily was Chris Burton who won a super Mini Prix class on classy stallion Copabella Visage, who has now returned to top ranks after a bit of a loss of form. The pair looked great together in this very competitive class. Also Shane Rose won a D grade or two to keep the Eventers up there, and push the rest of us out!

Back home to regroup for Victoria, and get Errol serving a few mares. He had a couple of lovely youngsters at Canberra, particularly Eliza Jane and Puzzle's younger half brother, Southern Son, owned and ridden by Sean Cooper, who is a giant, beautiful stallion having only his second show, but showed the wonderful nature of the Errol's by calmly taking in all the atmosphere and horses crowding around totally without fuss, despite only being 5 years old.

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