Hectic few weeks, but hopefully will be winding down now that Aus Ch'ships are over.
JK Williams last weekend was a great show, and well organized as always by the Hartog family and Jane Frankum and John Vallance. Bla gets better and better with a 3rd on both days in the big class and the Grand Prix to Chris Chugg and Vivant, so Irish's top dog position is looking distinctly shaky! Cassie did the Derby classes as a bit of fun, and a bit of a let up from the big classes she has been doing for the previous few weeks, and we had a ball, except despite practicing over our bank here at home, she had a runout the first time at the bank! Well it did look a bit different to the one at home! Girls all went well, with Jess Stalling winning the first Junior on LITTLE CAVALIER, and placing in Young Riders on DUSTIN BONES. Nakita on MAYBE, and Lee on PUZZLE placed in the second ring classes, and Carrie on FAVOURITE jumped some super double clear rounds.
SIEC at last had a bit of atmosphere with the Eventers and the Jumpers there for the one event, and it all seemed to work quite well. The 3 event format for the National titles meant there was quite a build up to Sunday, with the Energizer Bunny Tom Mc Dermott just being denied the overall title by being placed 2nd on the wrong horse in the final Junior Grand Prix. He rode 4 and qualified all 4 for the final Grand Prix from 50 odd starters, but despite winning both the Table C and the jump off class, Monique Barrett and the wonderful pony Snowy River Ginger Meggs snuck past him to win the final Grand Prix and the overall title. Jess jumped lovely clear rounds on Little Cavalier to finish just out of the top 10, and Sophie Miller improved every day on Gilmore Rockafella to show that she will be a force to be reckoned with come the next titles in October, when she'll have both Rocky and Ricci on the go. Super talented Tom Mc Dermott was a bit compensated by being 1st and 2nd in the Futurity on 2 self produced thoroughbreds, where he could look down the line and see Olympians Jamie Coman in 4th, me in 5th and Rod Brown in 9th places!
The same situation in the Young Riders where Danni Butcher on her wonderful Landsong, went a bit easy in the jump off for the Grand Prix, thinking she had won the overall title, only to be pipped by 2 points by Belinda Prestwidge on the super little jumper, Mr Chipps. But I was proud of Danni as she rode beautifully, as did sister Greer, who was 6th in the Grand prix on Eliza Jane, and rode great rounds on Flowervale Concorde, who is a totally different ride to Jane. Jess also finished in the top 10 overall on Dustin Bones, and rode super. I was just a little disappointed that Course Designer John Vallance didn't use the open water more for these kids. The Juniors didn't get it at all, and I think the Young Riders only got to jump it on the first day. This is one of the few big arenas with 2 good open waters, and it would have been great for the Young Riders and Juniors to jump at least the smaller one in their Grand Prixs.
Bla jumped super all show, winning the first Table C, then being 3rd in the jump off class to, you guessed it, Vivant. In the final Grand Prix, Bla was jumping awesomely until I got a rush of blood into the final treble, and got there long to have the back rail of the oxer going in, then she barely touched the last fence, the skinny gate that most had down, so it just wasn't our day. She still finished 3rd overall, with a great performance by Chris and Vivant to win convincingly, with the other Energizer Bunny, Wendy Schaeffer being runner up on her super mare Koyuna Sunset, Wendy also riding 3 horses around the 3* 3 Day Event! Irish travelled and jumped better in a bit change, a pelham as suggested by Rod Brown, and am now looking forward to October National Titles in Canberra with both. Cassie, as always was a little star, and stepped up to the mark again with a lovely first round clear in the quite tough Futurity, then had 2 down, one badly ridden, the other after a slip, to finish 5th to Tom and the 2 thoroughbreds, with 4 faults overall, who jumped off with Julia Hargreaves and her import Courchevel, who had a round she'd rather forget, then Jamie and me on 8 faults with the 2 Noblewood Park imports Primmadonna and Cassie.
Great show, I just wish we could have more on that super arena, and a bit more over the good in ground water jumps to get our troops a little bit nearer international standard..