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News from Vicki

21 February 2011

Very busy few weeks with National Jumping meetings keeping me occupied mid week prior to Nowra Show.  But these went well, with a very good bunch of people to help me do my job.  Kym Mosey is the new rep from SA, and Claire Walker, daughter of previous long serving rep Isobel Casey, joins us from Tassie.  Good to see a bit of youth there to help us old fogeys.. At this time a big issue is the introduction of a new jumping pathway in 2012.  Basically the grading system is going out the window, but only once the new database is in place.  This should allow all horse jumping records to be kept way more efficiently than what is happening now, but we will be pretty much  going to a purely height system with divisions for Juniors, Young Riders, Amateurs and Young Horses.  Futurities will probably be for horses between 6 and 9 years, unless we (or someone...) can come up with a better idea.  But there is a fuller explanation of the Pathways on the EA website, and we are putting the first draft out to the states to come back to us with feedback and further ideas.  But I think the working group of Anne Garner, Colleen Brook, Graeme Watts, John Vallance, Peter Cooke and me came up with a good start for discussion.  The new stallion discs became compulsory from January 1st, and while not the most attractive addition to one's tack (they are lime green...), at least should assist riders and handlers identify which of the many, many horses going around are in fact, stallions, that should be treated with a little respect.

So finished meetings on Wednesday afternoon, then on Thursday morning flew to Brisbane with Rod Brown, Colleen Brook and a bunch of other friends and associates of the late Di Dawson for her funeral which was held at Nerang.  It was a full house, and some great tributes to Di and fabulous photos of her past achievements on the wonderful horses she produced and bred.  Then back that night, and Friday morning down to Nowra to compete at one of the nicest show arenas in the country.  The footing is perfect, and organization great thanks to the entire Bennett family who pretty much run the horse program.  Warren Priestly designed great tracks all weekend, although that South Coast gear now is looking a bit old and tired, and is for sure too heavy in this modern era.  Except for the breakaway cups, a lot of which need retesting, many of them giving away a bit quick now.  We had a great show, although I could barely keep my eyes open on the first day.  James Arkins won three classes on the first day, two on the wonderful Dreamtime Invader, and Jamie Smith on Mr Witter won the first day's big class from Kartoon.  Kenny Kartoon was 2nd again on Day 2 in the Grand Prix to George Sanna's Aprilla, while Casino jumped super to win both the C Grade and the B and C Grade.

Maitland was this last weekend, and the venue for the NSW Country Championships.  After the recent rain the arena was in great order, and Sue Bettington designed lovely tracks that are becoming her trademark.  James continued his great form winning several classes, including the Alan Hodge Memorial C and D Championship on Todd (Dreamtime Invader), so won good prizemoney, as well as a nice rug sponsored by me (!), as Alan Hodge had been a great contributor to our sport, particularly in the Central Coast/Hunter Valley area, over many, many years.  But the main focus was the NSW Titles, and while Sophie has been holidaying in Mexico, I have been keeping Janey ticking along, and her consistency in the two counting classes, 2nd on the first day, and 3rd on the second in the Grand Prix, earned us the Senior NSW Title.  Georgie Harvey and Glenorchy Hope were the Young Rider champions, and Jake Hunter and Oh I Say the Junior winners.  Martin Gostelow and Carrasino were the Champions in the hard fought Amateur classes.  Bennys' horses jumped well, with Ryles being 2nd in the Six Bar to Dave Cameron and Stoneleigh Edition, and 3rd and 6th in the two D Grades on Nikki.  Sara and Chucky were great, Sara having been on holiday in the US for a while, and Steph was great on Cy and Cal, although had a bit of a fixation for knocking down the skinny purple fence!  Of my others, Willy won both the 1.20 classes, and Casino jumped super again for double clears in both his classes, 4th on the first day in the 1.20, then 3rd in the C and D Ch'ship.  He is such a cruisy stallion; at one point on Sunday there was a huge tropical downpour, so we headed back to his stable, where Ben was already sheltering with Ryles.  I said to Ben to stay in there, and both horses happily remained there at close quarters while the downpour continued, not a squeak out of Casino!  He was also fascinated by the fireworks.  I traditionally make sure all horses have halters on them, in case of any problems, and also give them their haynets just before the start of the fireworks, hoping to distract them a little from the racket and lights. Well, he was totally entertained, but periodically went back to his hay so could stand with his head out the door watching the proceedings while munching on a piece of hay!

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