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News from Vicki

21 November 2011

Well, Equitana was a total disaster for me and Kenny, and regrettably a bit for the sport as well.  Not taking away anything from the winner, David Dobson, who is one of the best riders in the country, and is certainly in a class of his own indoors, but heartbreakingly here we had a chance to showcase our sport to a large enthusiastic audience, and a less than suitable track made it not at all good for riders or spectators.  Again, while reluctant to be too critical of John Vallance, he can have a tendency to not have a good 'feel' for what is required for a good class. Sure it was the the richest class this year for jumpers, so needed to be a demanding track, but it was way too much in both size and technical demands for horses that had not been in an indoor environment for a long time.  It was a stand alone class, and horses and riders only had a 5 minute familiarization time an hour before the class.  One clear round in the first round (Cathy Graham and DaVinci's Pride), and two in the second, Dobbo on Akon and Amanda Madigan on Oaks Aaltes was just not enough. Such a pity because it was a great venue, and the footing was good enough (I think I can praise JV for that!).  By comparison Leeson Sirrett again built outstanding tracks all weekend in the tiny confines of the Wodonga indoor, and his World Cup track was again a masterpiece.  Sufficient difficulty to be up to standard, but forgiving enough to allow the quantity of young horses having their early World Cup starts to survive unscathed.  And, most importantly, a fabulously entertaining class for the huge crowd that keep coming year after year.  This year an amazing jump off with 13 horses coming back, and Sheridan Manuel won his first World Cup with his mother Lisa's super little horse Renmarno, when they zoomed around like Sheri was on a motorbike to win the class by nearly 3 seconds, from the in form Tom McDermott and Dobbo.  Special mention to the great job Melissa Froesch did, who was 6th(?) on her home bred mare Glenara Bollinger.  Meliss has been out of big classes for a while starting a family, and she was drawn first of the 23 starters, so it was a bit nerve wracking for her.  They jumped a super 4 fault round, then opened up the proceedings in the jump off with a very tidy clear round that took a bit of catching. But the crowd were on their collective feet after Sheri's round, then Dobbo and finally Tom did their best to unsuccessfully try and run him down... great sport.

Wodonga now runs like a well oiled machine with a great Committee headed up by father and daughter President/Secretary Roger and Kelly Lees (and Kelly manages to ride as well..).  As mentioned Leeson did his normal outstanding job indoors, and also ensured that that footing was in great order, while Bobby Pritchard built his mountains outdoors!!  In saying that, Bobby has been doing that for quite sometime now, so one knows you don't start horses outdoors at Wodonga unless they are up to it!  Footing was better this year, with a thick coverage of lush grass providing a good cover, and the jumping was good. The Betty McVean Grand Prix saw a good class with Tom McDermott winning on Statford Delight from Beccy Allen (soon to be Jenkins) on her lovely mare RSB Jacana.  Great to see Jeff and Katie McVean out spectating, mainly here to visit with Jeff's father Len, who is not in the best of health at the moment.  Great to see him there also, and everybody hopes that he will have a speedy recovery.  Futurity was won by Dobbo on the Alice Cameron bred Oaks Zena, who also won the Futurity the week before at Shepparton.  Mini Prix was won by Andy Inglis and Tom Smith's Casper, who jumped a blinder of a round.  I was delighted with my boys in this class, Kurt (Cache)  jumping clear rounds all weekend at his first real show for nearly 12 months.  Casino was super, also all clear rounds to be 4th in Mini Prix, and 3rd in 1.25 class on Friday.  Bit embarrassing in the 1.25 class on Friday, with George Johnson being the only one in the line up being anywhere near my age!! Or perhaps he just looks old?  Tom McDermott won, Jonothan Smith 2nd, me 3rd, Benny on Willy 4th, and George 5th!!  Benny and Willy were great, double clear as well in the Mini Prix, and 2nd in the Young Riders to James Hetherington.  Pam jumped great rounds also for Benny all weekend.  Kenny is in repair mode, but jumped good clear rounds indoors on Thursday in his new brakes (Mikmar bit), and a 4 fault round in the Betty McVean encouraged me to start him in the World Cup, but he was still a bit unconfident, and although got through the tougher parts of the track well, I lost brakes a bit towards the end, but was happy enough that we are on the comeback trail.  Much happier that I have Kurt back on track though, as he is a lovely little old lady's horse, being so scopey and kind! Issie jumped some great rounds on her oh so difficult mare Molly aka Bling NZ, but the indoors was quite a challenge for them both.  When questioned about how much indoors she had done, Issie said only TiPapa, which is the venue we jumped a World Cup in many years ago near Auckland (Coalminer won the Grand Pix!) and was from memory about the size of a football field.

Prior to Wodonga we did the Northside Championships, where Kurt had a couple of gentle rounds, and the somewhat fat and not very fit yet Eliza Jane scooted around to win the 1.15 class only just from my young student Riley McKillop and Our Great Show, the former Sam Buchanan (and Emily Longhurst) ride who is now doing great things for Riley.  Class sponsor Martin Gostelow of Somersby Park Equestrian Centre was 3rd on Carrassino, and Georgie Harvey on her new import Tresor (coincidentally by the same sire as Kurt, Carnute) was 4th.  Earlier Steph McKillop had won the Official, or Unofficial 1.05 on super pony Cynan, and Nicky Ferendinos the other section on the sweet Shire cross we bought from Dave Cameron a few years ago, Legend of Loxley, aka Monty.  Nice day, lovely tracks by David Lawrence, all well organized.

Eliza Jane & Our Great Show

1st and 2nd in the Gostelow Equestrian 1.15 class at Northside Ch'ships. 
The rather chubby Eliza Jane, and Riley McKillop and Our Great Show.

The "Gang"

'The gang' at Northside. Super pony Cynan with Steph,VR,Benny,
Riley and AJ, plus the ever vigilant guard dogs Sprockett and Cliff.


We think Kurt was quite pleased to be back at shows again. He's
quite happily adapted to being an Aussie horse tied up outside his truck!

Off to Sale this week...

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