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News from Vicki

28 October 2011

Well Dubbo was quite a show.  Great venue for the Nationals, as it is pretty central for a lot of people, as it is accessible enough for Queenslanders, Victorians and South Aussies, the facilities are good, stabling great, plenty of room for parking, yet everything was close enough and accessible.  Big tragedy was the footing.  Normally for the show in the autumn, it is outstanding, I have been to Dubbo Show for many years now, and it is always great.  But for whatever reason, maybe the different time of year(?), it was not great, being quite hard.  Mercifully it rained on the Saturday, so the ground for the Finals on Sunday was better, but still not like it can be.  The other end of the arena, where the second and third rings were held, the warm up rings were just monumentally rock hard, which is really unacceptable at our National Ch'ship.  Efforts were made to improve take offs and landings in the warm ups with shavings, which was a bit of a help.  However it was a monumental first effort by Edwena Mitchell, and knowing her flair, determination and enthusiasm, I'm sure it can only get better.  There was a lot of talk, and I am a personal supporter, of moving the Ch'ships to the autumn time, maybe not long after the show.  This would possibly solve the footing issues, and also be a lot more suitable for Juniors and Young Riders, many of whom can't attend a Spring Ch'ship due to exam committments.

Competitions were great, with excellent tracks being designed by John Vallance in the main arena, Brad Longhurst in Ring 2, and Steve Edwards in Ring 3.  Paul Athanasoff brought Wirragulla Nicklaus out for his first starts since Sydney Royal, and never looked like touching a rail in all 3 classes to score an emphatic victory, and really put himself in front of the Selectors for a London spot.  Great to see this horse jump so well.  He was bred, broken and produced by Paul and his partner Charlie Hooke, and has had a couple of OS campaigns, and now look very seasoned.  He won the first Part 1 class at Sydney Royal this year, and then incurred a minor injury, so Paul and Charlie elected to give him the time to rehabilitate.  Credit must also be given to Paul's friend,coach and mentor, Maree Hewitt, who quietly and firmly guided him to his excellent wins, the Table Am5 class, and the Grand Prix.  In form rider, Jamie Kermond was runner up on Colthaga, and Timmy Clarke on the super little mare, Caltango, another one that has been produced by Tim from a young horse.  Young Riders saw Evie Buller continue with her good form on Yalambi's Landor, already the NSW Champion, she now adds the National Title to her achievements.  Previous title holder, Tom McDermott was runner up on SL Limerick and James Arkins was third on Todd (Dreamtime Invader).  Tom retained his Junior Title, his final year, on Capone with 3 equal seconds, Tom again on Eclipse, Jake Hunter on Oh I Say, and Gemma Creighton on It's Mitch.

Our guys jumped well enough.  Poor Kenny suffered from a monumental miss I gave him to the second fence in the 1st leg Table C, first line oxer/vertical 6 or 7 stride, and I got down there in 6 1/2!  I followed Chugg on Vigo, and he had a monumental miss at the first, and I was thinking to myself, gee, I hope I don't do that....  nup, I waited for the second fence to do that..  Willy Welsom made up for things by having a win and a second in the second ring, so helped a bit.  Casino was fantastic, a little looky early after Melbourne, but should have won the Futurity, fastest time in the jump off, but just ticked off the back rail at the last, but jumped awesome.  This class was won in great style by Stephen Dingwall and Cavalier Bryn.  Benny had a couple of rails here and there with Brad, but still placed, Nikki won a round of the D Grade Ch'ship, so is now C Grade, and Pamelet won the 7 year old Ch'ship, so great for Ben.  Steph was great with Cy, but a nervous ride in the Table A saw her just miss out on the Finals, but was 2nd in the Consolation.  Issie and Molly had a similar result, and Alf was a little star as always.  Sara and Chucky were a bit short of a run, but gained a second anyway!

Vicki & Kenny

Kenny carting me around at Dubbo. 
Thanks Nicole Bruggeman for the pic!

Great to have Gilbert Bockmann back to do Clinics, and keep an eye on the riders at the Nationals, and he was very impressed by how the standard of Young Horses and Young Riders has improved.  I had to fly to the Philippines to do a long standing Clinic, so missed doing Gillie's Clinic, but Ben was able to go, and got a huge amount out of it.  I feel that Gillie and George Morris actually complement each other very well, despite their different nationalities, with their basics and emphasis on flatwork being absolutely the same.  Gillie may like the riders a little taller than George, but the forward/straight, balance and response to  the aids is identical.

So had a lovely time in the Philippines from Tuesday to Sunday, with the riders, as always being enthusiastic students, and improving over the 3 days of teaching.  Unfortunately I came back with what I thought was a bout of food poisoning, but when Neil also fell ill on Tuesday, realized it was a stomach bug.  Then heard that 3 or 4 others from the show also had the same condition!  Not so bad, I needed to lose weight for all the amzing hospitality I was given while there..

Polo Club, Manila

At the Saturday show at the Polo Club in  Manila in the Philippines. Left to right, Vic Barba, the other Vicki, Dodot Jaworski (Mikee's husband), Karen Concepcion and Mikee.

Great news (for me) is that Kurt (Cache) my lovely German horse by Carnute is back in work after having an anular ligament problem after the Summer Classic last year.  The surgery at Agnes Banks Equine Clinic appears to have settled it down, and he hopefully gets to start at Wodonga as his first show.  Therefore Benny gets the ride back on Willy Welsom, as I think Young Riders, despite his great efforts at Melbourne in Part 2, is his comfort zone.  Benny isn't complaining yet..

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