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News from Vicki

20 March 2012

So much has happened since last update!!

First Canberra Royal.  What a good show that is now.  Haven't been for about 10 years, and always a bit of a pain, as their entries close so early, and I forget!  But made the effort this year, and pleased we did.  Weather was great, and organization nice and rider friendly.  Stables (Southern Cross) good, although they wanted Casino, being the wild stallion that he is (not!!) in one of the large, permanent stables.  Finally managed to secure a spare Southern Cross box, as in the end I put Kurt in the permanent stable, as I thought he would settle better than Casino.  But he was lonely, so got them all back together.  Casino had a mare behind him, but couldn't care less, unless they are in season!  Leeson Sirrett designed excellent courses all show, and also most importantly, supervised the footing, which was watered most nights, and made it very good all show.  Our guys were great, but Tom McDermott was unstoppable, and won all the Part 1's on either Rolex or Romantic Dream.  I know cos I was either 2nd or 3rd in every class on Kenny.  Sam Buchanan did really well to win the Part 2 and Part 3 Grand Prixs on the final day in strong fields.  Casino was a star, winning or placing in all his classes, and Benny was placed in the same classes on Willy.  Kurt was a bit amazed by the atmosphere (they don't have sideshows in Germany), and just needs more miles.  Steph MacKillop had an awesome show winning all 3 Junior classes on her little superstar, Cy.  New ride Royal Masquerade was placed, as was little brother Ri, at his first Royal, on Our Great Show.

Then it was off to New Zealand for the first Trans Tasman class at Hawera Show.  Lovely organization, pretty showground, with an amazing backdrop of a snow capped mountain that comes out of nowhere every so often.  I actually didn't see it until Sunday morning, and I'd been there 4 days!  Guys all went well in the Friday classes, so the team of Evie Buller, Yalambi's Landor, Jamie Winning and Congo Z, Tim Clarke and Caltango and Brett Warren on Cheezy Z all seemed ready.  Then the 'weather bomb' hit.  High strength winds and rain that saw 1/4 of the roof ripped off the indoor arena, and power cuts that lasted 12 hours, so no show on Saturday.  Thus jumping was postponed til Sunday, quick reorganization of flights, and the Trans Tasman took place on Sunday morning on ground that looked ok, but rode very dead compared to Friday, when it was great.  A serious 1.50/1.55 track was set by Gerrit Bakker, and it saw no double clear rounds (and the gear was pretty heavy!).  We got our bums seriously kicked on this occasion, with Tim and Caltango being our stars with an 8 and a clear round to be placed in the top 5.  Evie did two great 8 fault rounds, Congo wasn't himself with an 8, then an elimination, while Cheezy also didn't look herself woth two 12 fault rounds, and was found to have azoturia.  Luckily Kiwi vet and mate Tim Pearce was on hand and able to treat her straight after the class.  So it was a big learning curve for all those guys, with this being the first 'OS' trip for Evie, Brett and Tim.  Paula Hamood was a bit of an Aussie bright spot, when she decided to pinch her daughter's horse (Livvie is in Belgium), Nero, and jumped a super clear in one of the rounds to end up 3rd.  Good job for a last minute trip!

Then back home to do some work, then on Friday headed the other way accross to Perth to do a Clinic there.  Fortunately it was conducted indoors at Sunninghill Equestrian Centre, as both days were around the 40 degrees mark!  It was great to work with these guys, and progress was made on all fronts.  On the Saturday night, Robynne McTaggert had an Open evening to show off Noblewood Park Cougar, and the two beautiful new boys, Calibre and Dynamite.  We also free jumped them on Friday night, and they both look absolutely awesome jumpers.  About 100 people turned up to see all 3 boys presented, and it was a great testament to their good characters that all 3 paraded up and down on Robynne's lawn like they had been doing it all their life!

NOBLEWOOD PARK DYNAMITE

One of Robynne McTaggert's stunning new stallions NOBLEWOOD PARK DYNAMITE being paraded on her Open evening.

Then on the Sunday night red eye flight, into Sydney Monday morning, and flew straight out to Auckland to catch up with the team again at the Horse of the Year Show at Hastings.  What a show this is; Kevin Hansen brought it down to Hawkes Bay some 10 years ago, and it hasn't looked back.  There is around 2,000 jumpers, dressage horses, working hunters, hacks, ponies and eventers here (did I miss anyone?  Didn't quite get to all the far corners...), and the trade stands that go for miles!!!  I did some serious damage to my credit card, and improved the New Zealand economy substantially on my visits there..  And the public flocks in.  The granstand has a capacity of about 5,000, and it was packed from Thursday to Sunday.  For sure this is the best horse show in the Southern Hemisphere.

Leopoldo Palacious, Vicki and Chris Buller
Photo courtesy Barbara Thomson

Horse of the Year Show.  Leopoldo Palacious (CD), me and
Chris Buller (Evie's dad!)

Team all seemed in good shape, but after the second day Jamie and I thought it best to pull Congo out of the team, as he wasn't right, and Brook Dobbin and Advisor then stepped in as the 1st Reserve (or 3rd Reserve from the original team!).  I was looking forward to a better performance this time, as the guys now had had the first 'team experience' under their belts, plus the gear was a bit lighter than the other show (although still not as light as most of the Aussie gear), but was still worried about how tough the Kiwis could be, especially at this show which is their biggest.  This time I sent Brett out first, and after a bit of a nervous first line, came back with a solid 8 fault score.  Brook then went out and jumped an immaculate clear, matched only by Kiwi team anchor Katie McVean and Dunstan Daffodil.  Evie then also put in a good 8 fault score, with Landor being a bit spooky at the open water, but Evie doing an awesome job to get him over it!.  Tim as anchor then flew around for 1 rail down, and we were 1 fault in the lead going into the second round!  Same course again, like a real Nations Cup.  It was a tough enough 1.50 track with the open water, although a pole was put over it for the second round, and no treble, but 3 doubles.  This time Brett rode a super round to just have 1 very cheap rail.  Brook added 1 stride down the first line to just have the back off the oxer at 2, but this was good enough to give him 2nd place individually to overall winner, Katie McVean, who jumped the only double clear.  Evie rode a foot perfect round to come back with a clear, and my team had won!  Tim unluckily had the same fence down as in the first round, but that was good enough to give him and Evie equal 3rd place.  I was so proud of all of them, as they had all contributed a great score, and were remarkably consistent.  While the difference was just 1 fault, my guys had all jumped great rounds, and all showed that they will be great team riders in the future.

Trans Tasman Trophy Winners

  Vicki with Trans Tasman trophy, Gavin from Mitavite, Brett, Tim, Evie and Brook.  Also Riley and Penny McKillop with Aussie flag!

Sunday saw us with 5 starters in the big class, with NZ$40,000 to the winner.  Big enough track, with once again Katie McVean showing all her skill and class to jump the only double clear on Dunstan Daffodil, with Brook again on her heels all the way, witha 4 and a clear to be 2nd.  Evie was a star again with a 4 and a 4 putting her 3rd.  Paula and Nero were 5th, and Tim and Caltango 8th.  Great class in a great atmosphere!  In hindsight, probably a good thing one of our guys didn't win it, or I think we all would have been swimming home!  Main thing is thay all went super, and got very good experience for future trips.  Also many thanks to my 'helpers' Steph MacKillop and Issie Whatley, who assisted the team at the practise fence, good experience for them!  And Jock MacKillop who was my scorer, while I kept an eye on the rounds and the warm ups. And of course Equestrian Australia, who contributed so much to get us all there...

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