Land Rover 4* Eventing
The Land Rover eventing cross country, designed by Auckland’s Chris Ross, was tough and proved a real challenge to so many competitors, including the star riders, Jonelle and Tim Price who both struck issues on their borrowed horses.
Amanda Pottinger on Just Kidding took out the win after a very accomplished round which was the fastest round of the day. She incurred just two time faults, taking her final score to 34. This was just ahead of the overnight leader, Maddy Crowe who had to settle for second, after incurring 7.6 time penalties and finishing on a score of 35.7. The pair looked very accomplished despite having limited experience at this level.
Amanda said that it was “pretty cool” to be named the Eventer of the Year. “Actually, I am over the moon,” she said. “The course was great, and I felt like we got a really good rhythm going.”
Amanda had finished second in the Australian 4* (now called 5*) class held in Adelaide last November and was a bit worried that ‘Ferg’ had only had one novice start in preparation for this class. “He was in the best form though. He was straight, honest and forward, and answered every question asked of him. He was foot perfect.”
Another who really clicked with his horse and looked superb was the legend Blyth Tait on Cor Jet, and they moved up into third place. The pair did have time faults which is understandable given that Blyth only rode him for the first time a few days ago, borrowing the big gelding off his normal rider, Chloe Phillips Harris. Blyth enjoyed his job and riding at the show. “He knew his job, and I was thrilled with his performance,” he said.
Tim Price ended up finishing in 7th place whereas Jonelle elected to retire after having two stops on course.
Land Rover 3* Eventing
Samantha Lissington described her horse Ricker Ridge Sooty as a superstar. “I was so happy with him, he was super. I had a few decisions I was trying to make along the way and I was more undecided than I am normally but he just committed to them when I made them. I just hope I was fast enough!” Sam did incur 2.4 time penalties, but it was still enough for her to finish the winner.
Monica Oakley on Festival stormed around the course and into second place with a clear round within the time. Amanda Pottinger also had a good round on The Comedian, incurring just 2.4 time penalties to move into third place. Overnight leader, Olympic champion and double world champion, Blyth Tait on Havana had a run-out early on course and then went for a safe but slower round so dropped right down the leaderboard.
Fellow Olympian Jock Paget had a dream ride and rode like a dream on Ricker Ridge Riley, a horse he has never ridden cross country before. “Sam said he is easy, you can trust him and he is straight, but it is hard to know how easy it will be but yes, he is so easy,” said Jock afterwards. “You just touch the rein and he comes back to you, put him on a line and he holds it, ride up to a fence and he trusts you, he is very, very safe. If my son ever wants to ride, I hope he gets a horse like that.”