Spectators were treated to a superb display of jumping competitions as well as world-class seminars and clinics at today’s opening day of Equidays 2016.
The two main jumping classes came down to tight finishes with intense jump-offs against the clock to determine the winners.
In the Category A FEI World Jumping Challenge, Taupo teenager Briar Burnett-Grant took out the win on Fiber Fresh Verona. She was one of the last to go in the jump-off, and Briar’s time was just over a second faster than second place-getter Maia Coster, on Landenfeld. Third was Nicola Hammond on Carlo I.
The FEI Challenge is a two-round contest where riders of the same level compete against other riders from all over the world. Each rider jumps the same course, and the overall Category A winners in each geographical zone will have the chance to head overseas for the world final.
Briar (16) was very pleased with her young horse, especially as she hasn’t had him for that long. “It was obviously a good choice. This is going to be my first full season on him; I had him for about two months last season. I know he is a fast horse, that is naturally how he goes, so I knew if I let him do his thing he is quite a careful horse.”
Briar has a full programme of competitions on at Equidays 2016, and says it’s an event she really enjoys. “It is great to have so many spectators watching. The atmosphere is awesome.”
Olivia Ahlborn, from Napier, was the winner of the Honda New Zealand Pony Derby riding Aorangi Ragtime, beating the other five riders who made it through to the jump-off, out of the 57 starters in the class. Olivia described her win on the eye-catching Appaloosa as “pretty awesome. It is great to do this with him as we have been together for four years. He is just such a great pony. It is really cool to do really well with him.”
Olivia has had a lot of success with this wonderful pony, including winning the Speed Pony of the Year title twice. “We are in the Equidays Pony Grand Prix tomorrow, and then the Isuzu D-Max show jumping and cross-country challenge on Sunday, so that will be fun.”
Sarah West was second on Showtym Cruiser, and Isabella Du Plessis third on the well-known Kabo Silver.