The first FEI event in New Zealand for 2018 was held by Eventing Southland on 26th and 27th January and Ryal Bush.  Ground conditions were good considering the amount of rainless days and uncharacteristically hot weather experienced in the south over the last 2 months.  A lot of hard work had been done by the small team of volunteers preparing the ground and staining fences.

The Fouveaux Equestrian  CIC2* class suffered from a couple of scratchings but was still a very competitive class.  The  Ground Jury of Helen Christie and Val McGregor agreed on the placings after Dressage, with Anna Poole and Alfresco first, from Kirsty Sharopoff and Shoot The Breeze 2nd and Molly Thacker and Happy Go Lucky 3rd.  Kirsty was the only one to SJ clear taking her into the overnight leader position, a place she held to the end with a masterclass performance over  the John Carmicheal designed Cross Country course, adding 8.4 time penalties to her dressage score.  Mollly also went clear adding 14 time penalties for 2nd place and Anna Poole having a green stop at the skinny  ‘B’ element of fence 8, to end up in 3rd place.

The judges had different ideas on who led the Fouveaux Equestrian CIC 1* after dressage, with Anna Robinson and Valkyrie ending up narrow leaders from Janelle Gibson and King Curtis 0.2 point behind and Melissa Wallace and Dunurban Moatai 3rd. The first 2 placings stayed the same after show jumping being 2 of only 3 in the class the jump clear.  The XC course caused a couple of problems with overnight leader Anna and Valkyrie parting company at the skiny ‘ D’ element out of the water.  Janelle Gibson and King Curtis were foot perfect coming home with 3.6 time penalties to take the win followed by clear rounds from Paige Hardwick and the gutsy little  grey Ivanhoff  2nd and Brodie Roberts and Playmaker 3rd, moving up from 7th overnight.

It was good to see that both winners of the CIC2* and CIC1* appeared to have overcome the small niggles they both experienced before Christmas. A big thankyou to Fouveau Equestrian for donating the winners of these two classes lovely rugs and Kentaur boots.

 The only competitor in the AB Lime CNC 2* was Jessie Fitzjohn  and  Whats The Buzz had a disappointing show jumping but went clear in the XC to finish on a scoreof 73.6.  Three riders competed in the Saddlery  Warehouse CNC 1*, with none show jumping clear but made a better job of the XC with Sarah Bennets and Maximus leading from the start to take the win from Jade McRae and Mafioso.

The large WOW Saddles 105 class saw the consistant Redwood and Lilly Anderson take the win from Paige Hardwick and Versalles and Hazel Gibson and Beaumont Long Pockets.  The Show Jumping course builder Graham Tippett built a lovely open flowing course so it was disappointing only a total of 8 from 35 competitors that competed in the 105, 1* and 2* jumped clear.

The Konica Minolta CNC 95 was taken out by Suzanne Black and her young horse Colton AF, from Lynda Gilkison and Little Buckaroo and Georgie Dickson and Tigerherz.  The coloured ponies quinelled the Fouveaux Communication 95 Pony Club class with Ella Morshuis and Time Bandit 1st and Maggie Bowles and Darvel Mai 2nd, both finishing on their dressage scores.  Madeleine Neal and Z’Questionaire were 3rd.

The Gail Richardson Equine CNC 80 saw the busy Kelly Tyson trifecta the class with all 3 of them finishing on their very good dressage scores.  Southern Z (12.6) 1st,  DSE Southern Halo (15.8) 2nd, and Rhiko (23.2) 3rd.  The Fouveaux Communication  80 Pony Club Class went to Bella Park and Comedy Gold, with Phillipa Straford and Holly 2nd and Kayley Johnson and Gollum 3rd.

The Eastern Physiotheraphy CNC 65 Class was taken out by Pam Thompson and Zac  with Kerry Jordan and Daquiri 2nd and Nicola Barringer and Gemami 3rd.  The Fouveaux Communications 65 Pony Club class was won by Lucy Brown and Shimmering Rain, with Mackenzie Jordan and Dingmac Cate Blanche 2nd and Blake Moat and Ellangowan Chianti 3rd.

A big thank you to all our sponsors who we really appreciate and all volunteers who helped make this event happen.

By Debra Gibson

Eventing Southland