The riders weren’t the only ones bringing the heat at the first day of the 2019 Bates New Zealand Dressage Championships commencing at Manfeild Park yesterday.

Upper level combinations and young horses were on show today, with two of New Zealand’s top riders – Vanessa Way and Wendi Williamson making their mark early on. Way, riding NSC Pronto took out the Hobson Horsecoaches North Island Super 5 semi final in the Level 6, just ahead of Williamson on Decadence MH. The tables were turned in the Grand Prix class this afternoon, with Williamson aboard Don Amour MH edging out Way by less than 1% to win the Level 9 Superior Rubber Surfaces Super 5 semi final.  Williamson also topped the leaderboard with her mount Bon Jovi MH in the Fiber Fresh Level 5 Super 5 semi final, only just edging out Gaylene Lennard.

Julie Flintoff made the drive from Kerikeri worth it, decisively winning the Custom Logistic Services Level 7 Super 5 semi Final class with her classy mare Belladonna MH. While the Level 8 AR Dressage North Island Super 5 semi Final was headed by Kieryn Walton and Rosari Don Carlos, and only 0.2% behind her was Blenheim’s Melissa Galloway and Windermere Jobei W.

This year the Bates New Zealand Dressage Championships is featuring a CDI-P FEI Pony class. This is being contested by Rebecca Mobberley and her pony Zak Smith, and Samuel Gradowski Smith aboard Heritage Don Quilla, with Rebecca taking out the win today.

The Elite Equine Young Dressage Horse classes are always one to watch, with a stylish pool of young horses being presented this year. Catherine Smith and Quendrix were first in the four-year-old class, with Casey Burton and Fanfare MH and John Thompson and JHT Anatomy taking out the five and six-year-old classes.

The Boutique Equine Best Presented prize at the Horse Inspection was awarded to Toni Louisson and Back on Track Astute

Full results from Day One