Talented teen Olivia Dalton wasn’t about to let the opposition get into her head in the horse mini prix at the Dunn Contracting Grand Prix Showjumping Show at Woodhill Sands at the weekend.
The mini queen of cool headed home a very smart 27-strong field that included former Olympian and World Champs rider Clarke Johnstone (Matangi) and Balmoral Sensation who had to settle for second.
“It was pretty awesome,” said Olivia of her win aboard her 12-year-old Aussie import Cil Dara Bonaparte. “It is a little extra pressure – they are professional in how they ride but I find watching them in the ring is really very inspiring sometimes. I just have to focus on myself and not worry about the other people. I think I am getting better at that.”
Nine came back for the jump-off where the top four were all double clear with Olivia’s 33.47-second time heading them home, with Clarke second on 34.19 and Leeshelle Small (Ramarama) aboard AMS Glenbrooke Archie Bunker third in 35.15. Keean Cooper (Te Kauwhata) and LT Eloquence were the fastest of the jump-off, coming home in 32.72 seconds but took a rail in their haste. Olivia opted to take a stride out of the last line which gave her the edge.
This is her second season with Cil Dara Bonaparte and the two have established a solid partnership. “I love him,” she says. “He does whatever I ask of him. This season I just want to stay consistent and be confident in the things I do. Hopefully I will ride more forward too – when I went to Aquis Champions Tour (Australia) I learnt that I don’t so it was something to work on.”
Clarke was rapt to have his stable star back competing. “It is so exciting to have Ritchie (Balmoral Sensation) back in action . . . he was loving it!”
There were just three series classes at the show with Paxton Conder (Whatawhata) and La Fonteyn winning the Harrison Lane Pro Am Rider Series class, Courtney Fox (Auckland) and Reflector taking out the Dunstan Amateur Rider and Sophia Blackbourn (Hamilton) and Blackall Park Romeo triumphing in the Equifibre Junior Rider. Madison Jackson (Pukekohe) and Captain Fantastic headed home 12 other combinations to take the honours by a snip in the Prydes EasiFeed Pony Mini Prix class.
The show had two brilliant days of competition with big entries. Wayne Bragg designed the courses in ring one, Danielle Watts in ring two and Gina Moss in ring three.
Harrison Lane Pro Am Rider Series: Paxton Conder (Whatawhata) La Fonteyn 1, Abby Robinson (Ohaupo) Hillman Hunter 2, Laura McGregor (Auckland) High Command 3, Alexa Randall (Auckland) Cirrius GNZ 4, Vicki Ridley (Karaka) Mosaic II 5, India Causebrook (Pukekohe) Westminster Rock 6.
Dunstan Amateur Rider Series: Courtney Fox (Auckland) Reflector 1, Shelley Bridgeman (Auckland) Oaks Vendetta 2, Eleisha Williams (Dairy Flat) Daimler Benz 3, Amelia Clark (Auckland) Master of Hossack 4, Brooke Knight Willis (Auckland) Everything Equine Totara 5, Rosana Dickson (Cambridge) Okeechobee 6.
Equifibre Junior Rider Series: Sophia Blackbourn (Hamilton) Blackall Park Romeo 1, Ella De Leeuw (Hamilton) Bling du Rouet 2, Caira Manson (Auckland) Waitangi Attachment 3, Sophia Hall (Auckland) Blackall Park Pennylane 4, Ben Weir (Auckland) SF Gryphon 5, Ben Weir (Auckland) Don Perignon II 6.
Prydes EasiFeed Pony Mini Prix 1.1m-1.15m: Madison Jackson (Pukekohe) Captain Fantastic 1, Summer Denize (Kerikeri) Bella Vinci Duet 2, Lucas Bremner (Whangarei) Triple Star Curious George 3, Shanae Savannah (Silverdale) Tiger Tale LS 4, Bailee Sterling (Warkworth) Tallyho Mozart 5, Amelia Munro (Paremoremo) MF Spot ON 6.
Dunn Contracting Horse Mini Prix 1.25m-1.3m: Olivia Dalton (Karaka) Cil Dara Bonaparte 1, Clarke Johnstone (Matangi) Balmoral Sensation 2, Leeshelle Small (Ramarama) AMS Glenbrooke Archie Bunker 3, Kylee McCambridge (Cambridge) Chicago 4, Keean Cooper (Te Kauwhata) LT Eloquence 5, Laura McGregor (Auckland) High Command 6.