The long trip north paid big dividends for Anna Bryant and Peace Train who came from behind to win the Dunstan CCN1*-L Championship.
The Methven combination notched a stunning clear to take the win on 27.2 penalty points, backing up their recently-won national one day crown, with Stephanie Liefting (Clevedon) and Prestige Springs second on 30 and Anne-Marie Styles (Clevedon) continuing her successful run with a third placing aboard Tamburo on 31.1.
Thirty-seven combinations lined up to be challenged by the Pip Howells-designed course
Pesky rails proved the undoing for a number in the top 10 of the leaderboard. Ashra McAvinue (Hunua) and her six-year-old TR Willow paid dearly for two rails and slipped to fourth. Others also found themselves off the podium.
But the day belonged to Anna and her big grey. “After we won the national one day champs I thought we had better make the trip up (to the NZ3DE).”
This is the horse’s seventh ever event. His autumn season produced a second and three wins. The seven-year-old 17hh grey is owned by Bernie Hewitson and has been with Anna for just eight months.
“We have always thought he was special,” says Anna. “He can be spooky so he is not always easy, but he tries his little heart out. I said to Bernie when I got back how nice it was to be sitting on a horse that if I don’t get it right every time, he still tries super hard.”
She was chuffed with his dressage and that it had him in a handy spot going into the jumping phases. He came out of the cross country start box a bit spooky but Anna says once he got going he just “ate it up”.
“The showjumping was really well designed but it was tricky,” she said. “All the distances were quite forward and it was so hard not to interfere but I just had to leave him to do his job. I expected him to come out a little flat – he warmed up a little flat but once we got in there he perked right up.”
The win was extra special for owner Bernie who was in tears. “She gets so nervous she can’t watch us! It is so cool to be doing it with an owner like this – it makes it all so much better when you are doing it for someone else. We said we would be happy with a ribbon but to come out on top is amazing.”
Anna is trained by Emily Cammock and Christine Weal and had sessions with both in the lead up to the national champs. “Our prep for the one day champs were our worst ever and now we have had probably the best ever prep but still come out with the same result – it’s very cool.”
Anna Bryant (Methven) Peace Train 27.9 1, Stephanie Liefting (Clevedon) Prestige Springs 30 2, Anne-Marie Styles (Clevedon) Tamburo 31.1 3, Ashra McAvinue (Hunua) TR Willow 31.5 4, Claudia Hurley (Patea) Bluetooth 32.2 5.
For full results, head to www.equestrianentries.co.nz