Prydes were gracious sponsors and really got behind the idea of making the class special. Everyone involved was doubly delighted that one of the Prydes sponsored riders was the winner. Tor Van Den Berge is a strong supporter of the Prydes range and works with the company to help his students and riders with good feeding and nutrition.
Tor shared the winner's congratulations with his wife Mel (nee Hughes) and their two week old baby girl Olivia, who gave her proud dad a little smile when she saw the championship sash.
Thursdays weather was beautiful and provided perfect mid 20's dressage conditions and this was a factor to some great performances to get day one off to a very good start. Here is a pictorial overview of the Inter ll event.
The top two placings were decided in a very close battle with less than half a percent separating Tor Van Den Berg riding Cheryl O'Brien's (right, wearing jeans) imported Hanoverian stallion Fisherman's Friend (Fabriano/Penny Lane) from Heath Ryan and Dr Margaret Evan's proven GP campaigner, Regardez Moi (Rubenstein/Chlotilda). It was really good to see Heath in fine form following some health issues which slowed down the usually indefatigable star earlier this year.
Victorian Judge Susie Hoevenaars signals the start of an Inter ll test.
1. An exciting debut season at Grand Prix for the new 2009 Inter ll Australian Champion, Fisherman' Friend Fabriano/Penny Lane) ridden by Tor Van Den Berg who is based at Que Sera Farm in Biddaddaba in Queensland. This stallion is owned by Cheryl O'Brien from Remi Stud. They scored 66.632%
2. Regardez Moi (Rubenstein/Chlotilda) and Heath Ryan will always rise to a challenge and Heath gave it his best shot. Heath is a gracious competitor and acknowledged the quality of Fish's test and noted that Australia was on the improve as a Dressage nation and we will be soon taking our place on international podiums. Heath and "Fabio" rode an exciting test which scored 66.263%
3. Gitte Donvig is making incremental improvements at Grand Prix level on her mum's (Mary Hanna) imported GP campaigner Port Said 10 (Phoenix/Blutenpract) Gitte is starting to flex her muscles at top level and todays score of 64.105% sees this combination knocking on the door where the blue ribbons are stored. Sadly, Gitte will lose the ride soon as Port Said is for sale, but she says "I cannot wait to get my lovely young Jazz stallion out and Port has taught me a lot, he is such a good competitor!"
4. Heath Ryan also rode Anne Maree Lourey's home bred Byalee Magic in the opening class at the 2009 Nationals and proved his ability to make "magic"! The horse worked very well and showed his potential for the future, with a percentage of 63.211.
5. Victorian professional Charlotte Pedersen is working her way up the FEI ranks on the sublimely elegant Danish import, Come to Me. He is owned by Lady Susannah Clarke who is a great supporter of Victorian dressage and we all appreciate her enthusiasm and behind the scenes work for the sport. "Tomsy" is blessed with outstanding self carriage and has wonderful engagement. He is still building the strength to control his flamboyant movement. The score was 63.053% and a top 6 finish sees great potential for a WEG start next year.
6. Another Victorian - Fiona McNaught and her quite recently imported Trakehner gelding Sachenkonig (Handry/Souveraene).
Danish Olympian and WEG representative Lone Jorgensen helped Fiona to source the horse in Europe and she now comes to Australia Boneo Park) for regular clinics. Fiona and her talented chestnut were the big improvers and she was thrilled to acknowledge the help she has received from the Victorian State Dressage Coach, Mary Hanna.
I was with the pair when Fiona beamed her gratitude and thanked Mary for coming down to her Boneo Park property for regular clinics. Their score was 62.474%
7. Daniella Dierks rode Greg and Kate Farrell's elegant Arabian Warmblood gelding Concordance (Contango ll/Belcam Aatlanta)
This is a case where the rider possibly has a better pedigree for dressage than the horse as Daniella is the daughter of Clemens and Judy Dierks and she would have grown up on a diet of Dressage, horse training, improved riding performance and this has given her the best opportunity to carve out an independent career and she is now making her way at the highest level. Daniella is a very talented rider and works as the head trainer for the famed Mulawa Arabian stud. Concordance did not really settle and failed to show a good relaxed walk - however Daniella's experience allowed her to put that behind her and ride his strong points for top marks. They scored 61.526% and we will see much more of them in the top ranks.
8. Queenland's Nicole Magoffin riding Jaybee Anzac (Aachimedes/Conor County XX) finished a little further down than her recent performances would have suggested would be the case due to a couple of situations which would have cost marks. Former ballerina Nicole rides for Australia and also her homeland New Zealand and was on the Kiwi short list for the Beijing Olympic Games. Anzac shows the wonderful temperament that "those in the know" have come to expect from the progeny of Aachimedes - who stands at Jaybee Farm.
They scored 60.947% and Nicole will look for to improve todays areas of weakness.
Prydes signage helped to create some colour and atmosphere as well as delivering a message.
This structure makes for an interesting sight on the skyline of SIEC.
It reminds me somewhat of the Eiffel Tower - a trip to Paris, I wish!
The comfort of spectators at the Sydney International Equestrian Centre have been considered in the addition of a cover over the tiered seating on the main arena.
The camping area and cabins were filled to capacity and the accommodation arrangements (as with all of the administration) was well organised and seemed to run smoothly thanks to the many volunteers who were on call to help.