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by Linda Balfour
It was a full day's worth of dressage on Saturday from 8AM to 5PM to cope with the four Training classes plus 2 sections of PreNovice and very full classes in both the Novice and Open Intermediate. The excellent entries in the latter two classes were no doubt due to the prizemoney on offer : $1,000 to the winner of both classes, $500 for second and $200 for third. A feature of the generous sponsorship provided by Gillette was not only the prize money but also the showbags filled with Gillette goodies such as a Mach 3 shaver, Gillette Shaving Gel and Duracell batteries. These showbags were provided to all the competitors AND cross country jump judges. It was great to see that the shaving products had been put to good use in the showers on Saturday night. It is not often that so many gentlemen are clean shaven for the presentations on Sunday. (It is rumoured that the ladies' legs were also very smooth but this has not been confirmed!).

The wonderful facilities at Ian and Pat Mouser's Tonimbuk Equestrian Park enabled the organisers to complete all the showjumping for the Training 2 and Training 3 on Saturday. PreNovice A showjumped from 6PM whilst spectators were treated to a delicious meal of beef on a spit and salads followed by a mouth watering array of desserts. Cross country course builder, Wayne Copping from South Australia and his team had constructed some first class fences for the competition. One of the feature fences this year was the new water complex, named the Gillette Close Shave Water Jump. A few riders did indeed have a close shave, Ian Balfour nearly taking a tumble when his mount pulled a shoe on the landing stride. The unofficial prize for the first rider to take a ducking was Debbie Ross on her PreNovice ride, Ushuaia. Debbie remounted and completed the course a little wetter than she had begun. Another feature fence was the Duracell Battery. This was a 1.1m high, 2.4m long replica of a Duracell battery. This was an accuracy test placed either, a holding 4 strides or a ride-on 3 strides, from a related straight fence. The only rider to come to grief was Michael Baker on Bolinda Toyzam. This combination retired here as Mike unfortunately had became entangled in his mount's hooves. No serious damage was sustained, however, as he completed a good round later on his Open Intermediate horse, Marine Park Darcy.

The leader after the dressage phase in the Gillette Open Intermediate was Amanda Ross on Wynella Rialto on 54.9 penaty points. She was closely followed by Erin Hands on Negative Blaze and Ross Spalding on Speedy-A-Go-Go who were tied for second place on 55.8. Unfortunately Amanda and Wynella Rialto lost their lead after the cross country incurring 67.6 faults. When Speedy-A-Go-Go had 68.4 penalties, the stage was set for Negative Blaze. Erin sealed the win with only 5 penalties in the showjumping. The final placings were Erin Hands/Negative Blaze, Ross Spalding/Trilogy, Amanda Ross/Otto Schumaker, David Middleton/R.U.N.V.S, Michelle Hayes/Badge Of Honour & Olivia Bunn/G.V. Pontoon.

The leader after the dressage in the Duracell Novice class was Holly Parker on Secret Squirrel. Holly retained the lead after the cross country but a disappointing 20 penalties in the showjumping dropped her to 8th. The showjumping phase proved quite influential in this class as scores were very close after the cross country. The winner, Imtiaz Anees on Spring Invader, placed 3rd after the dressage finished on his dressage score. This was a very popular win as Imti, from India, has based himself in Australia in a bid to represent India at the Olympic Games in September. Lest anyone is wondering how a Novice horse could be eligible for the Olympics, Imti and Spring Invader completed a clear round in the Three Star at last year's Adelaide International 3DE thereby qualifying them for the Olympics. Second place went to Nigel Thompson on Lonsdale Chaos, third to the president of the Tonimbuk Horse Trials Commitee, Ian Balfour riding the bay mare, The King's Romance and fourth to Meg McNaught on Time Will Tell.

Vanda Morgan and Coastal Ties treated us to an all the way win in PreNovice A. Second place in this class went to Robert Goodwin on Northern Cosmo followed by Eileen Randone on Aquatilla in third.

PreNovice B was won by Erin Anderson on her Aristocratic Lad, second to Kerrie Hardman on Arturro and third to Vanessa Canning on Fire Invader.

Winners in Training 2, were Hollie Gilbert on Aris Jester and Zoe Clark riding Silent Heights while the Training 3 winners were Simone McDonald on Newky Brown and Andrew Brown riding Copper Cobber. Presentations were mounted for all placegetters in these classes and competitors made an excellent effort for the sponsors. It was certainly a wonderful sight as the horses cantered their victory lap.

Despite some delays in the results being posted the event ran very smoothly. The cross country course was held up for about 30 minutes whilst the helicopter ambulance landed to take Pagan Davies to hospital. Pagan had sustained a heavy fall from Double Bass in the Open Intermediate. The doctor suspected a broken rib which perhaps had punctured a lung and decided to take no risks. At last report, Pagan was in a stable condition.

List of Sponsors (to whom the Organising Committee are VERY grateful) GILLETTE, Pakenham Produce, Horseland, Mal Byrne Master Saddler, Robert Portbury Road Construction & Maintenance, S & J Horsepower, Hardy's Mitre 10 - Pakenham