Ok so we are home and have slept for about 7 hours straight so here at last is the national Champs wrap up!
For starters it was super to qualify all three of our competition horses for the National Dressage Championships, despite having not one but TWO CHESTNUT MARES! Its good to see that we've been consistently performing throughout the year and we are on track in our training. Even though I have been a National level competitor for many years now, the thrill of being accepted into his elite group of Australian riders is humbling every time. Respect champs! Also finally got a guernsey on the NSW State Team after many years of service, thanks to brilliant Maggie pony!
We had a terrific show this year starting with Princess Margaret (Miss Divine M) receiving two beautiful 71% scores in the Novice for a win and a second place, missing out on the National Championship by less than 1/2 a percent. Maggie backed up by winning the Elementary 3.2 the next day with a 69% but in the 3.3 we had to move her test time to last so I could get through Toby's trot up and she had to go alone in the worst weather, and also was irrecoverably affected by a couple pelicans performing a mating dance that I hadn't planned on. Awkward! She still did a great job though placing 7th and greatly enhanced her popularity all week, even securing a coveted cover girl spot in the Herald Sun newspaper! It was great to have such a good show with her as she really is a top quality homebred pony and we have done a heap of work on her fitness, nutrition and training this year, it's great that it's bearing fruit and she looks a million dollars.
Special mention for Scarlett (Grenadine) whilst she wasn't in the money in the Novices she didn't put a foot wrong and really let me ride her in this huge atmosphere and was even noticed by a few who know. She's so much better every competition, and so much help when we got the Mag E dose just right too Philippa Kohnke! She really is a baby GP horse and showed it the next day when I took her through her paces. I'm really looking forward to bringing another one through to that level and theres no doubt in my mind that she's the one, especially with three of her siblings in the FEI classes already she's in great company and its fantastic to see that she's finally settling down the little hot rev head! She's been a challenge no by far the hottest horse we've ever had (this is a HUGE call!) but I love the funny little red girl and shows what unwavering faith (sometimes misplaced we thought!) and commitment can deliver. Go Scarlie!
Toby was as always a star, our intention was to make NO mistakes after some uncharacteristic ones at Willinga Park a couple weeks before and Toby nailed it. The only problem was when I lost focus ("ooohh shiny!") in the two times changes in the GPS on the last day and stuffed up! Poor Toby, you could see him actually roll his eyes...especially as it cost him a very good placing.
He was a beauty though, and the tweaks that I've been making in his training regime has benefited him greatly, he's so much stronger and better in his frame now, more in self carriage, more forward, expressive and uphill. Hopefully the marks will come to reflect this going forward.
He really is a great horse and it was lovely to have heaps of positive feedback from so many knowledgeable people, including fellow GP competitors and FEI judges, throughout the four days of GP competition, we need a people's choice award for tobes! Big thanks to so many people who helped us, special mention to the always positive Parbs and my dear mate, the brilliant Gary Lung, my little bestie Holly Cutler and Kylie Riddell who gave me a total boost at this comp.
Most of all it was awesome to catch up with so many of my dressage family, including Team Tassie, Team Albury, Sue Robbins dressing gown, and the champs behind the scenes who work their butt off to ensure that this was a fantastic Championships at a perfect venue. Thanks Fiona Selby for making everything happen, loved the Can Do approach that we felt, as well as the strong focus on being for the riders and their horses, it obviously stems from the attitude of management and it was really positive. That allows riders to do the best job possible and really enjoy the experience besides which we really did (particularly the riders party Sat night...that was gold!)
And of course a massive thanks to my brilliant sponsors Equissentials who provide all our stylish riding apparel and horse ware, Hiscocks Saddleworld who provide our Carl Hester PDS range of saddles that allow all my horses to dance so beautifully in perfect comfort, and of course the family team at Kohnke's Own who have prodded the game changing supplements such as Muscle XL for topline and strength, Gastrocoat that keeps Scarlett from transforming into an unrideable fire breathing dragon, their Cell Grow and Cell Perform vitamin and mineral supplement that all our horses receive from birth to Grand Prix, and their joint supplements that keep all my horses sound for so many years competing at the highest level. Thank you!!!
Of course I must thank Beck Kent my great friend who groomed like a pro and the horses looked like they were ready for the Garryowen! She even organised me, no mean feat, and kept the positive vibes going to the last! love ya babe, thanks SO MUCH. Thanks also to the Homegirls! Who let us go and embrace the Champs and leave all the crap at home to you guys! Literally couldn't do it without you!
Finally thanks to my super horses, you are brilliant, beautiful, humbling and awesome champions that I adore totally, win, lose or draw, whatever you do. Thanks for training me so well! Thank you xxx