The Saddleworld Dressage Festival was held at Werribee Park NEC from the 9- 12 December and incorporated the 2010 Victorian Dressage State Championships, the Pacific League World Cup Final, the Marcus Oldham College Aachen Challenge and Young Horse qualifiers for the 2011 Dressage With The Stars (for more - go to)
Eva from 4 Aces really got behind the Pony Dressage and donated two service contracts to the European Riding Pony, Power Boy, Valued at $1900.00 each. They went to the two highest scoring ponies at the event The recipients were Aspen Way Gala Night and Wingana Chatterbox. The Australian Sports Pony Regiistry (ASPR) donated 4 woollen trophy rugs for the winners of the Pony Championships. Entry numbers were good with some strong contenders vying for the titles. The entries are on the improve, as is also the quality. 15 ponies took part at Preliminary level, 18 Novice entries, 10 contested the Elementary tests and while 3 were entered at Medium - only 1 tok part on the day.
Aspen Way Gala Night (above and right) was awarded the Novice Pony Championship with a win in the Novice 2B (both judges placing him 1st). He followed up with a narrow win in the Novice 2C (placing 1st and 2nd). Reserve Champion Novice Pony went to Lynlea Pantomine (x Silkwood Puss N Boots), ridden by Anne Smiley, always a strong contender in the major awards. With two 2nds from the judges in the 2B, the judges differed their opinions in the 2C with Pantomine placing 1st and 12th for an eventual 5th overall.
This was by no means an isolated case in differing opinions. The Prelminary 1C for the horses saw some results varying so widely that you really had to wonder if they were judging the same test! One horse was placed 1st and 30th, another was 4th and 33rd and yet another saw two different horses, both of them achieving the same placings of 8th and 23rd. Is one right and the other wrong or are they both wrong? These issues will no doubt be addressed by the Dressage Judges Committee in the near future.
The Novice level standard is on the improve with a few excellent sores in the mid to high 60%, a testament to the correct training being put in by the riders of these ponies.
Aspen Way Gala Night had a stellar competition by also taking out the Elementary Pony Championship. He placed 3rd overall in the 3B with one judge placing him 2nd and the other 4th. In the 3C he placed 1st and 2nd to be equal 1st following the completion of the test.
ASPR 1st Premium stallion, Fleur de Lys Jack Daniel with his rider/owner Kerrie Ford won Reserve Champion Elementary pony with a win in the 3B (both judges placing him 1st) and a 4th place in the 3C (placed 3rd & 4th by judges). Well done to Kerrie on all of the work she has done with Daniel as he has been turning in some very respectable scores and results over the past 12 months. Kerrie is hoping to start Daniel at Medium level next year.
The depth of the sand on the outside track in Ring 5 seemed to overwhelm several of the ponies in the Elementary 3C with some looking a little tired and flat. Some nice work shown but a few appeared to be out of their depth at this level on the day. Missing to a great degree was forward, collection and self carriage. This was by no means limited to the ponies, some of the Elementary horses were experiencing a similar situation.
The Pony Preliminary tests were held on the last day with Wingana Chatterbox (x Owendale Percival - Pictured left) ) ridden by Isabella Godfrey winning the Championship with a 1st in the 1B (1st & 3rd from the two judges) and a 4th in the 1C (again a bit of a discrepancy in judging with one judge giving 1st and the other 12th).
Reserve Champion went to Thorpeville Dane (x Owendale Jolly Rodger) ridden by Case Arthur-Wise with a 1st in the 1B (1st & 3rd) and 5th in the 1C (2nd & 6th).
The Preliminary section was obviously a strong field with the majority of combinations scoring well into the mid to high 60% range.
Although there were 3 entries in the Pony Medium tests, the only pony that started was Barnhill Rebel Yell ridden by Samantha Dean.
See the Slide Show from the Pony Classes at the Saddleworld Dressage Festival
Go to more Saddleworld Dressage Festival News
Thanks to ASPR Registrar Margie Kuiper for this story
Pictures Berni Saunders and Margie Kuiper.