A broad smile adorned the face of Briar Burnett-Grant as she was sashed the winner of the first titl
In one of the first classes at Equidays 2016, held at Mystery Creek, 40 horse and rider combinations stepped forward. The FEI Challenge was created to offer show jumpers in more remote countries the opportunity to compete in an international competition without having to leave their own country. All riders in the FEI World Jumping Challenge compete in the same size arena (65 x 45m) and over a course designed by an FEI appointed designer.
There were 18 clears in the first round which left it wide open for the second round over a new timed course. The morning sun turned to rain as the second round commenced in the early afternoon, perhaps deterring some of the starters from returning with nine no-shows. Briar Burnett-Grant entered the ring aboard her 2016 seven-year-old Horse of the Year title winner, Fibre Fresh Verona, for the second time with one thing on her mind, winning. Finishing with a time of 51.59 and all the rails in their cups gave her what she wanted.
Winner of the best presented in this class went to Maia Coster riding Landenfield, another young rider showing age is no barrier in this sport. Posting a time of 52.69 saw them claim second place.
Nicola Hammond riding Carlo I, Hannah Bodle on Whakanui De L’Amore and Laura Hilhorst on Boulevard II rounded out the top five respectively.
Another confident clear went to Georgia Lawrie riding SP Blue Eyed Ghost, who commented after her first round, “It feels like I’m going fast until I see a video. I need to go faster!” But the pair left all the rails up in a time of 55.98 to take 6th.
Andrew Daines, fresh from his win in the 3* at Taupo Spring Horse Trials put in two super clear rounds, albeit a little careful in the second to secure 7th place on Spring Panorama. Adding to this combination's confidence as they prepare for their journey to Adelaide International Horse Trials later in the month.
Last year’s winner, Christine Cornege had an uncharacteristic four faults in the first round, but paired with the experienced Varekai SL she managed a nail biting second round clear and in a time of 51.15. Only Charlotte Cotter riding Ngahiwi Best Wishes could beat their time and they did it in a blitzing 44.41 but an unfortunate rail cost them the win and they had to settle for 10th place.
Images will be for sale by the end of the weekend.
ShowCircuit images from Equidays are for sale at: www.showcircuit.photoshelter.com
Pip Hume images are available here: piphumephotography.photoshelter.com