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  • Writer's pictureFran Cleland

Riders show what they're made of in challenging conditions

ABOVE: The advanced champions were Jessica Dertell and Kilimanjaro. Picture: ONE-EYED FROG PHOTOGRAPHY

THE weather threw everything it could at the competitors at the Spring Dressage Competition at Boneo Park last weekend.

It was a case of wait five minutes and it will change, with bursts of sun followed by rain and hail and cold winds.

But while dressage riders may look elegant and gentle, they are tough cookies and soldiered on to put in some good performances at the start of what promises to be a really busy season.

Jade Woodhead Butler and her long-time friend and work partner, Claire Graham, who is a Level four para rider, put together a strong program catering for all riders over two days.

Winners included Marvin Smink and Haya in the grand prix and his Hotruchels Taonga scored well at intermediate level.

Young rider Jessica Dertell continues to do well with a team of nice horses, and she won the advanced five B with Kilimanjaro and placing second to Charlie Welsh and Horizonte de Jeu in the under 25 years grand prix.

ABOVE: Melanie Diplock and Lacara competing in para grade five. Picture: ONE-EYED FROG PHOTOGRAPHY

In the para classes, Kylie Christian rode Belaire Cannavaro to win the freestyle class with a good score of 69.5 per cent. Other winners in the para classes were Kerry Murnane on Buka Mata and Melanie Diplock riding Lacara D.

Ponies keep mixing it well in all levels of dressage and Kristy Sparkes’ Welsh Cob, Mithril Velocity, finished at the head of a strong Prix St Georges test and another Mithril-bred pony, Velocity’s half sister, Mithril Vagabond ridden by Louise Maguire, won the intermediate B test.

Their breeder, Chris Milvain, is a long-time breeder of good Welsh Ponies and was one of the first to realise that they could be top quality dressage mounts.

It’s a bit early in the season to see numbers in the young horse classes, but the two in the five year-old-class, Jessica Dertell’s Volbeat and Hollands Bend Iona (shown by Tamara Lee who is being seen more in the dressage arena than the show ring of late) are both really nice youngsters that scored well. Click here for all scores from the weekend.

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