Kelly Van Dyk wins Dressage Young Rider of the Year for second time in a row

Article Index
Horse Of The Year

Kelly Van Dyk rocked it in the dressage oval today, just when it counted. Her expressive musical freestyle with Wolhkahn (Wolkie) secured her second consecutive Young Rider Horse of the Year title.

It was an added thrill for the Putaruru equestrian, as this is her last year eligible to compete at Young Rider level. “I’m really excited, it’s a huge thrill and Wolkie was just fantastic. He was great to ride, still quite forward but I was able to use that energy, rather than him using it against me.” The pair entered to Pirates of the Caribbean music and the test was lively and energetic all the way through. Van Dyk rode a clever test, with plenty of choreography challenges, keeping Wolkie firing right to her last halt.

Second placed Kate Welten (Cambridge) and Amajah impressed with their trademark extended trot, but lacked a little of the sparkle shown in winning the previous two days tests. While the Young Rider class is small (just five riders), it is always hotly contested. Van Dyk and Welten typically battle for supremacy all season.

This year’s results mirror last year’s exactly, with Welten and Amajah (Comet) winning the National Young Rider title and Van Dyk scooping the Horse of the Year title and Pam Weal trophy. “It’s really great to have such close competition,” says Welten. “It keeps us on our toes and we know that every mistake counts. Comet was a little tired today but I’m still really happy with him. He’s improved even since Nationals two weeks ago.”

Both girls now have Grand Prix level in their sights and plan to spend winter training on those more complex moves. While the New Zealand season is officially at an end, there’s no time for Van Dyk to rest just yet – she’s off to Australia next week with Wolkie to compete in Melbourne at Dressage with the Stars and then Sydney for the Sydney CDI***.

Young Rider Of The Year: Kelly Van Dyk (Putaruru), Wolhkahn; Kate Welten (Cambridge), Amajah.