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Close Competition in Para-Dressage

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Para-dressage is on the rise . . . and that pleases new sport manager Judy Alderdice.

Competition in several grades at the NRM Horse of the Year Show was incredibly tight -  

Grade II champ Chontelle Honour (Rotorua) aboard Letz Dance was just .5 points ahead of reserve Aimee Prout (Tauranga) on Celtic Diamond. Prout was a bit of an upset winner in the freestyle, but as a new combination, she and Celtric Diamond have been steadily improving, so could never be discounted.

“While they didn’t win either of their other two tests, it’s really nice to see them finish the season on a high,” says Alderdice.

Also starring was Rachel Stock (Pokeno) who is no stranger to the grade III title with Bates Rimini Park Emmerich. Once again it was a hotly-fought contest, but in the end Stock pulled five points ahead of reserve Anne Watts (Auckland) and Craighaven Allanon.

In grade IV Jo Jackson (Rotorua) was battling against herself with her horses Nonchalant and JD Flash, and finished with just .5 of a point between the two.

Nonchalant has been very consistent this season, but it was Flash who won at the North Islands Championships and the two have been getting closer and closer in their results.

Alderdice was very pleased with the number and calibre of entries at HOY, particularly as many other riders are on young horses and couldn’t compete at the pinnacle show.

The exception was Nicola Essex (Auckland) who almost didn’t make it. Her saddle and other gear was stolen with her car the day before she had planned to leave for HOY.

True to form, there was a huge rallying around by other riders, with offers of gear, rides and anything she needed.

“It was so amazing,” says Alderdice.

Complicating the issue was that para gear can be very specific to each rider. Essex rode in a borrowed saddle and was incredibly happy with how the youngster coped with the atmosphere at HOY.

“She knew they wouldn’t be in the placings, but achieved what they had set out to do.”

Alderdice expects next HOY to include many of the newer combinations from this season, who will by then be far more established.

“I was delighted with the show,” she says. “The riders all go so much out of it.”

A highlight for many of the riders was to be presented their ribbons while mounted on their “The riders really appreciated that.”

Alderdice only took up her position in early November and since has had three major shows. It helped she has more than 20 years experience running shows and is entrenched in the world of dressage.

Results -


Grade IA, champion: Jodie Thorne (Tauranga), San Mateo Tech Effects.

Grade IB, champion: Charlotte Hoonhout (Auckland) Amarante.

Grade II, champion: Chontelle Honour (Rotorua) and Letz Dance. Reserve: Aimee Prout (Tauranga) Celtic Diamond.

Grade III, champion: Rachel Stock (Pokeno), Bates Rimini Park Emmerich. Reserve: Anne Watts (Auckland) Craighaven Allanon.

Grade IV, champion: Jo Jackson (Rotorua), Nonchalant. Reserve: Jo Jackson (Rotorua) JD Flash.

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