That the Grand Prix lineup can be missing two of its top combinations and still provide an excellent competition with scores to match is a coup for New Zealand dressage and the riders who work so hard to get to the top; not least Abbie Deken who chalked up a 72.9% score on KH Ambrose in the GJ Gardner Homes Musical Freestyle today that no-one could match, giving her the Dressage Horse of the Year title. "This win is huge," Deken said of her victory. "It has always been a dream of mine but the competition gets tougher every year."
John Thompson and JHT Antonello took second place (71.825) and the reserve title spot, while third went to Penny Castle on Magnus Spero, who also cracked the seventies with 70.95. Vanessa Way may have done the same had she not had a few hiccups in the tempi changes of her otherwise well-executed and high-degree-of-difficulty test, scoring 69.05. The Kur saw another personal best for Jody Hartstone and Lusitano stallion Ali Baba, occupying fifth place on 68.9, followed by William Millar and Raukura Satori MH (66.125) and Kate Tobin with I Like It (62.425).
The Level 8 title went to Susan Tomlin and Dancealong, with Paula Stuart and Aztec Lad reserve.
Caitlin Benzie and Rosari Royal Gem were the lone starters in the CDI-Y Freestyle class, scoring 68.275 and taking home the Young Rider crown.
A full rundown of the HOY action will be in next month's edition of the DNZ Online Bulletin.