By Devon van Til
South Island's Junior and Young Rider teams jumped across the ditch to compete against the Victorians over the weekend 29-30 July.
South Island Junior Rider Team:
South Island Young Rider Team:
This exchange has occurred for the last twelve years and was established to give our riders experience competing in a team environment overseas to prepare them for further National team representation. It has also created a great camaraderie between the South Island and Victorian young riders over the years, with the annual competition taking place alternatively in the two countries.
For the first time the exchange was held outside of our competition season to fit in with the Hygain Open Junior and Young Rider Show held at the Werribee Park National Equestrian Centre. This put the South Island in the underdog position when most of our riders had not competed since the end of the New Zealand season.
This did not stop the South Island riders from pulling off a strong performance over the weekend. For the first time a Junior Rider team was included in the exchange, much to the benefit of the South Island.
Day one was turned upside down when severe gale winds forced the abandonment of the Victorian squad trainings and moved the competition to be run indoors in the evening.
South Island Young Rider team captain Harry Feast won the coin toss, which put the pressure on the Australian Junior Riders up first. They succumbed to this pressure with two riders being eliminated in the first round. All the South Island juniors had to do was gain 3 live scores, in which they did comfortably to win day one without needing to complete a second round.
The Young Riders were up next with a great quality of pool horses, which were matched to riders by their experienced coach Kate Cavanagh. This made for a close competition and an excellent display of riding. The first round saw the two teams drawn on just four faults. The Victorian's showed fabulous form in the second round with the entire team jumping clear. The South Island young riders were very unlucky to have the lightest rail fall to finish second by four faults.
The weather was much better on day two, so the competition moved back outdoors. The pools of horses were swapped over to create a fair competition. The South Island juniors were up first with the pressure on to finish with live scores on horses that had not made it around the course the day before.
They all rose to the occasion with advice from their knowledge coach Fiona Gillies, to guide their horses well over both rounds and finish four faults ahead of the Victorian's to win day two.
The South Island Young Riders were not so lucky on day two, struggling with some tired horses over a substantial course. More rails came down from both teams in the first round; however the Victorians achieved three clears in the second round to win day two.
The overall championship was judged under Nations Cup rules where all faults are accumulated and this saw the South Island come out on top to take home the impressive trophy.
The South Island riders were very grateful to the organisers of the event and the generous owners who lent their horses for the exchange. They look forward to reciprocating the favour when they host Victoria in the South Island this coming season.
South Island vs. Victoria Junior and Young Rider Exchange
Junior Rider day 1: South Island (Florence Tapley - Sanskirt Park Serene, Kaitlin Feast - Kendalee Ratini, Grace O'Sullivan - Wondaree Ruped, Jaimee Bird - Miss Dalfyne) 1, Victoria (Georgia Moodie - Topcard, Kendall Richards - Blackall Park Surprise, Jessica Grant - Second Edition SL, Darcy Wade - Bamboo Harvester) 2.
Young Rider day 1: Victoria (Nina Griffiths - Quick and Lively, Max Height - Flint Hill, Binni Greig - Kiewa, Joel Pearce - Jokerman) 1, South Island (Luci Askin - Mr Zizou, Kimberley Bird - Cavalier Cudos, Steffi Whittaker - Winnemaker, Harry Feast - Luxenberg) 2.
Junior Rider Day 2: South Island (Florence Tapley - Bamboo Harvester, Kaitlin Feast - Blackall Park Surprise, Grace Oâ€™Sullivan - Second Edition SL, Jaimee Bird - Topcard) 1, Victoria (Georgia Moodie - Miss Dalfyne, Kendall Richards - Wondaree Ruped, Jessica Grant - Kendalee Ratini, Darcy Wade - Sanskirt Park Serene) 2.
Young Rider Day 2: Victoria (Nina Griffiths - Winnemaker, Max Height - Luxenberg, Binni Greig - Cavalier Cudos, Joel Pearce - Mr Zizou) 1, South Island (Luci Askin - Jokerman, Kimberley Bird - Flint Hill, Steffi Whittaker - Quick and Lively, Harry Feast - Kiewa) 2.
Overall Championship: South Island 1, Victoria 2.