By Devon van Til
The first weekend of summer was a stunner in Waimate for the SCNO show jumping 2-3 December. The sun was shining and temperatures were so high that jackets were optional in most classes. Another shining star of the weekend was young rider Steffi Whittaker, showing her consistency winning and placing in her classes over the weekend.
Whittaker on her new mount Eros K were the only double clear in the FMG Young Rider to claim the win. Close rival Jaimee Bird and Double J Wilma were the only other combination through to the jump off and had to settle for second place. The Roger Laplanche designed course was never going to be easy, especially with a number of related lines included from the FEI World Challenge course which featured later in the day.
Jackets were back on for the Gmeuro.com sponsored FEI World Challenge Final Round. Whittaker was planning on a top performance in this round to drop her second round results and add to her first round win. She did just that, producing a fabulous double clear with a slick time in the second round aboard Ngahiwi Cruise. Hot on her heels was Kerry Winterbourn and Gingerlily finishing just 0.22 seconds slower and acquiring bridesmaid position. This performance gave Whittaker the win overall for the South Island Competition.
Again Whittaker found herself finishing within a second of her competitor in the Dunstan Horsefeeds & Equifibre Junior Rider. In a competitive jump off of eight combinations she gave it everything and her mare Tribute OL tried her hardest. However this time round she was a fraction slower than Annabel Francis and Catapult Xtreme who completed an unbeatable jump off to claim their first win in the series.
Another class with a competitive number through to the jump off was the Dunstan Horsefeeds & Equifibre Pro Am. Seven combinations were through with four posting double clears. The fastest jump off came from Devon van Til aboard Winterberg coming home in 43.06 seconds. The following two riders Gus Taylor and Kirsty Sharapoff gave it a crack, trying to better the time. They fell just short and uniquely completed in the same time of 44 seconds flat to finish second equal.
The Grand Prix classes were over a testing course, especially with the last line comprising of a double to an upright to an oxer, all on a tough curve and up to height. In the Country TV Pony Grand Prix only one rider succeeded in tackling the challenge. Rosa Buist-Brown and Junior Disco accomplished a clear round to take the win ahead of Grace Manera and Pippa Collins who each had an unfortunate rail to finish second and third respectively.
Harry Feast and Double J Bouncer continued their consistency and gained the only double clear in the Dunstan Horsefeeds & Equifibre Horse Grand Prix. Feast and Nicole White aboard LC Samson were the two combinations through to the jump off. Feast set the benchmark with a tidy clear round. White carved a second of his time, but paid for it with one rail down, handing Feast the win.
Dunstan Horsefeeds & Equifibre Horse Grand Prix: Harry Feast (West Melton) Double J Bouncer 1, Nicole White (Invercargill) LC Samson 2,Tegan Fitzsimon (West Melton) Double J Monarch 3, Chris Harris (West Melton) Glenbrooke Archie Bunker 4, Lucinda Askin (Ashburton) Portofino 5, Steffi Whittaker (Springston) Eros K 6.
Country TV Pony Grand Prix: Rosa Buist-Brown (Burnham) Junior Disco 1, Grace Manera (West Melton) Rednalhgih Cowan 2, Pippa Collins (Palmerston) Waiotahi Belle 3, Holly Crean (Mt Selfe) Ellen Vanin Untouchable4, Jordan van Miltenburg (Southland) Harrison James5,Noah Coutts (Dunedin) Bizzie Canoodling6.
FMG Young Rider: Steffi Whittaker (Springston) Eros K 1, Jaimee Bird (Ashburton) Double J Wilma 2, Kate Beattie (Dunedin) Smartymarty 3, Lucinda Askin (Ashburton) Portofino 4, Grace Percey (Glenorchy) Kiwi Spirit 5, Makenzie Causer (Christchurch) Elleway GNZ 6.
Dunstan Horsefeeds & Equifibre Pro Am: Devon van Til (Woodend Beach) Winterberg 1, Gus Taylor (Ohoka) Oak As 2=, Kirsty Sharapoff (Christchurch) Shoot The Breeze 2=, Kerry Winterbourn (West Melton) Gingerlily 4, Georgina Dormer (Christchurch) Bravados NZPH 5, Emma Power (Christchurch) Flirtini 6.
Dunstan Horsefeeds & Equifibre Junior Rider: Annabel Francis (Darfield) Catapult Xtreme 1, Steffi Whittaker (Springston) Tribute OL 2, Sophie Townsend (West Melton) Kingslea Kiwi 3, Rosa Buist-Brown (Burnham) Prestige 4, Annabel Francis (Darfield) La Quinara5, Rohan Tennekoon (West Melton) Elysium GNZ 6.
Caledonian Holdings Amateur Rider: Tyler McKee (Waikaia) Lumarzo 1, David Hutton (Pleasant Point) Rolux 2, Jessica Paul (Otago) Kuriwao Hawke 3, Zoe Shore (Ashburton) Burberry 4, Emily Harrison (Kaiapoi) Midnight Promise Me 5, Carissa McGregor (West Melton) Blytheburn Coruba 6.
FEI World Jumping Challenge South Island Final Round: Steffi Whittaker (Springston) Ngahiwi Cruise 1, Kerry Winterbourn (West Melton) Gingerlily 2, Olivia Harkerss (Leeston) Lacona Ammoe 3, Devon van Til (Woodend Beach) Winterberg 4, Georgina Dormer (Christchurch) Bravados NZPH 5, Kirsty Sharapoff (Christchurch) Shoot The Breeze 6.
FEI World Jumping Challenge South Island Final Round Best Presented: Kirsty Sharapoff (Christchurch) Shoot The Breeze
FEI World Jumping Challenge South Island Overall: Steffi Whittaker (Springston) Ngahiwi Cruise 1