Dressage comes of age
Dressage New Zealand is at the start of a new era, with the announcement of its first HP squad. On the squad are Penny Castle and Magnus Spero, Julie Brougham and Vom Feinsten, Vanessa Way and KH Arawn, and John Thompson and Bates Antonello – who was bred and produced by Louisa Hill, and competed with her at the 2012 Olympics.
Dressage selector and HP adviser Helen Hughes-keen says that it marks a coming of age in the sport.
“It’s fantastic – these are the best performers we have ever had.”
It was only in March that a New Zealand dressage combination cracked the all-elusive 70% mark for a Grand Prix test, with Penny and Magnus Spero’s efforts at the Horse of the Year Show.
At the same show, Julie and Vom Feinsten notched up an Australasian record in the GP freestyle with 76.025%, and a New Zealand record in the GP Special, 69.941%.
“I think generally, our whole performance has improved,” says Helen. “We have always had good horses, but now our riding and training has gone to a new level… we have upped our game.”
Magnus Spero and Vom Feinsten are imported horses, while Arawn and Antonello are New Zealand-bred, both by Anamour.
Also named was an accelerator squad, comprising Penny and BL About Time, Wendi Williamson and Dejavu MH, Tracy Smith and Don Diego, and Catherine West and Anarocz.
Meanwhile, England-based Shiwon Green is delighted to have been selected as the first New Zealand rider to compete at the prestigious World Breeding Champs for Young Dressage Horses, to be held from August 4-9 in Germany.
She will ride her Oldenburg gelding F1 (Floriscount/ Roadster); the pair had a great start to their competitive career last season including a score of 88% to qualify for the ‘potential international’ class at the British Dressage National Champs.