Another Win Sanna at Bates Australian Dressage Championships

Rachael Sanna and Jaybee Alabaster at the awards ceremony with owner Bev Edwards, Sponsor Sandy Oatley (Hamilton Island), Chief Judge Stephen Clarke (GBR) (Photo: Franz Venhaus)
Rachael Sanna and Jaybee Alabaster at the awards ceremony with owner Bev Edwards, Sponsor Sandy Oatley (Hamilton Island), Chief Judge Stephen Clarke (GBR) (Photo: Franz Venhaus)

As always, the Hamilton Island FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI-W was the highlight of the Championships. One by one, each competitor performed their carefully choreographed tests. As always, the best were left to last. The last three competitors were Heath Ryan on Regardez Moi, New Zealand rider Louisa Hill on Bates Antonello and Rachael Sanna on Jaybee Alabaster. Heath managed to pull out of the hat a brilliant performance securing him third place with a score of 71.125. Second was Louisa Hill on her incredibly free moving horse, Bates Antonella, with a score of 72.275. The winner and most deserving combination were Rachael Sanna and her light footed partner, Jaybee Alabaster. The entire crowd were mesmerised as this combination created a performance and atmosphere that will not be forgotten for a long time in the world of Australian Dressage. Together, this horse and rider scored a well deserving score of 74.125.

Early in the morning the indoor arena was made ready for the freestyle competitions in all classes. Music was pumping from the main arena and filtering over the surrounding parklands. Outdoor, some horse and riders were up for an early morning workout while others had a relaxed walk stopping for the occasional picking of grass.

The Riders Shoppe Advanced Freestyle took place in the indoor arena mid morning. Second up was Brett Parbery on his new horse QEB Good as Gold (jointly owned with Caroline Lieutenant). Although there were a few mistakes, Brett managed to refocus and finish the test with flowing gaits and transitions. This gave them a score of 67.500, which put them in the lead. Brett managed to keep this position until his second ride on DP Weltmieser. This was a stunning ride, ending with a score of 73.417. At this stage Brett was holding the top two places. The second last combination, Tor Van Den Berge and the beautiful black stallion Lauries As also had a fault free ride. The audience gave this duo a large round of applause. Although Tor was obviously pleased with the test it wasn't quite good enough to knock Brett from the top position but it was good enough to be an extremely close second (72.167). Coming fourth was Amanda Shoobridge on the delightful Hanoverian Stallion Ferrero Rocher with a score of 67.250.

Next in the indoor was the Equestrian Australia Prix St Georges Challenge. This competition is a promotional competition showcasing Australia's up and coming FEI horses. The 12 highest ranked combinations from during the calendar year of the competition are eligible. Two Wild Card entries were also invited. Due to the criteria, all competitors have a good chance of to win the Challenge. Once again, Tor Van Den Berge on Lauries As and Brett Parbery on DP Weltmieser battled it for the title. Brett ended up being the winner by only half a percentage mark with a score of 68.158.

After an hour break, the Pryde's Easifeed FEI Intermediate Freestyle was under way. The seats started to fill with spectators settling in for the evening. There were nine riders from New South Wales, three from Queensland, two from Victoria and one from Western Australia. After two hours of strong competition, the place getters were decided. First was Sheridyn Ashwood on Prestige VDL with a score of 68.750. Second went to the very talented Alexis Hellyer on Waca W, scoring 67.900 and third went to the beautiful big chestnut gelding, Feramo K with Judy Dierks on top (67.650).

The Freestyle day finished close to 10.30 pm. In only another ten hours time it will all start again. The last day consists of the Novice, Advanced, Intermediate I, and the Grand Prix Special.