Show Manager Cook said though she’s not allowed to ride in the show, she had her favorite moments of a different kind. "We had a Pas de Deux scheduled on Sunday, but one of the riders had to drop out. Janne Rumbough filled in for her. She had one hour to learn the choreography. She rode her Wallony with Johnny Robb’s Mr. Boombastic." The pair scored 69% and, as sole entries in the division, took the blue. According to Cook, it was a boon to the show to have the Pas de Deux ride go on as scheduled because the biggest crowds turned out for the musical rides on Sunday. "Spectators love freestyles," said Cook.
She added that another highlight for her were the bouquets of roses that Forget Me Knots of Wellington donated for the winners of the Grand Prix Special and the Grand Prix Freestyle. "There was a bouquet of red roses and one of delicious, creamy ivory ones I would have loved to take home," she said. "They brought them in the morning, but next year we hope to have people from Forget Me Knots in the ring to present the flowers."
Cook also noted that the show hosted quite a few young riders and some first-time competitors. "Our participants were wonderful. They were courteous and friendly and made the new riders feel welcome."
Monica Fitzgerald was the Show Secretary and 35 volunteers from the Gold Coast Dressage organization served as scribes, runners, hospitality hostesses, and gate stewards. The hospitality tent was an especially nice touch for riders and spectators. They were welcome in the tent to check out the scores as well as the array of refreshments.
Cook said that for many years, Ingrid Pollak had graciously hosted the Gold Coast Opener at her farm in White Fences. Last year was the first time the GCO was held at the Palm Beach show grounds. This year, in rings right next to the dressage show, a pre-Winter Equestrian Festival hunter/jumper show was in full swing, which Show Manager Cook found to be a plus. "It was interesting to be with the hunter/jumpers. It gives more diversity for the spectators." Cook said. She added, "The most unique thing about the show grounds in Wellington is that the tents are very close to the arenas. The whole stabling area for our show was right near the rings."
Overall, Cook was quite pleased with the show and said, "We had perfect weather this year. We had a good number of spectators, great participants, and really nice horses. We look forward to the next show and having a great time."