A green oasis contrasted against hot and dry conditions greeted competitors on the opening day of competition at the 2014 Australian International Horse Trials staged at Adelaide’s iconic Victoria Park. Day one action saw the first riders in the Horseland CCI2* take to the arena and at the conclusion of day one it is NSW combination Christine Bates and Kung Fu Panda GP currently sitting in the lead with a tidy score of 47.50.

Christine Bates of NSW and her horse Kung Fu Panda GP – leaders of the Horseland CCI2* at the Australian International Three Day Event. Image credit: Kangra.

Christine Bates of NSW and her horse Kung Fu Panda GP – leaders of the Horseland CCI2* at the Australian International Three Day Event. Image credit: Kangra.

The first rider out for the day was South Australian Olympian Megan Jones on the horse Kirby Park Grand Impressions, one of four horses she will ride at this year’s event.  Upon reflection of her test Jones said, “It was actually really good, but I didn’t quite get the score I was after. He has come a long way from where he started and I was really pleased with him.”

It looked very unlikely that Jones and her second ride in the CCI2* – Kirby Park Invader would be up in the ranks after the young horse took an extreme disliking to the main arena screen. But together they pulled off a test to see them finish day one in second position with a score of 48.50.

Queensland’s Eleanor Osborne and Highborne Rocker are currently in third with a score of 49.40.

Jones has three horses in the Horseland CCI2* and is riding her prized Kirby Park Allofasudden in the CCI4*, the horse which she took to the London 2012 Olympic Games but had to withdraw at the eleventh hour due to a minor injury.

“I am so excited to have him here and he is feeling great. I am just so happy he is keen to be back and doing so well.

“He is a great horse and if I ride him right and keep his hair on we should do alright.”

The weather forecast for Friday predicts cooler conditions for the remainder of the field in the Horseland CCI2* and those taking part in the CCI4* – the second leg of the 2014/15 FEI Classics.

The CCI4* field comprising 14 combinations is diverse in experience with a balanced mixture of first timers. The Olympian in the field, Megan Jones hasn’t competed in the CCI4* at Adelaide since 2011.

The globetrotter of the class is Victoria’s Seumas Marwood (Wild Oats) who is set to embark on his third CCI4* of the year, after starting in the Badminton (GBR) and Luhmühlen (GER) Horse Trials. Marwood also has the added honour of being the only male in the field.  Both Keira Byrnes (Fox Hill) and Soigne Jackson (Gold) have returned to Adelaide and are fronting up for their 4th consecutive Adelaide CCI4*.

Although Queenslander Isabel English is the youngest competitor in the class, she will not be taken lightly by her fellow competitors and will be eager to improve on last year’s CCI4* debut which saw her finish in 12th on her 12 year old gelding Feldale Mouse. English is the only competitor to have entries in the CCI4*, CCI2* and the Young Rider division.

Friday promises plenty of action and entertainment with dressage competition continuing throughout the day and polo in the evening with the twilight staging of the Grant Burge Wines Polo in the Park.

Day two action starts at 9am. Tickets are available at the venue box office on Fullarton Road or via Ticketek

For more information and full results from day one please visit the event website:  australian3de.com.au

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