It was another beautiful day in Melbourne for Day Two of EQUITANA, which saw crowds arriving in droves for an action-packed schedule of competition, education and shopping galore.
With EQUITANA Melbourne well and truly underway, Friday saw a diverse program from Show jumping to Barrel Racing to the always entertaining Couples Challenge. The flood of spectators lived through every turn, twist, jump and weave that the day had to offer.
The Australian Open CDI-W Dressage Grand Prix got proceedings underway in the morning with Mary Hanna taking out the top two placings with Sancette (68.600%) and Umbro (68.580%) respectively and Lesley Anne Taylor riding Amicelli (68.200%) placing third. All riders will automatically qualify for the Saturday Night evening entertainment – the EQUITANA Australian Open CDI-W Dressage Freestyle.
The Mounted Games continued in the Rowville Competition Arena with Heat 2 of the competition. Today’s honours were taken out by South Australia with a score of 49, followed by Western Australia on 46 and Victoria scoring 39. This brought the cumulative scores up to 94 for Western Australia, 86 for South Australia and 78 for Victoria ahead of Heat four on Saturday afternoon.
Think Fencing Arena played host to the Australian Brumby Challenge Pattern Class, which was taken out by Rachel Clarkson and VBA Maximus, young gun Jack Purcell with VBA Hotham placed second and South Australian sensation Pauly Daniel rounded out the top three.
The Australian Open Barrel Racing Championship saw the crowd on the edge of their seats as riders flew around the drums at break-neck speed to achieve the fastest time. With only 0.022 seconds separating first from third every inch counted. Michelle O’Niell proved that EQUITANA Melbourne is a happy hunting ground taking out the event in 16.766 seconds with Squiggles, Cindy Marsh and Sue were hot on their heels with a time of 16.778 seconds and Dakota Michaelis riding Ransom placed third with 16.788 seconds.
Ex-racehorses were put through their paces in the Off The Track Show Jumping Showcase. Louise Abey on King Cruz were the only combination to jump clear and take out the competition, with Bianca Austin on Kieta second and Kate Beadel riding Who Knew finishing third. Austin and Beadel each knocked a rail in the three way jump off, handing Abey the win.
The Rowville Competition Arena was transformed into a racetrack for the Pairs Carriage Driving competition. Andrew Pollock driving Wylandra Chloe and Whylandra Poppy ended the day on top, with Phil Marshall driving Pepper and Meg coming second, and BlackJack and Abergavenny Razzle Dazzle pulling Gavin Robson into third position.
Rising Stars Young Rider Show Jumping proved that the future of Australian show jumping is in safe hands with an impressive ride from Jasmine Dennison with Bubble & Squeak awarding her a clear win. Brooke Langbecker riding Flowervale Diamond took out second place while Jacob Wells riding PB Poets Corner rounded out the top three.
Closing out the day was the hotly contested EQUITANA Australian Open Show Jumping CSI-W Final. From eerie silence to deafening eruptions, the crowd were on the edge of their seats riding every jump as the riders took on the course. The field of elite riders from all over the Australia did not disappoint – Billy Raymont riding Anton were crowned the Australian Open winners riding two foot perfect clear rounds in the fastest time. Steven Hill and Yalambi’s Bellini Star placed second a mere 0.11 behind the winner and James Arkins aboard Da Vinci’s Pride rounded out the top three.