Lakes and Craters Event Report
Lakes and Craters, Roycroft territory! One of Australia’s original three day events has been and gone for 2015. Again, this historic and Iconic event lived up to its reputation. A true test of horse and rider. The course situated just outside the Victorian Western Districts town of Camperdown, located in the volcanic crater of Lake Gnotuk. The spectacular and scenic cross country course designed by Michael Creber and Barry Roycroft, challenges both horse and rider as the course ascends, descends and traverses the sides of the crater. This year saw the successful introduction of an EvA80 class to the event, a real and valuable addition. Riders can now gain experience and bring horses all the way through the Equestrian Australia grades at this wonderful venue.
Whilst there were nearly 300 horses competing this weekend, numbers in the FEI classes were significantly down due to Adelaide 4 Star being on two weeks prior and Wallaby Hill falling on the same dates. Star class riders had no real incentive to bring their horses out and run them over hard going.
A clash of dates will always pose a dilemma for event organisers. If this iconic event is to continue and retain CCI status and prosper again, serious consideration must be given rescheduling the dates to provide for stronger entries in the international FEI classes.
A suggestion made by a number of riders was for the committee to seek a date in mid-October, possibly swapping with a non CCI/CIC event. This would provide riders intending to compete at Adelaide a final dress rehearsal, hit out and fitness run leading up to the prestigious Adelaide event.
Having said this, the organising committee and volunteers, headed by Troy and Jen Best did an amazing job. Not only did the event run smoothly but their efforts to accommodate and make riders and their support teams to feel welcome was greatly appreciated and the BBQ and get together on Friday night was wonderful as usual.
To the action, the event this year was under the control of the ever watchful eye of technical delegate Roger Kane. Trot up and presentation to the Grand Jury occurred Thursday. Friday riders were up early preparing their mounts for day 1 of competition, dressage with 5 rings in progress. The temperature quickly rose into the low thirties making conditions uncomfortable for all. The dressage competition is grass, the surface even and well prepared but unavoidably due to drought conditions this year, some competitors found the surface a little tricky and slippery. But at the end of the day given the hot dry and trying conditions there were some excellent scores on the board.
Seumus Marwood and his internationally campaigned mare Wild Oats chalked up an impressive score of 50.50 (66.34%), to lead the CCI 3 star class, setting a strong foundation to go into Saturdays cross country phase.
In the CCI 2 star Class, Sheridan Wilson riding her talented Artane Murphy came out of the blocks to post a dressage score of 51.30 (65.83%)
Courtney Fraser lead the CCI 1 star field with an impressive score of 47.70 (68.19) but the leader board was tightly pack with Callum Bukzac in fourth place on Joie Du Lys just three points away and this combinations strongest phases still to come!
Meg Bishop was on top of the Junior CCI 1 Star Leader board riding her Sovereign Venture with a score of 47.90.
In the CNC EvA105 class Adele De Krester was leading the way on the Stunning Grey Grandjany with 36.70 a full six points ahead of Edith Kane in second and third places on Maxicat and Pepperdene Pom Pot and hot on her heals was a squad of riders who could easily steal the show on their trusted mounts.
A little after 4:30pm the Bureau of Meteorology issued it’s weather forecast for Saturday with it a Hot weather warning for temperatures in the mid-thirties. The ever diligent Roger Cain Technical Delegate after discussion with the riders representatives called a must attend riders meeting and conditions for the coming day and horse preparation and care where discussed.
Saturday, cross country day, pay day, what every true eventer is there for, the thrill, the adrenaline rush, the challenge and the opportunity to partner with their mount and do what they love, travel in open country and jump. At 9:00am gallop and jump they did. As usual this course whilst fair has it’s challenges with a climb up the side of the extinct volcanic crater, long gallops across the crater, sharp turns and descents this course has it all a true three day test. It is just a magnificent. Saturday evening one of the CCI 1 Star riders said to me “this is real test or rider and horse, it’s not just a fancy dressage test with a gallop and a bit of jumping – I really feel like we did something today, this is a true three day!
So what did the leader board look like at the conclusion of the cross country phase?
CCI 3 Star, Seumus Marwood was still in the lead incurring no jumping penalties and 0.4 time penalties, again impressive with a score of 50.90
CCI 2 Star, Jaqui Bladier had moved into first place on 106.30 after picking up a bucket of time penalties. Sheridan Wilson, decided discretion was the better part of valour retiring to preserve Artane Murphy for another day
CCI 1 Star, Callum Bukzac moved into first place holding onto his dressage score of 50.70 to be a clear nine points ahead of second placed Natalie Peacock riding Calypso Melody. It must be mentioned, Callum, on his other mount Matavia Cheval got a little soggy coming off the plate at the bottom water only two fences from home.
Madeleine O’Callaghan riding Fernloch Allemande moved to the lead in the CCI Junior 1 Star with 53.20, Bessie Dimery a close second on Ruban Son, her score 54.60
CNC EvA105, it was Edith Kane leading the way on Maxicat on 43.60, Adele De Krester returning after an injury slipped back to second, just one point away on 44.70, Edith also held third possie on Pepperdene Pom Pot
The question now is how well riders and horses recover from the challenge of the heat and cross country.
Sunday morning presentation trot up to the grand jury and veterinary panel then onto show jumping. To the organising committees credit they had worked late into the night rotovating and watering the show jumping surface to make it as kind as possible to rider and horse. The surface rode well, was kind and held well, though a little dusty by the end of the day.
There were no real surprises in the show jumping
All in all, whilst numbers were significantly down in the FEI classes, Lakes and Craters 2015 was an extremely successful event and the organising committee and volunteers must be thanked and acknowledged for their hard work and efforts. We must remember equestrian sport would cease to exist if it was not for the army of volunteers who show up week after week.
CCI 3 Star: Seumus Marwood, Wild Oats went clear, clear to finish on 50.90, conceding just 0.4 penalties the entire three days, well done Seumus – impressive. Keira Barnes second with 77.00.
CIC 3Star: Tarryn proctor and her reliable ESB Irish Quest with 86.10
CCI 2 Star Jaqui Bladier and Ramirus held onto their cross country score of 106.30
CCI 1 Star: Callum Buczak and Joie Du Lys held their dressage score to win on a final score of 50.70
CCI Jnr 1 Star: Madeleine O’Callaghan, Fernloch Allemande score 53.20
CNC EvA105: Edith Kane and Maxicat 43.60, Edith also took second place with and Pepperdene Pom Pot on 48.60
CNC EvA95a: Evan Pettigrove, Koyuna Tactician, 47.20
CNC EvA95b: Nat Davies, Lucrezia Elmare, 42.00
CNC EvA95c: Chloe Jaksic, Bain Park Nebilio 48.30
CNC EvA80a: Jane Allen, Majestic Bud, 40.00
CNC EvA80b: Jenny Bowker,BMS Alexeah, 43.10
CNC EvA80c: Leah Rodwell, Tickawarra Reno, 37.80