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10th December 2012
Shelley Ross’s win in the Honda NZ CCI** was a very popular one. Finishing on her dressage score, Shelley scored an emphatic win on Coleraine Coaltown, finishing 8.9 penalties in front of Sam Taylor on Leo Degas.

Helensville based, Shelley has been involved in the equestrian scene for more years than she may care to admit, and has earned the respect of many of her peers. She and husband Chris run Woodhill Sands and have put in countless hours of work into the sport.

Shelley was quick to say that her win was a team effort and direct some of the glory to the horse’s owner, Jess Fieldes.

“I only took over the ride from Jess six weeks ago. Jess was overcommitted with work, and asked me to ride the horse. I’ve known him for a long time, as Jess worked for us while she was doing her nursing training.”

Jess, originally from Oamaru, is now a nurse at the Starship Hospital intensive care unit, and found that juggling such a high pressure career and riding horses competitively just wasn’t working.

Shelley and Coleraine Coaltown obviously get on well, with the combination leading from the dressage phase, and not collecting any further penalties during the three day competition. Sam Taylor, a veterinarian from Canterbury, had two rails in the showjumping, but had enough leeway to hold his second place. Donna Smith showed just how consistent and tough a competitor she is by finishing 3rd and 4th in the event on Britannica MVNZ and Henton Executive. Another Cantabrian, Emily Cammock, came 5th on Shaw Lee.

9th December 2012
A wonderful riding demonstration from Clarke Johnstone on Vincent saw the handsome combination take out the CCI* this afternoon at Puhinui.

“I am very happy with the horse, he went really well on all three phases and I’m thrilled.” Clarke has ridden the horse for the past four weeks since returning to New Zealand. He also rode him at last year’s event at Puhinui and also at Taupo.

Vincent’s owners, Alan and Heather Cato were obviously very delighted with their horse’s performance. In front of many wellwishers, Heather had to confess to her husband that she had promised Clarke if he won Puhinui she would pay for an upgrade when he flies back to England on the 3rd of January.

It isn’t just Clarke who will be England bound, as Alan confirmed “it looks like another horse might be going to England. We have a wonderful relationship with Clarke, and we are keen to continue supporting him.”

Vincent is a lovely looking 9 year old horse. “He’s now getting a well deserved rest. Vincent upgraded to 2* at Taupo, so he has had a big season” says Clarke.

Second placed was Tokoroa’s Sarah Young who put in one of the few clear rounds in the CCI* showjumping on High N Dry, finishing on her dressage score. Also putting in double clear jumping rounds over the weekend were 3rd and 4th placegetters, Jessica Woods on Defies Logic and Samantha Felton on Henton After Dark. Chloe Kennedy, on the cute Mustang Molly, lost her second place spot when she dropped two rails but finished 5th. Francesca Silver also produced two clear jumping efforts in the competition to be in 6th place.

Final results of CCI*
1. Clarke Johnstone, Vincent 50.9
2. Sarah Young, High N Dry, 51.5
3. Jessica Woods, Defies Logic, 54
4. Samantha Felton, Henton After Dark, 55.2
5. Chloe Kennedy, Mustang Molly, 56.1
6. Francesca Silver, Case in Point, 56.7

8th December 2012
Cross country at Puhinui International Horse Trials is always exciting, and this year bought fresh new dramas with the two CCI*** overnight leaders both falling. This has paved the way for young 20 year old Ashleigh Mckinstry from King Country to take the lead.

Ashleigh, riding the 12 year Pioneer Makokomiko, was the fastest on the cross country, incurring just .4 of a time fault and jumping every fence clear. This puts her 6.4 points in front of next best placed Just Chocolate, ridden by Donna Smith. Donna had led the competition after dressage on her other horse, Balmoral Sensation, but had a spectacular fall in the main arena over a large cart styled jump. Both horse and rider walked away with just bruises but Donna reports she will be fit to ride her other horses tomorrow.

Ashleigh was full of praise for her horse Pioneer Makokomiko. “It was a tricky track, but he went really well. He is clever, tries hard and he and I have a great partnership.” She is hoping his strong showjumping skills will be there tomorrow when faced with the 1.25cm showjumping track.

It wasn’t a good day for Annabel Wigley, who has travelled up from North Canterbury. On her first horse, NRM Enzo, she was eliminated for missing fence 23, a simple table. Then on her second horse, NRM Frog Rock, Annabel had a soft fall early in the course, ending her competition completely. Both horse and rider are unhurt.

Simon Gordon, riding Fletch.com is in third place, having a good round with 4.4 time penalties.

Ashleigh Mckinstry comes from deep King Country, being based on her parents’ farm 45 minutes from Taumarunui. The Mckinstry family bred Pioneer Makokomiko, and Ashleigh describes him as being “a monster to start with, he bucked both me and Mum off!” Since those days, with a lot of work, horse and rider have gone on to develop a very trusting relationship since they started eventing 6 years ago. They have been rising through the ranks steadily, although the horse only completed part of the last two seasons after injuries.

Ashleigh aims to one day get to the Adelaide 4* event, hopefully next year, all things going well.

In the CCI 2* the 3 leaders after dressage all put in excellent performances to retain their placings with none adding any penalties to their scores from the first day. Shelley Ross and her lovely horse Coleraine Coaltown made the course look easy. Hot on her heels is Sam Taylor, also putting in an excellent clear round on Leo Degas. Donna Smith with Britannica MVNZ is third.

Clarke Johnstone, temporarily back in New Zealand from his English base, gave a lesson in cross country riding in the CCI1*, retaining his lead with a faultless round. Chloe Kennedy on Mustang Molly also jumped clear and within the time to keep her second spot. Sarah Young and High N Dry are on third.

The last test will be the showjumping on Sunday. The CCI showjumping starts at 11am. Entry to the grounds is free.

Leaderboard after 3* after cross country are:
1. Pioneer Makokomiko, Ashleigh Mckinstry with 57.4
2. Just Chocolate, Donna Smith, 63.8
3. Fletch.com, Simon Gordon, 65.4
4. Moochi, Dannie Lodder, 73.8
5. Fontain, Monica Oakley, 75.6
6. Cortaflex Ski Whistler, Heelan Tompkins, 83
7. Alberta Tomba, Shelley Ross, 96.2

CCI**
1. Shelley Ross, Coleraine Coaltown, 47.2
2. Sam Taylor, Leo Degas, 48.1
3. Donna Smith, Britannica MVNZ, 54.1
4. Kirstin Kelly, Kakariki, 55.5

CCI*
1. Clarke Johnstone, Vincent, 46.9
2. Chloe Kennedy, Mustang Molly, 48.1
3. Sarah Young, High N Dry, 51.5
4. Annabel Wigley, NRM Cotswold, 53.1


CCI***: NZL-Donna Smith (BALMORAL SENSATION) 2012 NZL-Puhinui International 3 Day Event (Friday): CCI*** DRESSAGE-INTERIM: 1ST (46.4pts) (2nd is Annabel Wigley on NRM FROG ROCK with 55pts)


CCI**: NZL-Shelly Ross (COALRAINE COALTOWN) 2012 NZL-Puhinui International 3 Day Event (Friday): CCI** DRESSAGE-INTERIM: 1ST (47.2pts)


CCI*: NZL-Clarke Johnstone (VINCENT) 2012 NZL-Puhinui International 3 Day Event (Friday): CCI* DRESSAGE-INTERIM: 1ST (46.9pts) RESULTS: are here

7th December 2012
Balmoral Sensation has proved to be quite the sensation during the dressage phase of the Puhinui 3 Day Event, held today in Manukau. The second ride in the advanced class (CCI***) for Donna Smith, this exciting young horse has shown just how good he is by taking an 8.6 point lead.

South Islander, Annabel Wigley, also riding her second horse NRM Frog Rock, is in second place, just in front of veteran Bryce Newman on Bates Trademark. Donna on her other horse, Just Chocolate is in fourth place, with Ashleigh Mckinstry in 5th.

However, in eventing, it’s not over until the end of the showjumping phase on the third day, and with less than 20 points between the highest and lowest placed horse after the dressage, it still could be anyone’s competition.

While the weather was an improvement on the previous day’s appalling conditions, the cold, windy conditions were not ideal for dressage. The rain held off for the competitors in the CCI***, but no so for the other classes who all got a drenching at various times during the competition.

Helensville’s Shelley Ross on Coleraine Coaltown is leading the Honda New Zealand CCI** from another South Islander, Sam Taylor. Georgia Dufty is in third, with a tie for fourth between Angela Lloyd and Amanda Pottinger.

In the Veterinary Associates CCI*, international eventer Clarke Johnstone on Vincent is leading the field from Chloe Kennedy with another tie for third between Fraser King and Sarah Young. Kate Wood is next best placed.

Saturday’s cross country day is all-important, and the Tich Massey built course promises to test the horses and riders. It’s an early start for some as the lower graded combinations get underway at 9 in the morning.

The CCI*** cross country will start at just after noon and the 12 competitors should be finished by about 1pm but cross country action in other classes does continue throughout the day, with the last rider expected to be on the course about 4pm. To encourage spectators, entry to the event is free and we’re hoping for some good weather!

Daily results can be found here.