16 July 2015
Assumption College hosted the third and final Equissage VEIS show jumping qualifier event at Lancefield recently. Mustad Saddleworld, Kilmore sponsored each division with a champion-inscribed, woollen rug. 170 riders from 59 schools enjoyed a fantastic day of jumping – the standard at all levels was exceptional. Representatives travelled from all corners of the state to jump the technical courses set by the very experienced course designer Gary Baxter. E A judge John Pearce, who presided over proceedings in Ring one, commented on the great improvement he witnessed in junior show jumping as a result of the increasing number of quality interschool events being staged.
Toorak College took home the ACK Shield with a convincing overall team win and consolidated its place at the top of the VEIS leader board in the race for the Annie White Trophy. Christian College Geelong was second with its enviable team of budding show jumpers, and Geelong Grammar came in third. Host school ACK had to settle for fourth place, but would have been ecstatic with how their day was enjoyed by everyone there.
The 125cm Stars class was a fantastic spectacle, with each rider jumping clear and fast in the Two Phase class. In the Grand Prix, only one rail separated all riders after the first two rounds and all qualified to enter the jump-off. Reigning Australian junior champion Jasmine Dennison, representing Toorak College, was last to go and managed to post a clear round to just nudge Nina Griffiths from Frankston High into second place. Alexandra Robinson from Benalla on her super mount Sir Dozer was third. Matilda Alexander, a member of the Australian Elite Young Rider squad, was fourth on Dreamtime Invader. All competitors should be congratulated on their show jumping display at this height, the highest interschool level. Jasmine’s win put her narrowly ahead of Nina and Alexandra in the VEIS Series race which will be decided at the August 1 grand final.
In the Advanced class (115cm), Holly Roysmith from Toorak College battled hard on her horse War Folly to take home the Champion’s rug in a very even event. Fourth in the Two Phase and second in the Grand Prix was enough for Holly to push into second place by just one point on the infamous interschool mount Surf, ridden by Gabrielle Lovett. One point further back in third place was Tori Fair from St Ignatius College. David Charman from St Margaret's aboard Conceal was fourth overall after riding three superb clear rounds and coming first in the Grand Prix class.
At the 105cm Intermediate level, last year’s VEIS Progressive Champion Bianca Lock continued her rich vein of form with a dominant performance to claim first place. Riding Monahan Harrison, who is no stranger to blue ribbons, Bianca, representing Christian College Geelong, put herself atop of the VEIS Series standings with her ACK win. Nicole Davis from Tintern was the Reserve Champion, and Georgia Moodie from Mackillop Werribee was third on her talented horse SP Serene NZPH.
Bronte Hutchison from Haileybury rode a cracking jump off round on her pocket rocket Radnor Tangerine in the Progressive Grand Prix (95cm) to ensure she captured first place in Progressive Championship on the day. Holly Roysmith continued with her excellent form for Toorak College, adding Reserve Champion in Progressive to her win in the Advanced class. Her pony Wychwood Jamie has not put a foot wrong for Holly at this level all year, and they sit atop of the VEIS Series table in the Progressive level. Scarlett Frith on Café Cortado from Geelong Grammar showed she is also a consistent performer by following up her win at Round Two with third place at this event.
Christian College Geelong compatriots Tilly Fair and Rohan Lock were clear leaders in the Improvers Class, with Tilly taking the title by one point on her pony Berridale Blue Sky. Emerging talent Saffron Wardrop-Brown from Haileybury was third.
In the Encourage section, Oliva Batten riding Nala scored maximum points and took home the Championship with a clean sweep of both the Two Phase and Grand Prix classes. Home town rider Siobhan Laffan was second for ACK on Deejay Aramis.
Ambar Balasz-Ashman’s victory in the Freshman Primary class showed that Kardinia International riders aren’t just famous for their dressage prowess. Like Oliva in the Encourage, Ambar won blue in the Two Phase and Grand Prix on her pony SP Houdini to lock in the Champions rosette. Caitlin Butterworth representing Carrum Primary aboard Squiggles had another great day taking second in both classes to secure the Reserve Champion award.
Overall, it was a terrific VEIS day which showcased great jumping, sportsmanship and team spirit at all heights. Over 600 combinations from more than 100 schools participated in the first three rounds of the Equisagge VEIS Qualifier Show Jumping Series, and we are now set for a huge Grand Final at Werribee on August 1. The race for the Saddleworld rugs and garlands is tight at all levels so we are expecting an exciting culmination to the 2015 VEIS Series.
We look forward to seeing you all there. For progressive scores, go to www.veis.com.au.
Helen Perez - Equestrian Coach