The air temperature certainly wasn't warm for the opening day of the South Island dressage championships, but the competition was hot, with very little separating the top of the leaderboards.
North Canterbury's Nicki Ford and Aristocrat II won the first round of the fiercely competitive Level 6 championship at the Harper Horsecoaches/Mataura Licensing Trust-sponsored event.
Only a slender margin separated Ford from fellow North Canterbury rider Jenny Scotter and the lovely grey Kinnordy Gallium. Dunedin's Wendy Butler, riding Millstream Magic, was the best of the locals slotting into third with Christchurch's Aubrey McRae and Touch the Clouds holding fourth. Young Omakau rider Kate Maclean and Oscar Del A Hoya filling fifth position.
Otago/Southland riders performed well across the grades yesterday, but visiting riders also appear hungry for honours.
Invercargill's Kerrie Morrison, riding Allitation, topped the large Level 2 class and will be looking to continue their good form tthis weekend.
South Canterbury riders are also doing well with Nicole Ostermeier and Megan Robinson winning the opening classes in their respective grades.
Ashburton's Katherine Read appears to have an early stranglehold in the pony division leading both the Level 1 and 3 championships.
The competition has not escaped the impact of Auckland's tornadoes after visiting Australian judges had been forced to miss the first day of competition because of disrupted flights.
This has resulted in the Young Dressage Horse Championship being postponed until tomorrow.
The competition continues at 8am today.
- The Southland Times