Wendi Williamson and her 12-year old New Zealand bred Hanoverian Dejavu MH earned their ticket to the 2017 World Cup Finals in Omaha, USA, by winning the 2017 Pacific League Finals at the New Zealand Dressage Championships in Feilding on Saturday night 4 February 2017. After clinching the victory in the Intermediaire II and Grand Prix, Williamson was the hot favourite for the freestyle win.
The Pacific League Final is based on the Musical Freestyle only, so while Wendi Williamson and Dejavu MH (by De Niro x Anamour) were hot favourites after their earlier Inter II and GP wins, the Final was wide open to all. They didn’t disappoint: knocking on the door of Julie Brougham's Australasian freestyle record of 76.02% (set at HOY 2015), they put up a score of 75.725%, which proved unbeatable and qualifies them for the World Cup Final in Omaha, Nebraska at the end of March.
It wasn’t a whitewash though and there was a tense wait while the scores were announced. John Thompson and his 15-year old NZL bred Hanoverian Antonello (by Anamour x Winnebago) gave it their all to finish on 73.7%, Vanessa Way going into third place with 70.525 on the 14-year old NZL bred NRM Arawn (by Anamour x Carousel), followed by Penny Castle and 13-year old Holsteiner Magnus Spero (by Lubeck x Rocadero) (69.150). Abbie Deken and 15-year old KH Ambrose (by Anamour x Winterkönig) scored 68.85 for fifth, Jody Hartstone occupied sixth place on the Lusitano Ali Baba (67.650%) with William Millar just a whisker behind her on 67.275%.
In the Young Riders division Lucarne Dolley and Hannah Van der Horst went through to the CDI-Y Freestyle, Dolley maintaining her winning streak with 69.75. Apart from a miss in her three-tempi changes she rode a near-perfect test and her refined style was a pleasure to watch. Dolley trains in Taranaki with Vanessa Way and has just returned from Melbourne, Australia where she represented NZ at the Victorian Youth Young Rider Championships.
The Young Dressage Horse Final was also an enjoyable spectator class; German FEI5* judge Katrina Wüst was very complimentary about all three horses presented for assessment. In the end, Zoie Gray and 4-yr-old Stoneylea Welt Princess (by Weltmeyer out of EM Stoneylea Lusenka) were chosen to come forward and accept the Young Dressage Horse title.
Text by Jess Roberts, edited by Eurodressage - Photos © Libby Law
Scores 2017 CDI-W Feilding
Williamson and Dejavu MH Take Two at 2017 CDI-W Feilding
Williamson and Dejavu MH Make a Stand in Inter II at 2017 CDI-W Feilding
Pacific League World Cup Final Returns to New Zealand with Seven Combinations in the Running