NEWS > Dressage
Posted by Equestrian Australia on 04/05/2014.

Sydney CDI - Day Three Highlights

It was a full program which not only included dressage but also Young Jumping Horse Classes, an impressive A Capella choir, Gold Medallist Joann Formosa riding her winning Freestyle on PB Worldwide and a demonstration from Olympian Lyndal Oatley. With all seats booked for the evening’s Hamilton Island Grand Prix Freestyle it was destined to be a great day!

The Equestrian NSW Intermediate II was a great class as the top three placegetters were horses that were in their first season of competing in Big Tour classes – a very promising sign for the years to come. First went to Heath Ryan on the very free moving gelding, Utopian Cardinal. This big liver chestnut is by Heath’s stallion Regardez Moi and looks as though it has inherited the same talent for the higher movements. Together they scored 65.921. Second went to Jayden Brown on Furst Friedrich. He is such a quality horse. I was sitting in the stands and a group of people next to me were more focused on this combination warming up, than the horse which was in the arena competing. Jayden and Furst Friedrich scored 65.421 – pretty impressive for a 9 year old. Third went to Victorian rider, Sara McDonald on Adlanta Rose, scoring 64.211. It will be interesting to watch the progress of these horses over the next few years.

The first freestyle of the day was the International Racehorse Transport Advanced Tournament competition. I always am interested in watching the choreography. Fourth placegetter, Denise Rogan on Virtuel I, had a wonderful floor plan - It was like watching a story unravel, very impressive.  Third was Rozzie Ryan on Jarrah R, second was Judith Dierks on one of Australia's top quality horses, Diamond Star. First went to Queensland rider, Victoria Welch on her beautiful grey, Glogau. This Australian bred warmblood is a pleasure to watch. He seems to do all movements with such ease - a pleasure to watch!

Having the Young Jump Horse classes (sponsored by New Holland) added atmosphere to the event. I spoke with a lady with her child who was watching the jumping. “Although I’m here mainly for the dressage, I think it’s a great idea to have the jumping as well. It gives the kid’s a chance to see another discipline which helps them decide what they want to do. I don’t ride myself but I’m having a great time.”  It was a great turn out with over 60 horses competing.

One of the biggest questions of the day was who was going to win the Zilco Intermediate Freestyle CDN. Brett Parbery and Tor Van Den Berge dominated the top four positions in the small tour classes over the last couple of days and received the same places in both classes. A lot of spectators filled the indoor to see if the freestyle would have a different ending. Unfortunately for Tor, Brett once again claimed the first position on DP Weltmieser (72.525), Tor came second on Lauries As (69.775) and third went to Brett on Aber Hallo 29 with a score of 69.125.

The highlight of not only the day but also the event was the Hamilton Island Grand Prix Freestyle CDI 3*. As Sheridyn Ashwood and her stallion Prestige VDL had won both of the GP classes so far, she was the hot favourite. It was mentioned that Sheridyn was going to increase the difficulty of the test. The pressure must have been on!

Rozzie Ryan and GV Bullwinkle were the 6th combination to hit the arena. Their test was a pleasure to experience. Rozzie floated from movement to movement with music that complimented both the choreography and rhythm. This was enough to put them in the lead but only until Sheridyn and Prestige VDL had their turn. This duo who had won both the Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special give it all they had. It was a power packed test, pushing the limits right under the judges noses. After the final halt, both Sheridyn and the audience new they had a new leader – the crowd erupted as Sheridyn fell forward hugging her horse. The very next combination was Heath Ryan and Regardez Moi. As usual Heath put on a great performance which was good enough to shoulder his way in-between his wife and Sheridyn, giving him second place. Congratulations to all who competed – it was a pleasure to watch.

Once again, the Sydney CDI was a great experience for all who attended. There were a number components added this year to enhance the experience. All these were received with open arms and as a result positive responses have already started to roll in.

Last but not least, a big thankyou to whoever organised the weather – it was perfect! (I wouldn’t be surprised if it was Toni Venhaus, the event director – nothing seems impossible when it comes to Toni).

For all the results and photos visit

What's great about competitions like the Sydney CDI is that by the second day, a number of horse and rider combinations have already proven that they are in top form and therefore have set a benchmark of the quality needed to be competitive at the different levels of competition.

The New South Wales Dressage Young Horse Finals were also held in conjunction with the Sydney CDI.


3 May 2013

Sydney CDI - Day Two Highlights

The question always is can the placegetters of the previous day maintain their form or will other members of the field raise the bar and give them a run for their money.

The Mulawa Performance FEI Intermediate I (CDI) was a great example of this. If yesterday was going to be a measure on today’s performance then it would be Brett Parbery and Tor Van Den Berge battling it out once again. Guess what – It was identical! Brett on Susan Duddy’s DP Weltmieser came first, Tor and Cheryl O’Brien’s Lauries As came second, Brett on the Farrell Family’s Aber Hallo 29 came third and Tor on Kaz Roe’s Donna Bonita came third.

As yesterday’s Under 25s Intermediate II was so inspiring, I made sure I was there to see every horse. Unfortunately, today’s competition wasn’t quite the same. Most combinations had moments where they hit a wall - another learning curve of the road to Grand Prix. In saying that, like all tests, there was some good movements which I’m sure they were pleased with. Like yesterday, Jayden Brown on Furst Friedrich came first, second went to Megan Bryant on Northern Xanthus III and third went to Alexis Hellyer on Waca W.

Once again, a good size audience gathered to watch the Australian Sports Commission Grand Prix Special (CDI). One of the highlights (for want of a better word) was when Utopian Cardinal ridden by Heath Ryan decided to take off for the last few strides of the extended canter. Within a couple of strides, Heath had him back in rhythm and executed a good canter pirouette on cue – pretty impressive!
By the end of the day, second place went to Rozzie Ryan on GV Bullwinkle, third to Caroline Wagner on Tango V and first place was well deserved with Sheridyn Ashwood and her beautiful stallion Prestige VDL. Even though they had a few mistakes, Sheridyn and Prestige managed to break the 70 mark, 70.340 to be exact.  When I caught up with her she was in a state of shock, “I can’t believe it,” she said shaking her head. So how does Sheridyn plan for this sort of test? “I know it sound funny but I visualise every movement, every aid, what rhythm I want, pretty well everything. It can take me up to an hour. If I have it right in my head, then I’m confident!” Well, it certainly worked for Sheridyn today. I can’t wait till tomorrow night to see her freestyle.

The last competition for the indoor was the Horseland FEI Young Rider Individual Test (CD-Y). This competition is for riders between the age of 16 and 21 and the test has the same difficulty as the Prix St Georges test. There was four riders from Victoria, two from NSW and one from New Zealand. NSW rider, Katherine Farrell, on her stunning gelding Luxor 118 came first, Elizabeth Hulin also from NSW came second on Moscow and Victorian rider Victoria Stuckey came third on Mayfield Miracle.

Tomorrow will be a huge day with the finals of the Hanoverian Horse Society of Australia’s NSW Young Dressage Horse Championships, four freestyle competitions, Intermediate II, the New Holland Young Jumping Horse competition and then after all the classes have finished, there will be the Sydney CDI Après Party till 12.30am – sounds like a lot of fun!

Tickets available from the entrance on Saturday.

The Sydney CDI – Where all the Stars Gather – be part of it!

3 May 2013

Sydney CDI - Day One Highlights

The first competition of the 2013 Sydney CDI started at 8.15am in the indoor arena - Needs for Steeds FEI Prix St Georges.

It was a large class with 34 horse and rider combinations. Throughout the day, the top six places changed regularly but at the end of the day, it was a competition between four horses and two riders. Brett Parbery and Tor Van Den Berge have battled it out a number of times and today was no different. Brett and DP Weltmieser (70.737 - owned by Susan Duddy) ended up pipping Tor and Lauries As (70.263 - owned by Cheryl O’Brien) at the post. Third went to Brett and Aber Hallo 29 (67.605 - owned by the Farrell family) and fourth went to Tor and Donna Bonita (66.105 - owned by Kaz Roe). A mighty battle it was!

One of the great competitions of the day was the Under 25 FEI Intermediate II. Out of the five horses competing, One had been competing at this level for a few years, two for a couple of years and for the remaining two this was their first year competing. It was inspiring to see the improvement in Alexis Hellyer on Waca W. This is only their second year doing Big Tour and the improvement in her Piaffe was considerable – well done! This was enough to put her in second place with a score of 65.447, which was just enough to beat her boyfriend, Elliot Patterson on Leandro (62.842 - this is their first season at Big Tour so Alexis better watch out). First place went to Queensland rider, Jayden brown and his beautifully conformed horse, Furst Friedrich, scoring 65.632. This is a great combination to watch – the horse is so on the aids. This was great effort as it also their first year competing at this level.
Flora Freeman, who has been following Young Horse classes for a number of years gave me an overview of the first round of the Hanoverian Horse Society of Australia NSW Young Horse 6yo Championships. “San Andreas with Jayden Brown in the saddle came first scoring 8.30. This quality horse and his experienced rider, showed his best qualities. He has been brought through the levels on the correct training path, and gave Jayden a lovely ride. Australia will miss this great combination, if the gelding goes to Germany to be sold!”. Second was Milford Dominique, ridden by Glenda De Wit (7.44). “This honest mare showed correct schooling, and was on the right training path for this level.” Third went to Lady Sinatra, ridden by Tor Van Den Berge (7.32), and fourth went to WS Donnerman, ridden by Caroline Wagner (7.24). Flora said, “This gelding showed us a lovely uphill way of going and was another with much potential.” The judges for the first round were, Lesley Sullivan and Pip Longworth. They felt that some of the riders were “playing it too safe”. A number of the horses showed lack of engagement, energy and expression. There were some submission and contact issues, and also some lateral submission issues.

The Birds Equisports Prix St Georges (CDN) was won by Rachael Downs on her very impressive gelding, Albert. The higher the level he competes at, the harder he seems to beat. This isn’t that surprising considering he is by Jaybee Alabaster out of Yardley Aphrodite – on both these horses Rachael won numerous Grand Prix classes for a number of years. She must be thrilled.
By the time the Pryde’s EasiFeed Grand Prix (CDI), a good number of spectators had gathered at Arena 1 to watch Australia’s best horse and riders tackle the complexity of the Grand Prix test. To ensure the winner was filmed, the cameraman had to video 5 combinations as the outcome was not predictable. This year, it was Queensland rider Sheridyn Ashwood on her stallion, Prestige VDL, scoring 68.851. You could tell Sheridyn was happy as she punched the air after her final halt. Second went to David Shoobridge on his black stallion, OO Seven (67.702) and third went to Nadia Coghlan on her gelding, Carlyle with a score of 66.894.

Tomorrow will be just as enjoyable with the second round of the Young Horse classes, the Under 25 Grand Prix, the Young Rider Individual Test and the Grand Prix Special. The gates will open around 8am, ready for the first horse to enter the arena at 8.30am

Hope to see you here.

The Sydney CDI – Where all the Stars Gather – Be part of it.

For all the results and information visit:

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