TAMWORTH might have been freezing cold on Sunday afternoon but 30 elite horses and their riders helped heat up the crowd in the Australian Equine and Livestock Events Centre (AELEC) for the Sue Alden Memorial Grand Prix.
The Sue Alden Memorial Grand Prix was the main event on the big three days of Tamworth Winter Indoor Championship competition.
Queenslanders Clem Smith and Tom Sedger had claimed the main classes from the previous two days’ competition but Jess Brown, who had not collected a ribbon all weekend, upstaged them all.
New Zealand course designer Kevin Hansen built a challenging track in the indoor arena, featuring a massive triple bar and the imposing wall, but the talented field rode the course well, with 12 combinations jumping clear to progress to the second round.
Nicole Bruggerman, from Gawler in South Australia, was first out with Lux Like Cavilier, jumping a safe clear round in a time of 76.84secs.
The next few riders all had rails until Queenslander Tom Sedger, who won the Mini Prix on Saturday night, hit the arena.
His time was fast, 65.16secs, but a late rail fell, leaving Bruggerman in the lead.
David Cameron, from Wilberforce in NSW, hit the start fast with RR Dyranta, determined to claim the coveted trophy for NSW.
His blistering pace took almost ten seconds off Bruggerman’s lead, giving the popular NSW rider the lead.
Clem Smith, the winner of the big class on Friday night, entered next with Kartoon de Breve.
Smith jumped clear in a great time of 67.51secs, not fast enough to push Cameron out of the winner’s position.
Brown, from Kulnura, who hadn’t collected a ribbon all weekend, entered the arena on the lovely home-bred Equus Echo, a horse she started under the guidance of her Olympian father Rod Brown.
She made the course look easy, impressing the crowd with her calm, accurate lines and superb position.
Echo took an unbelievable 6secs off Cameron’s time, giving Brown victory with 60.31secs.
Event organisers, all volunteers, were thrilled with the size the event has grown to over the past few years.
The massive, three-ring, three-day jumping spectacular saw 180 riders and 320 horses complete nearly 1400 rounds of show jumping in 35 different classes over the weekend.
“The event has really become a main feature of the Australian Show Jumping calendar,” volunteer Byron Smith said.
“It is very well represented by riders from all around Australia as well as internationals from New Zealand.
“The venue is outstanding, holding up under all conditions.
“The North and North West Show Jumping Club has an exceptional team of volunteers who run two of these massive events each year, as well as many club days and training clinics.
“Show jumping in the region is really taking off.”