Riders soar at Armidale's first competition for 2017

An overwhelming number of entries for their opening event saw a scintillating start to the year for Armidale Riding Club. 

A massive 175 competitors from across the region as far down as Scone and across to Tamworth put their nominations forward to be part of the club’s first official dressage event for 2017 on Sunday. 

A new format was introduced for the commencement of the year with practice and official dressage tests run over the course of the day. 

Proof in the new idea’s popularity was the big waiting list for the day, even with four arenas running tests. 

"We had a very successful day with high entries,” president Kerry Crees said.

"Very minimal scratchings, would have been maybe just under 10 per cent. 

"It was really positive, the lower tests had reserve lists, it has been a long time since we have had reserve lists.

"The numbers were fantastic for the beginning of the year.”

The heat couldn’t stop the riders but the club had measures in place to look after them and their mounts. 

Overcast skies in the early hours of the event made the day more comfortable. 

"We were concerned about the weather so we had ice for horses but it was overcast in the morning so it was fairly cool,” Crees said.

“We had a wind all day which made it quite comfortable especially for people that travelled where home was 45 degrees whereas we were much cooler with the wind chill factor. 

"When we were looking at the weather forecast we changed for comfort for our judges who come from all over the state, we put up the tents which made it very comfortable for them. 

"The travellers from Scone and other areas were very, very happy.

"They were pleased to be here rather than at home.”

There were a series of standout performers throughout what was a wonderfully entertaining event.

Fiona Macarthur and New World Furst Class shone in both preliminary tests.

Lew Hyson and Skye Berry tasted success in the novice levels.

Marjolyn Thomas and Olivia Ruzsicska (Warrego Dumbledore) saluted in the elementary.

Jorja Power and Jenavive McDonald saluted in the medium.

Louise Allen and Amanda Sozou reigned supreme in the advanced.

Camilla Dawson capped a successful weekend by completing the Prix St George and Intermediate 1 double. 

Dawson was in exceptional form and it bodes well for her future events by producing performances the calibre of what she delivered in Armidale.