In the "Better late than never" file, we would like to congratulate Sonia Johnson and her AWHA registered Misty Isle Valentino for their fabulous results at the 2018 Mitsubishi Motors Australian International 3 Day Event in the 4* category in Adelaide.
This is the only International FEI Classic event in the Southern Hemisphere and what a stunning and unusual location for it- the heart of a capital city! The weather was stunning as was the Parkland location, crossing main roads and requiring a complete shut down of some major city thoroughfares. The fences were big, solid, inviting and challenging and the lake complex looked absolutely beautiful!
After a very useful Dressage test for a score of 34.6 they were comfortably in the top 10 at the conclusion of day one of competition. Cross country day dawned bright and clear and led off with the 2* category. The lake was the place to be and spectators were thick on the ground to watch the horses negotiate the demanding fences. The 4* field were away a bit later than the scheduled 1300h start time and a friend and I, waiting at fence 20, were beginning to despair as the first 3 horses on course were all eliminated- shades of things to come it seemed.
They came in a little "hot" at 20c and got in a little close, Valentino twisted in the air to make sure of the clearance. Sonja showed what a beautiful rider she is by staying quiet and balanced in the saddle, giving them both the space and support to sort it all out! After a brilliant round with just one "miss" and a handful of time faults, Sonia and Valentino completed on 67.8 penalty points; 4th place at the end of the day!
The Cross Country course had indeed proved challenging, and only half the field were left standing for the start of Day 3 and the Showjumping. Another big course and a gate with exceedingly shallow cups meant that there were no clear rounds (I think) and some swapping of places at the top meant Sonja and Valentino finished in 3rd place.
CONGRATULATIONS SONJA and MISTY ISLE VALENTINO!