Everyone is happy as the weekend at Brookleigh draws to a end | An Eventful Life

Everyone is happy as the weekend at Brookleigh draws to a end

The happy winners including Deon Stokes with his large Toblerone - from sponsor Cadburys

Deon Stokes was rewarded for his hard-working weekend as he won the CIC* at WAYER@Brookleigh, as well as three classes at the WA State Dressage Championships. “I’m pretty stoked – I always knew that it was an ambitious plan to do both and I needed a great team to support me throughout the weekend but I’m very happy,” said the professional rider, who secured his eventing win with Sarah Price’s homebred 12 year old, Gesusa Park Federation. “I thought I could have gone to just one show or the other, but this is one of the few international events in the area so we couldn’t afford not to come,” explained the Perth rider, who has a string of five eventers and four dressage horses. A good dressage and a super clear show-jumping round with only a handful of time penalties across country was enough to edge him less than two penalties ahead of dressage leader and rider representative, Rebecca Thomas (DVZ Debonaire), who rolled a coloured pole. All of the prize winners in this section were delighted to receive a large box of chocolate snacks thanks to sponsorship from Cadburys – Deon was also the proud recipient of a giant Toblerone!

The line up in the CIC** section was shaken up by fence five on the cross country course. Three of the five riders in this section had problems at the rail-ditch-rail combination including overnight dressage leaders, Lindsay Honey and Bindaboo.  The Brilliant Invader chestnut, who was bought from a Heath Ryan auction, was the only one of the three victims who went on to complete the course, but his 20 penalties relegated him to third, leaving the way clear for dressage runner up, Dakota Ultra Easy and Lauren Browne to cruise into the lead with the only clean cross country round inside the time. “The first half of the cross country looked quite big. I had remembered fence five from watching the class last year but I’m lucky because ‘Easy’ is so brave,” said Lauren, who is studying health science at university. “I was pleased that he was pretty straight through the first water, but then at the second water he jumped in so big and I thought we’re only two jumps from home, I really don’t want to fall off now!” added the nineteen year old, who also rides for WAYER founder PollyAnn Huntington. ‘Easy’, a 15hh quarter horse gelding, (pictured below) was enjoying only his second run at this level and will be aimed at the CIC** in Adelaide this season.

The sole CIC*** competitor, Anthonia Hartley, was thrilled to complete her first ever CIC*** with her off the track Thoroughbred, Due Heed, who is a full brother to the successful WA racehorse, Northerly. “I always wanted my first CIC*** to be here because I’m based locally and it was just amazing - we had so much fun!” said the amateur rider, who gets up at 5am every day to juggle her three horses with her work for a surveying company in Perth city. “When I heard that (fellow CIC*** entrants) Makayla Wood and Ben Leahy had been picked for the Trans Tasman event in New Zealand, I was straight on the phone to the WAYER committee to check that the class would still run,” explained Anthonia, who was quick to praise the organisers for their commitment to proceed regardless of numbers. Entry levels were high in the lower grades, but the international classes were affected by a combination of diary clashes with the Trans Tasman event and top riders routed to the Eastern States for Sydney three day event to follow their Olympic ambitions . 

Anthonia Hartley riding Due Heed was delighted to complete and win her first CIC3*

Brookleigh Estate owner, Nikki Brooks, was delighted with the level of support from riders. “We’ve had an amazing amount of interest. This event was always meant to be smaller than our October event but it’s been a wonderful weekend,” explained Nikki, who has hosted events at Brookleigh for 12 years and also owns Sonja Johnson’s Olympic hopeful, Parkiarrup Illicit Liaison.

Jessamy Walsh and Better on Sunday are congratulated by Nikki Brooks of Brookleigh

Curtin University student Jessamy Walsh dominated proceedings in the lower levels, recording a win in the senior pre novice with Carol Albuino’s Better on Sunday, as well as a win and a fourth in the prelim sections (Borris Campbell and Johnnie Walker). “Borris and I are still working each other out as I only got the ride half way through last year but he’s a very flash horse,” said Jessamy of Alan Campbell’s seven year old Thoroughbred. “Better on Sunday has got huge movement too and I’m pretty excited about him because he is one of the most honest horses I’ve known,” added the 21 year old, who also rides track work at nearby Ascot between her studies for a surveying degree.  The other senior prelim winner was Wayne Brush and Millennium Edition.

The WAYER (West Australian Young Event Riders) committee took over the running of this autumn event at Brookleigh in 2011 to give young riders the vital qualifications that they needed to compete over East. The event retains a strong focus on young riders and there were bumper entries in the junior sections, with over 40 starters in the junior prelim. Louis McWhirter’s overnight dressage lead proved to be unassailable here and the 16 year old led from the start to win by more than four penalties with his mother’s Warmblood, Belstone Matisse. “Matisse is pretty calm and relaxed. I’m lucky to have really good parents and really good horses,” said the talented teenager, who has trained with Australian team rider Sonja Johnson and more recently with Phillippa Collins. Shenae Lowings posted a fast double clear to also retain her dressage lead in the junior pre novice with Venture Sky High.

Article and photos by Kate Herren


Wetll done Louis! and big pat for Matisse!