Cooper Oborn made it two from two tonight, dancing his way to victory with Aphrodite in the EQUITANA Auckland Grand Prix Freestyle to Music. Last night the Palmerston North combination headed home the Norwood Grand Prix dressage.
“I couldn’t be happier with her,” said Cooper who scored 69.43% for the freestyle test which was choreographed to music from the Wizard of Oz.
It is the biggest win of his career and he was equally rapt for the 12-year-old mare’s owners Belinda and Emily Stuchbery from Kumeu. “I am so excited for Aphrodite’s future,” said Cooper. “She just keeps improving and surprising us with her ability and keenness to learn. She just tries so hard.”
Cooper teamed up with the horse when he moved to New Zealand 15 months ago, crossing the Tasman to follow his heart. Tonight, Aphrodite was as cool as a cucumber in the indoor arena, not at all fazed by the atmosphere. Coming in second tonight was Jody Hartstone (Raglan) aboard her imported Lusitano stallion Ali Baba on 68.14% with Victoria Wall (Hamilton) and Letty Lei EDH in third on 64.46%.
Today was dressage day at EQUITANA with so many coming from all over New Zealand to learn from maestro Tristan Tucker – the UK based Aussie, who is now based in The Netherlands – and be equally entertained by his alter ego Brett Kidding.
The IRT The Way of The Horse moved into its second day with the four invited horse men and women making huge inroads in establishing trust with the unhandled three-year-olds who they have just an hour a day over the four days to turn from wild to willing.
In jumping, Natasha Brooks and Versace C cruised to victory in the IRT 1.35m open as the only clear in the opening round of the 10-strong class. Last time Versace C lined up at EQUITANA Auckland he was in the hands of Natasha’s brother Nick and won the Express Eventing, but this time, it was showjumping all the way for another win.
EQUITANA Auckland continues through the weekend with Saturday the Mercedes-Benz Auckland Jumping Showcase including a masterclass from four-time Olympian Bruce Goodin. Another highlight of Saturday will be the inaugural New Zealand Warmblood Performance Horse Auction. Sunday is the grand finale of the IRT The Way of The Horse competition.
EQUITANA Auckland Grand Prix Freestyle to Music: Cooper Oborn (Palmerston North) Aphrodite 69.43% 1, Jody Hartstone (Raglan) Ali Baba 68.14% 2, Victoria Wall (Hamilton) Letty Lei EDH 64.46% 3, Niki Osborne (Kerikeri) Alacatraz 63.47% 4, Toni Louisson (Feilding) Back on Track Astute 61.63% 5.
EQUITANA Auckland Inter I Freestyle to Music: Christine Weal (Te Awamutu) Schindler’s Liszt 70.35% 1, Cooper Oborn (Palmerston North) Revelwood Showtime 2, Peter Barke (Rotorua) Parkridge Donnamour 66.7% 3, Angela Lloyd (Papakura) Ruanuku R 66.53% 4, Chanel Flyger (Silverdale) Hot Chocolate MH 64.35% 5.
IRT 1.35m open: Natasha Brooks (Cambridge) Versace C 1, Jeremy Whale (Cambridge) DSE Exuberance 2, Glen Beal (Te Kauwhata) All Expenses of Renton 3, Leeshelle Small (Auckland) Glenbrooke Archie Bunker 4, Laura Inkster (Papakura) Nikama MVNZ 5, Samantha Matthews (Cambridge) Adloo Annabelle 6.
Harrison Lane 1.25m open: Lucy Olphert (Mt Maunganui) Eve Saint Laurent 1, Natasha Brooks (Cambridge) Twerk 2, Olivia Foster (Cambridge) Cassino du Domaine 3, Melissa Marriner (Tuakau) Spiritus MVNZ 4, James Cottle (Auckland) Imagine 5, Blyth Tait (Papakura) Havana 6.
Harrison Lane 1.15m open: Georgia Milner (Auckland) Icebreaker MP 1, Eden Johnstone (Auckland) Bellagio GNZ 2, Jeremy Whale (Cambridge) AMS Ajaccio NZPH 3, Elmo Jackson (Auckland) Miss Clementine 4, Laura Inkster (Papakura) Oporaes Jackamore 5, Lucas Bremner (Whangarei) Cancion HSH 6.