Tomkinson and DMJ Donna Elena Win 2019 CDI Sydney Grand Prix Special

Fri, 05/03/2019 - 14:43
2019 CDI Sydney
Maree Tomkinson and DMJ Donna Elena at the 2019 CDI Sydney :: Photo © Stephen Mowbray

Victorian rider Maree Tomkinson riding DMJ Donna Elena won the Grand Prix Special during the third day of competition at the Sydney CDI3* at Sydney International Equestrian Centre (SIEC) on 2 May 2019.

Rain throughout the day failed to dampen the spirits of competitors and spectators alike, and competition during the Grand Prix Special was fierce – if not a little damp – in SIEC's indoor arena this afternoon.

Tomkinson and Donna Elena put in a solid performance in the 11-strong field to record a score of 68.830%, more than three per cent higher than their score in yesterday's Grand Prix.

Donna Elena was an orphaned foal bred by Dorthe M Jepson of DMJ horses, and Tomkinson discovered the mare as a four-year-old while competing in Germany in the 2014 World Equestrian Games. Not yet nine years old, Tomkinson said prior to the Sydney CDI that she had high hopes for the horse's future.

"My feeling is that she will be a super horse for the future of the sport," she said. "She really has no weakness, she has super gaits, a wonderful character and outstanding rideability and trainability. With more balance and competition experience she will be a force to be reckoned with. I believe in Donna like no other horse I have ever trained. She is destined for greatness, a seriously international horse."

While Donna Elena is now making her mark in the Grand Prix arena, the mare already represented Australia as a youngster at the World Young Horse Championships in Verden. Experienced at taking horses around Australia and around the world, Tomkinson said keeping each animal's routine the same was very important for their well-being.

"Some of the most important things to remember when travelling horses is to try and keep their routine the same as much as possible no matter where you may be," she explained. "Try to feed the same feed they are used to at the same time of day they are used to at home, try to regulate their temperature and not let them get too hot. It is better to be too cool than too hot. Try to manage stress levels..... travel with another horse, preferably a friend they already know and try to have people they are used to handling them, not strangers. I always try to travel with my own horses , they trust me and this gives them confidence. Horses must be fit and healthy prior to any travel, with temperatures taken regularly "so that you know what is normal for them and you will be onto it immediately if anything changes."

Tomkinson has worked Donna Elena as well as her previous Australian Grand Prix team horse, Diamantina, from novice up to Grand Prix level.

"I am very proud that I train all my own horses, having them from babies all the way to GP just adds another level of satisfaction to any success we may be privileged to achieve," she added.

Competitors in the Under 25 Shotrt Grand Prix warmed up in heavy rain before enjoying the luxury of SIEC's indoor in the early afternoon, with the weather failing to make a dent in the performance of eventual winner Jemma Heran riding Hedelunds Mefisto. The Queensland-based combination looked a picture despite a small mishap on the final centreline to achieve 66.641%, ahead of NSW rider Sarah Farraway and Arawn in second place on 65.128%.

Heran hails from a showing background and only started riding dressage in the past year, importing the Michellino gelding from Hubertus Schmidt of Germany.

“He warmed up really well today considering the heavy rain and bad weather,” she said. “In the test he really picked up in the atmosphere and just gave me a really good ride. He scared himself on the last centreline but that's OK."

Also present at today's event was Australian Grand Prix rider, Briana Burgess, who is in the country ahead of her move to the United States.

Photo © Stephen Mowbray

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