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Highlights and lowlights – first half of 2009

First-half of the New Zealand 2009 season

Clifton Promise and Jonathan (Jock) Paget won the inaugural Horse of the Year Show CIC 3-star in great style by almost 20 marks. It was a unique opportunity to show jump in the main arena in front of a crowd of thousands and finishing with the only clear jumping round was a great way to complete.

Clifton Zander and Jock won Reserve Champion at the National Young Event Horse in Taupo. They won the gallop section for the second year in a row.

Clifton Tasman and Jock just missed winning CCI* at Taupo National 3-day Champs when catching the final show jump dropped them to second. This followed an excellent win against good experienced company at Open Novice a few weeks earlier.

Clifton Kudos was being targeted at WEG 2010 ridden by Donna Smith. Unfortunately he suffered a freak paddock accident and had to be put down – a cruel blow for Donna who had competed him successfully in the US before bringing him back to his homeland when she returned to New Zealand in 2008.

First-half of the UK 2009 season

The highlight here was Clifton Lush and Joe Meyer placing 10th against excellent company in their first CCI 3-star at Bramham in June.

New Zealand off-season

Team Clifton won the trifecta of New Zealand Eventing for the 2008/09 season with:

  • Clifton Promise and Jonathan Paget the winning combination.
  • Jonathan Paget was the leading rider.
  • Frances Stead of Clifton Eventers was the leading owner.

Jock had a fabulous three weeks in the UK with Andrew Nicholson, who was absolutely unbelievable in the time and experience he gave. Added to this was a great input from Mark Todd and Joe Meyer and a day watching Carl Hestor ride and teach.

Overall, an invaluable experience.

Main horses coming and going

Clifton Jade has gone to the USA. This young horse is one of the most honest, genuine and easy Advanced horses around. He will bring riders many years of great fun and experience.

Clifton Damascus has joined Jock's team. This 12-year-old Cleveland Bay cross is already qualified for 3-star but has been out of Eventing for a while.

Clifton Signature is a very exciting prospect for Jock in the future. A 17hh rising 5 year old Chestnut Gelding bred by Angela Smith at Stoneylea Farm, Waiuku by Espri (German Hanovarian) out of a TB mare. He had done a little show jumping with Oliver Edgecombe, but will certainly turn heads with his movement as well as his jump.

Clifton Eagle and Clifton Maserati are two new horses joining Donna's stable, both of whom we rate highly for the future. Along with Clifton Otto, she now has three exciting long-term prospects in the Clifton stable.

Pre-season combined training Advanced results bode well:

  • Clifton Promise showed much improved dressage to win this phase with 68.5%.
  • Clifton Damascus won overall with 67% dressage, but jumping clear when Promise's pre-season exuberance meant he caught a rail.

A great result for them both with Jock.

UK mid-year season

Clifton Lush and Joe Meyer were part of the New Zealand team that placed third at Aachen CIC 3-star against teams from most of Europe. The big atmosphere and main arena experience was invaluable to this young horse.

Clifton Lush and Joe placed second in the Scottish CIC 3-star Championships, beaten only by an experienced 4-star horse that won team gold at the European Championships for Britain the next month.

Clifton Chatter made his first Advanced look easy with a lovely clear cross country. Then he went on to place 8th at the Gatcombe Intermediate Championships out of 62 starters, being one of only two seven-year-olds in the field.


Overall, many highlights and only one real low-light with the Clifton Eventers team 2009 prior to the start of New Zealand's second half year season (just to confuse those in the Northern hemisphere, this will be our Spring season).

Good luck to everyone for the rest of 2009 – one of the great things about Eventing is no one wins week in week out. Horses and particularly eventers, are great levellers and I think that is what makes the people involved so great – no one can become arrogant as they will be on the ground with hurt pride at some stage.

However, the Clifton Eventers team wish you all as few low-lights as possible and many highlights. But most of all we wish you a safe and enjoyable season.