Dressage Horse of the Year, HK 2016

I was invited to Hong Kong to be the foreign judge for their Dressage Horse of the Year show last weekend at Beas River.

I flew in on Thursday and spent a night and a day catching up with some dear friends. On Friday night, I moved into the Beas River chalets.

The view from Hung Hom harbour

On Saturday, the competition started at 830 am with the Preliminary class and finished at 5 pm with one Advanced rider. There were big numbers in the Preliminary class followed by the Novice. There is a huge incentive for riders at the HK Jockey Club to ride ex racehorses as their livery is half the costs of an imported horse. As the HK Jockey Club are well known for their ex racehorse rehabilitation programme, the Thoroughbreds made up a huge number of the horses at the show, even at Medium and Advanced levels.

I was pleasantly surprised by the standard of riding and the quality of the ex racehorses especially in the lower levels. There were also some very nice types of riding ponies, that are used in the riding schools.

In the Hong Kong Equestrian Federation rules, riders are allowed to do rising or sitting trot up till Elementary level, regardless of what the test sheet says. They also use Equestrian Australia dressage tests, same as Malaysia. Presumably, this rule was put into place to assist riders riding ex racehorses!

On Sunday, there was a huge thunderstorm which delayed proceedings a little but we managed to finish by 3.30 pm as we had slightly smaller entries on that day. Some riders were unfortunate as they had to ride in the pouring rain.

Boris Yue and Sunny Smiles, a real quality ex racehorse won the Dressage Horse of the Year title. A very fitting win!

The Hong Kong Equestrian Federation and the team at the show were great hosts and organisers and I was looked after very well. They should be highly commended for running such a good event. Big thank yous to the team! I had such a good time.

After the show finished on Sunday, I visited another friend and we had dinner and drinks on the south part of Lantau island on the beach… a hidden gem!

Then it was back on a plane on Monday to head home. It was an enjoyable trip and an amazing experience!

The KL Academy of Polo

The KL Academy of Polo is formed by three passionate polo players – Malaysian World Cup captain Shaik Reismann, RMPA Executive Secretary Peter Abisheganaden and lawyer Stanley Sinnappen. Based in Kuala Lumpur, the KL Academy of Polo conducts activities in the Klang Valley and abroad.