PON Games 2016
As some of you may know, I have recently made a few trips to Bandung, culminating in the most recent 10 day trip. PON (Pekan Olahraga Negara) or basically Inter-Province Games is currently on, and the Equestrian events finish tomorrow. PON Equestrian events have 2 categories; Open and Under 23 in Dressage, Showjumping and Eventing.
Initially I was asked to judge at Pra PON (Pre PON test event) which never eventuated, so I was then able to do more coaching for Lina Hardy’s Aswamatama riders of Endryanto Bambang (Anto) and Chayadi (Yadi) that were selected for the Jawa Barat (JABAR) team.
I got the coaching gig from my affiliation to Mitavite and at the last Mitavite Conference, I did a bit of translation for Lina’s employees as she herself could not attend.
The horses were moved to the PON venue at Denvakud, the cavalry base which is just 10 minutes away. They have built an indoor arena with 2 big main arenas and extra stable barns for this event. The stables were serviceable although a little narrow inside and the arena footing were generally quite acceptable. The only real problem was that some toilets quit working after the first 2 days!
On Monday afternoon, there was a trot up for the dressage and eventing horses, followed by the technical briefing. There were a few familiar faces at PON, as Tom Pantapa, NY Ho, Dr Shri amongst many others were officiating at the event.
Eventing dressage started on Tuesday morning. Yadi was lying 6th after dressage, as his mare, Shining got a little hot and strong in the test which was always a possibility. With 9 teams / provinces (JABAR, Jawa Timur, Jawa Tengah, Jakarta, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Papua, Banten), there were 29 starters for eventing itself which was great. There were horses of all shapes and sizes, some imported and some locally bred.
I had forgotten how much walking was involved in eventing. Although I was not competing, as the coach, I was obliged to walk the course a number of times with Yadi… which reminded me how much I did not miss eventing! The course itself was super – flowing, asked good questions of the riders, safe and had a lot of undulating terrain.
Wednesday morning was cross country morning. Overall, I was very impressed with the standard of riding over country. There were a couple of mishaps, including Yadi who fell off in the water, but that is more from a lack of experience and being a bit green when riding over undulating terrain. There was some very very good riding and it showed with many clear rounds. We have to remember that most riders do not have enough chance to practice cross country due to the limited space / area.
On Wednesday afternoon, we had the main dressage Team event. The FEI Childrens’ Team Test was used and again, I was impressed with the quality of horse flesh that Indonesia had. There were a number of Lusitano / Andalusians and Warmbloods that had clearly been imported. Jawa Timur won, followed by DKI Jakarta with JABAR winning the Bronze. Anto rode well and produced the highest score for his team.
As eventing was over for me, we did not have to present a horse at the trot up on Thursday morning. Apparently there were a couple of sick horses after cross country, which meant that the leader after day 2 had to scratch his horse. Olaf Peterson was the course designer, and he built a nice flowing 1m track for the eventing showjumping that afternoon. Some riders rode very good rounds, whilst others were still in cross country mode! The winner was Anto Budiarto from DKI Jakarta, followed by Brayen Brata-Coolen and Jojo Jonathan, both from JABAR.
The showjumpers had a practice ride that afternoon and there were some interesting rides when some horses found a couple of the fences a tad spooky. There was a long list of starters and again, the quality of horses was pretty amazing. There has been a lot of money spent on horses in Indonesia.
Friday morning was the Dressage Individual event where riders had to ride the PSG test. To have 12 starters in the PSG shows how healthy the Equestrian sport is in Indonesia. Again, the standard was mostly good with some tense horses but that is to be expected. There were some differences in some of the scores between the judges but that too is to be expected. Anto had a decent score and was lying in 5th place so we just have to pull our fingers out tomorrow.
Saturday morning could not have rolled around soon enough. The riders had to ride Freestyle today in reverse order of yesterday’s PSG rankings. The Freestyle event is a real spectator sport and it was pleasing to see 10 riders go around. When Anto’s score was announced, he had the highest score of the morning, with 4 riders to go!!! However the Individual medal is decided by the combination of the PSG and Freestyle scores. We just had to wait with bated breath.
Unfortunately he missed out on the gold medal by 0.43 percent. Gutwrenching!!! Dara, a promising young rider on her PRE won the gold whilst Mira on another PRE won the Bronze. I do wonder if it would have made a difference to the placings if Anto corrected his 4 time changes on the last centre line, as he made a mistake in his first 4 tempis. Ah well, it is what it is!
I managed to get an earlier flight home and rushed to the airport. I do have a busy week in front of me and arriving home a day earlier is actually godsend. PON and coaching the 2 guys have been a great experience, and a big learning curve. I am grateful for the opportunity and the hospitality shown!
Indonesia is on the right track with Equestrian sports as was clearly seen at PON. The international officials that I spoke to were impressed by their standards and I think it would be great if other South East Asian countries would be able to follow in their footsteps. Now, where do we start?!!!