Amanda Pottinger riding Just Kidding during the cross-country portion of the CCI4* event in Adelaide. PHOTO/LIBBY LAW – ESNZ
Former St Matthew’s Collegiate student Amanda Pottinger was unsure whether she should be gutted or celebrating after the Australian International three-day equestrian event came to a thrilling end in Adelaide on Sunday.
Pottinger – daughter of former Olympian Tinks Pottinger and now based in Hawke’s Bay – finished second in her first Concours Complet International Four [CCI4*] event, but was left disappointed after incurring more faults than expected in the showjumping portion of the event.
The three-day event is the triathlon of horse sports, comprising the three phases of dressage, cross-country and showjumping, over three days on the same horse.
The event is the Southern Hemisphere’s only 4* competition, and after the 24-strong field had been cut in half by the challenging Mike Etherington-Smith cross-country course on day two, the showjumping provided little solace with no competitors finishing without faults.
Pottinger, riding Just Kidding, had the lead after the cross-country portion on day two, but 16 penalties in the showjumping ensured she would finish as the runner-up.
Australian competitor Hazel Shannon – riding Willingapark Clifford – won the competition after finishing on 59.9, with Pottinger on 63.2.
Pottinger said she received some “really nice” feedback from the ground jury which meant a lot to her.
“The actual not winning part is not what I am gutted about,” she said.
“I have never had four rails down on Ferg [Just Kidding] in his whole career – that is what upsets me.
“There was a horse out there who for the last two years has jumped clear and even they had two rails down, so that is good perspective for me.”
Pottinger said there were many unknowns coming into the event.
It was her first international campaign, first maximum distance CCI4* cross-country track and first time showjumping in such brutal heat, where temperatures were in excess of 30 degrees Celsius.
“It is the first time he has had to gallop around a course that long, first time travelling overseas and our first 4* in 30-something degree heat.
“There were so many massive unknowns.”
Pottinger was philosophical when reflecting on her performance in a Facebook post, highlighting her mixed feelings about the result.
“Naturally I am disappointed that for the first time in the seven-year partnership Ferg and I have had, we have never incurred so many showjumping faults, which evidently cost us the win.
“The good news is I am finally starting to smile about the fact that we placed second in our first CCI4.”
Equestrian Sports New Zealand high performance development coach Jock Paget said he was incredibly proud of all of the Kiwi riders.
“All of the girls who finished were first-timers at CCI4.”
He felt Pottinger had been very impressive and solid across all three phases.
It had already been a successful year for Pottinger, after she won the NRM CCI3 open national championship crown in Taupo in May.
She won the same event in 2016.