Franklin Stakes Claim To National Dressage Champs

Franklin Thames Valley team has been titled the NZPCA National Dressage Champions. From left: Zephania Steele, Tasha Wedzinga, Grace Farrell, Coach, Alicia Collin, Jasmine Naden, Manager, Tony Naden, Emma Payne and Alena Dorotich

Franklin Thames Valley team has been titled the NZPCA National Dressage Champions. From left: Zephania Steele, Tasha Wedzinga, Grace Farrell, Coach, Alicia Collin, Jasmine Naden, Manager, Tony Naden, Emma Payne and Alena Dorotich

the Franklin Thames Valley Dressage team were a force to be reckoned
with last week at the New Zealand Pony Club Association National
Dressage Championships.

Not only did they take out champion for both junior and senior team, the dressage riders claimed the overall Championship title with a ten
point lead.

Coached by Alicia Collin and managed by Waiuku’s Tony Naden, the team consisted of six riders who travelled to Dannevirke for the competition. Held over two days, January 19 and 20, the South Island and North Island Dressage Championships were combined to celebrate the 70th anniversary
of Pony Club in New Zealand.

Tony explained that there was a high calibre of riders taking part in
the competition.“There was an elite rider in every team. You could say you were looking at the future stars of New Zealand Dressage.”
Tony explained that while dressage is a sport where riders have
to have utter discipline, the FTV team was incredibly dedicated
and had trained regularly before the championships.

“Our Coach, Alicia, was also a great mentor. With her role quite
demanding as coach, she fully dedicated herself to the team. The combination of her support and the riders discipline was evident
through their scores, which they all should be so proud of,”
says Tony.

The scores were based over two days of dressage tests, with the
night before the last day of competition Tony describes as ‘a nail
biting experience.’ “We were only leading by one point and the girls were feeling the pressure a little bit. We just wanted them to do the best they could and to enjoy the experience, yet the next day, they came out and smashed their percentages out of the park.”

The win came as a bitter sweet ending for two of the riders, as this will be the last time Zephania Steele and Jasmine Naden can compete under the Pony Club banner due to their age. “It was such an honour to manage
this team. While we are so proud of their results, the way they presented themselves and their attitude to the other teams was remarkable.

They were a true testament to what sportsmanship is all about and a credit to the Franklin area,” says Tony. “We had a great team of parents
and sponsors who have helped make this happen, and we really couldn’t have done it without them. We have a great community which comes on board and we can’t thank them enough for their support.”

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