At this year’s New Zealand National Young Rider Championships Australia took back the Championship title in the Trans Tasman Derby as a result of the combined efforts from Western Australia’s Stephanie Spencer and Queensland’s Elliot Patterson.
Elliot was crowned the individual winner of the contest with a win in round one riding Flamenco G on 64.706%, and a second place in round two riding Papanui Don Juan on 62.206%. He was grateful to draw two nice horses for the competition: “The only other derby style class I’ve ridden in was the Aachen Challenge at the Dressage Festival, where I knew both horses I would be riding. This time, I had no idea what to expect. Luckily I drew two nice horses from famous German bloodlines. My first ride was an imported gelding by Florestan (Flamenco G) and we just clicked really well. He gave me a really good ride and got me the highest percentage in the Derby. My second ride (Papanui Don Juan) was by De Niro and although he was interesting at times he came through for me in the end.”
It’s hard to get talented horses in Derby competitions, where organisers rely on the generosity of local owners to supply the talent. Elliot said: “I would really like to commend the owners of the horses in the Derby. It’s difficult to put your horse through that and to have such quality rides available made it a great comp.”
This was Elliot’s first time competing overseas: “It was a great experience and the New Zealander’s were very hospitable, which makes all the difference when you’re in foreign places.”
The standard of dressage in New Zealand reflected their riding history: “I think New Zealand is still very young in the Dressage world, just like Australia is. Neither of our countries have hundreds of years of breeding history like in Europe, or the training to go with it. But there are a few people importing really good bloodlines into the country and I could definitely see that New Zealand has potential in many areas.”
At 18 years of age, Elliot is setting his sights on the Young Rider CDI-Y competitions: “Those are the main focus for me this year, I hope to represent Australia at the Young Rider World Cup Final one day. At home I want to put more of a focus on the Grand Prix work with Leandro and start to take on some client’s horses and teaching.”