Although the Sunshine Tour started turbulent with Kathi's fall during the first week of competition, it ended very well.
After recovering from her neck injury, Kathi was back in the saddle at the beginning of week 3 of the tour to jump clear rounds with Haydn in the 5-year-old classes and with Casper J&J Z in the 7-year-old-classes. During week 3 which was a CSI4*, our 8-year-old Balou Z jumped clear in all her three 1.35 classes while Qitana VDV Z took a 9th place in Sunday's 1.45m Longines Ranking class.
Week 4 saw the horses jumping better and better, with Casper J&J Z being clear in all three of his 7-year-old-classes. Also Haydn continued his good performances with three more clear rounds. Again, Qitana VDV Z was clear in Sunday's CSI4* 1.45m Longines Ranking class placing 8th while Z Canturana was clear and placed in both her 1.35m competitions.
Casper J&J Z kicked off week 5 with two more clear rounds, to qualify for week 6's 7-year-old final that asks a total of seven clear rounds of the horses during the tour. Also Haydn jumped two of his three classes clear. Z Canturana started off with a clear in Thursday's CSI3* 1.45m Longines Ranking class, following up with a double clear in Saturday's small 1.45m CSI3* Grand Prix counting for the Longines Ranking to finish 7th. Our very talented 8-year-old Amarit d'Amour jumped three clears in a row in his 1.35m classes, while Con Air Z was clear in both her 1.40m classes.
The last week of the Sunshine Tour was also a CSI4*, and first out was Casper J&J Z that jumped the final for the 7-year-olds. Set at 1.45m with a water jump in the main grass ring it was a big test at the beginning of the year for Casper, so even though he had two rails down Kathi was very happy with him as he grew with the task during the course.
Amarit d'Amour and Balou Z signed off in the best possible way, jumping clear every day with Amarit placing 2nd and 6th in the 1.40m classes after fantastic rounds. Qitana VDV Z showed consistency again, and was placed in Friday's 1.45m Longines Ranking class after a very fast round that unfortunately saw a rail fall. Z Canturana repeated her fantastic job from the weekend before, and did not touch a rail to finish third in Saturday's small 1.45m CSI4* Grand Prix counting for the Longines Ranking – ending the Sunshine Tour in top shape together with the rest of the horses some of which jumped out of competition getting back into form after having breaks.
Joanne Whitaker did a great job with our 6-year-old Gerton to qualify him for the final with the total of seven clear rounds needed, while she also jumped several clears on the 6-year-old Gitaine and her own 7-year-old Mill River. Closing off the Sunshine Tour, Joanne did a great clear round in the Medium Tour Grand Prix counting for the Longines Ranking with her own Contendro Star.
Carmen Christiaansen also had many clear rounds on her horses Fifthy-Fifthy K, Gaucho, Jennifer, Costa Date and Air Chin - making her 1.50m-debut during the tour aboard Costa Date. Our working student Elizabeth Karlsen also did clear rounds with her horses Jamira and Liberace.
For the team from Villa Silvia Sporthorses, consisting of Silvia Foppiani and Louis Wood that both are trained by Kathi, it was also a good tour. Louis jumped clear after clear on the 5-year-old Hardy, as well as on the 6-year-olds French CanCan de la Pomme and Lou-Lou VLS to qualify both of the latter for the final. With Daytime Dreamer BD, Silvia did several clear rounds in the 1.30m classes. Videos of the young horses from our partner Villa Silvia Sporthorses can be watched here.
The horses will now get some days off and enjoy life in the field, before they go back to competition close to home at the Z-Tour in Lanaken at the beginning of April.
Picture © Juan Luis Cabrera Garcia