Tue, Aug 2, 2022 4:20 PM

Marlborough dressage duo face their biggest test so far


Peter Jones

Marlborough dressage ace Melissa Galloway is feeling well-prepared and relaxed prior to competing at the FEI World Championships 2022 in Herning, Denmark later this week.

Although it will be the first trip to the worlds, which are staged every four years, for Melissa and her trusty mount Windermere J’Obei W the 29-year-old says there have been no nervous moments as the start date approaches.

“To be honest, not really, not yet at least.

“Once we get to Denmark and we are with the NZ team and in that atmosphere, there probably will be nerves … more so probably than the other shows because we are now in a team which is representing our country and we want to do them proud,” she said.

Melissa added that she has been more relaxed during competition since arriving in Europe, probably due to the fact that expectations on her and Joey, her mount’s nickname, were lower than in New Zealand.

“Over her I am not really know so much, so I don’t feel such pressure, whereas back home I always felt the pressure to win.”

Having now competed in as string of European competitions, with notable success, she suggested that becoming familiar with the environment and what the judges expected was paying dividends.

“Overall, our work has got more consistent … the judges are starting to know me now, so the scores are quietly going up.

“When you first come over and no-one knows who you are it is hard … you have got to get your name out there before [the judges] start giving you what you think you deserve. That’s obviously not how it should be, but it is part of the game.”

One area she and Joey have improved on is their piaffe passage, where their scores have improved considerably since being in Europe.

She admits it has been “surreal” regularly rubbing shoulders with the world’s best dressage exponents.

“It’s crazy … basically every competition I have been at I have been up against the best of the best … I have followed some of these people for years on Instagram and Facebook so to be up against them and regularly chatting to them is a thrill.”

Now, with the worlds just days away, Melissa and Joey are fine tuning their work, looking for the consistency that top level competition requires.

“It is not push, push, push like it was earlier in the season. It is just keeping him fit and sound and making sure all the buttons are ready to be pressed on the day, then going for it.”

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