Champs for me was a very mixed bag. We had an absolutely terrible journey to the grounds through very high volume Auckland traffic with bumper to bumper traffic in places from roadworks and trucks roaring up behind us the whole way. Finn was in a lather when we arrived at the grounds. When we arrived we found the new grounds for the Auckland/Manukau Dressage Group still very raw and scary. Rock hard packed clay from all the recent earthworks, lots of machinery still around, open drains with water in them having to be crossed to get to the arenas,and rattling generators just made things just a little more trying. Its going to be great when its finally all done but in the meantime its makes for a distracting environment. Finn was very tense and due to the ground being so hard I had a 8 minute warmup for my first test. He actually warmed up nicely but when it got to our first canter in his test he spent the whole time handstanding. 61%. Finn did not want to load for another journey in the traffic so we had a little altercation before he finally decided to load. Fortunately the traffic although busy was not as bad as the morning. Saturday we had a 10am start and the traffic was nice and easy. On the hard clay this morning and with a judge who hates Finn. Finn was still tense and after our counter canter had a little disagreement where he actually thought he might like to leave the arena. A very harsh and undeserved 59.5% but I have come to expect this from this judge. The afternoon test was on the grass again and this time judged by UK judge Mary Robbins who does not miss a trick. I was a bit freaked to say the least. He was a pretty flat and was really feeling the ground by this time but Mary saw the good and rewarded is with 4th place and 64% with the deserved comments of a little earthbound! :) Sunday just the one test and for this one finally on the Cushionride. Finn was finally calmer today but a bit tired. I was pretty happy with the test. His second canter was hollow but overall it wasn't a bad test. The scores were pretty close and we were not far off a placing on 62%. So overall not the results we would have liked but Finn being a suspicious beast and not being good on hardground (Being a clumper) it was as good as it was going to get. Next weekend its back to Woodhill Sands and a soft surface so hopefully we will have a better result.