Ray Webster Award

The trophy is awarded to the best-performed Tasmanian Young Rider based on the highest average percentage of the two best official tests ridden.

NOTE: Young Riders must have reached the age of 10 years (if riding a horse) and 8 years (if riding a pony) on the first day of the event and be no older than 21 years at midnight on 31 December the previous year.

In memory of a man who gave everything to the sport he loved and asked nothing in return. Ray has been gone many years now, but in the days when the sport of dressage was very young, Ray was larger than life itself!

He wasn’t a competitor; he was an organizer, and very much a “do it” person. In fact, to put it in the words of Sandra Sloane, a very close family friend, “Ray was the best thing that ever happened to this club”, the North West Branch of Dressage Tasmania.

Ray first became involved with Dressage Tasmania when Sandra asked him to pencil for her while she did her judge's accreditation. He told her afterwards that he hated it and would much rather score the test sheets. In those days, everyone had to pitch in to help, so you rode your test, quickly put your horse away and added up a few sheets. When Ray offered to score, that was music to everyone’s ears! But this wasn’t enough for him; he would also put up the arenas, and take them down. He played a major part in the organization of each competition, and anyone who has organized one of these will appreciate that voluntary assistance is oh so wonderful!

Ray's scoring ability quickly got around the state and soon he could be seen at every major competition. At first he would go alone and be allocated an assistant scorer upon arrival, but this became frustrating as some would prefer to chat with friends and found the scoring side too difficult, so Ray would do all. Upon returning from one of these expeditions and voicing his displeasure, his wife Bette, offered to become his assistant. From that day on, Ray and Bette would be seen arriving at a competition in their white campervan, which doubled as a scorer’s office. Everyone would call in and say hello and pinch a cool mint, which he always had on hand. He thought once about trading the campervan in and was met with a howl of protests; Ray, Bette and the van were a team.

Ray made everyone realize that if our Association was to prosper and move on, then every member had to support it, he made them become a little more “professional” in their approach. He became President of the North West Branch and ran a very tight ship – meeting first and horse gossip after. The meetings were held at his home in East Devonport (regularly attended by 20 members), and would be followed by the best sponge cakes in the world, courtesy of Bette. In fact, one of Bette’s sponges was auctioned at a competition and the bidding was fierce, eventually being knocked down for $20.00, and worth every penny! In Ray’s days as President, they would hire a mini bus to attend the State AGM in Campbell Town; no one whined that it was too far, they just did it because Ray expected them to.

He was a diplomat and a gentleman, always ready to greet the competitors as they arrived and help them in any way that he could, and he could smooth the “ruffled feathers” of anyone. He always wanted to help the junior riders by trying to organize competitions just for them, to encourage them to find their way in this sport. He actively encouraged riders to compete Interstate and loved to watch the new “young horses” make their debut in the competition arena. He was a wealth of knowledge and information. He recorded the horse’s points and also the judge’s records. Anything you needed to know could be found out with a quick phone call to Ray.

Even as Ray’s health was failing, he was still actively involved with the club, and indeed when he died, there were many who simply did not know how ill he was. Not only was he the “best thing that ever happened to this club”, but he was the “best thing that ever happened to dressage in Tasmania” and there is strong doubt that the association will ever find another.

Ray was given Life Membership of the North West Branch of Dressage Tasmania and Bette was given Honorary Life Membership. Ray is survived by his wife, who still, to this day, donates towards the running of the Ray Webster Memorial Competition.

2005 Kelly Hamill My Golly Gosh
2006 Jacqui Robertson Spinifex Gavroche
2007 Sarah Campbell Aslan's Gold 
2008 Samantha Smith Roystonville Oliver
2009 Kate Moore Electric Storm
2010 Jessica van der Vlist Our Entourage
2011  Abbie O'Brien Rajah's Rave
2012  Jessica van der Vlist Storm Dancer
2013 Caitlin Radford Bamborough Jitterbug
2016 Caitlin Radford Kooinda Saint (owned by J & L Jackson)
2017 Ellie Smith Berenberg Jagger
2018 Chloe Daun Ahlam Zahra
2019 Caitlin Radford MS Cocktail
2020 Jordan Gale Leadburn Don Amour