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Posted by Samantha Napier on 13/12/2017.

Bert Gibson reports from the Australian Dressage Championships 2017

Dear Committee and Dressage Tasmania Members,

It is with pleasure that I submit the following report on my experiences at the Martin Collins Australian Dressage Championships 2017 at Boneo Park in Victoria.

For the first time in many years the championships were held in Victoria. Boneo Park is a wonderful facility and made for a very successful championship. The move to Victoria made competing at the Nationals a more realistic and achievable option for Tasmanian riders and lead to the largest Tasmanian dressage team to compete at the Nationals ever. A great thing for Dressage Tas and the sport.

All the riders attending performed well and the friendship and support shown by all team members was invaluable. A huge reason for this team success was the tireless efforts of the team Chef d’Equipe Sharni Radford and her daughter Caitlin. As a team and individually all Tasmanian riders and helpers presented a very professional approach. A big thank you also to all the Tasmanian dressage enthusiasts who came and watched and supported. It made a big difference!

Most of the team travelled to Victoria on the 9th of October which gave everyone the opportunity to compete at a warm-up competition the week before the championships. This proved to be a good thing and allowed riders and horses time to settle in and get used to the competition environment.

The efforts of Tasmanian Squad Coach Peter Fischer should not be understated. His experience, knowledge and help was also invaluable. Peter stayed at the venue a lot of the time and made himself readily available to the team. Peter’s influence as the State Squad Coach has been enormous for Tasmanian dressage with riders all showing that they are on the right path and can be competitive on a National level.

On a personal note I was delighted with how Raf went. For a horse that normally has eyes on stalks he was on his best behaviour and performed as well as I could have expected for the stage he is at. Again I cannot thank Peter Fischer enough for all the efforts he has put in to helping Raf and I over the last few years.

The exciting thing is that the Champs are going to be at Boneo again next year and all Tasmanian dressage riders should be inspired to try and qualify to attend. Tassie has a point to prove.

Finally I would like to thank the wonderful efforts of the Dressage Tas committee for their efforts in the support of not only the championship team but also the development and direction of the sport as a whole.

Bernadette Gibson

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