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Posted by Samantha Napier on 04/11/2017.

Sharni Radford reports on the Australian Dressage Championships 2017

Preparations started for the Australian Dressage Championships (Nationals) in February 2017 when discussing the possibility of a Tasmanian team being sponsored by Hayley Sheehan from Tasmanian Horse Transport. In May, Belinda suggested that I might like to take on the role of Chef d'Equipe and organising the sponsored truck. So the journey began! Expressions of interest were sought in May and initially SDA received 10. A wet winter made it hard for some to achieve qualifying scores and eventually we had a team of nine. The final team consisted of:

• Bernadette Gibson (Captain)
• Ellie Smith
• Philippa Cassidy
• Simone James
• Carla Townsend
• Mandy Parsons
• Michelle Milne
• Tania Hay
• Stephanie Temple

Sadly, my daughter Caitlin had to withdraw due to the passing of our beloved Jay (XL Overtime). It was difficult to continue with the preparations at this point but Caitlin reminded me that I had committed to take on the role as Chef and that we “would be going to Nationals to support our Tasmanian team”. In the weeks that followed, I was able to draw on my experiences over the years from travelling with Caitlin in assisting the Tasmanian team members with their preparations for the trip away. This included but was not limited to:

• Team uniform
• Organising team rugs with the help of Dianne Ray-Luttrell and Amanda Baker
• Advising team of the schedule and entry requirements
• Jacket and saddle cloth badges (eTAS)
• Tasmanian Horse Transport truck logistics
• Feed on arrival at Boneo
• Preparation for toll roads
• Accommodation options
• FEI horse and human drug requirements
• Organising reduced camping and stabling fees due to long term stay
• Team paddock at Boneo Park
• Tasmanian Official Team B entry
• Horse preparation for sea travel
• Rider preparation (bridle numbers, etc)

On the 9th October 2017, 8 horses, riders and support crew headed to Boneo. The wonderful Boneo Park staff assisted Rodney to unload the horses before we arrived. Our 9th horse and rider arrived on the 12th October. Boneo Park allowed us the use of the days yards in between competitions and pre-organised paddocks which were used on a rotational basis. This was instrumental in the horses remaining in great health throughout the trip. To assist with keeping the team on track, I purchased a white board which was updated daily with competitor tests, start times and arena details. Boneo Park provided an online programme and final draw and not a printed one. Once leaving home it is difficult to print off any updated schedules or any other information. As I find reading on a phone screen not ideal, I purchased a $69 printer from Officeworks. I was then able to Airdrop from my iPhone to the printer to print off any documents we required. Technology! From a Chef’s position this made assisting the team much easier.

Everyone was very excited for the 'warmup' competition, the Mitavite Victorian Amateur Owner Rider (AOR) Championships. Sadly, Carla and Furstin Fine Design (Smooch) didn’t get to compete in this due to a hoof issue. A huge thanks must go to Abbie O’Brien’s farrier and vet, as Smooch recovered quickly and was able to compete at Nationals. Results from the Victorian AOR Championships exceeded everyone’s expectations with many outstanding results and many personal goals achieved. Some of the highlights include Mandy Parsons winning Reserve Champion Novice Open and AOR, Michelle Milne 1st in the Inter 1, Steph Temple 5th Overall Medium AOR, Bert Gibson 4th in the PSG and Philippa Cassidy 5th in the PSG. The full results are attached to this report.

In between competitions, team members were permitted to ride around the amazing Boneo Park. Although mainly known for it's equestrian facilities, it is also home to a nature reserve. There are many species of birds whom make Boneo home. The Nationals started with the Para and Pony Novice classes on a very hot Wednesday 18th October. This was the first time that Mandy and Princess had competed in the Para Grade 4 classes and they continued their great form from the warmup event placing second to Australia’s Rio combination of Sharon Jarvis and imported mare Ceasy. An outstanding debut on a 6 year old home bred mare. Mandy was also included in a composite Para Team which placed 1st. Tania and Simone put in strong performances to finish 15th and 16th respectively in the Pony Novice classes. Thursday the 19th October was another very warm day. Ellie and Carla both competed in the Novice 2.2 and 2.3 and Philippa, Bert and Michelle competed in the Prix St George. Michelle and Tom place 2nd in the AOR. The warm weather was gone and we were greeted with rain on Friday 20th October. Michelle competed in the indoor in the Intermediate 1 class, placing 12th overall in the open class with 64.210% and this was good enough for 1st place AOR. Bert and Philippa competed in the Advanced 5.2 and 5.3 finishing 12th and 22nd respectively overall. Several members of the team were able to watch the Young Horse Masterclass Presentation with Simone Pearce. On Saturday 21st October Ellie competed in the Elementary 3.2 and 3.3 with a solid performance and placed 14th overall in the 3.3. Every test Ellie and Jagger kept getting better and better. The Masterclass with Spencer Wilton was in the main arena and fortunately the weather co-operated! Sunday the 22nd of October was the last day of competition and we were greeted with more rain. Steph competed in the 4.2 and 4.3 in a class of 38 competitors. To place 25th in the 4.3 was a fantastic result.

Many Dressage Tasmania members made the trip to Boneo and their support was greatly appreciated. To the many members who officiated and volunteered, your presence was very much appreciated by the organisers. To the team, I would like to thank each and every one of you for making my first trip in an official capacity – Chef d’Equipe, such a pleasurable one. The teamwork was outstanding and I have never been more proud to be a member of Dressage Tasmania and Equestrian Tasmania. The 2018 Australian Dressage Championships will again be at Boneo Park and I would encourage everyone to consider making the trip across Bass Strait. Wouldn’t it be great to have a team of 20 next year!

Results Dressage Tasmania Team Aust Champs 2017.pdf

Results Dressage Tasmania Team Vic AOR.pdf

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