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Congratulations to the 2011 Para-Equestrian National Champions
Riders from across Australia contested three days of competition at the 2011 Para-Equestrian National Championships at Sydney International Equestrian Centre which commenced on Friday 15 July.
The championships were held in conjunction with the Brighton Saddleworld NSW Young Rider Dressage Championships.
Para-Equestrian competition began with riders from each of the five grades performing the Team Test on Friday afternoon. The Individual Championship Test for all grades was ridden on Saturday and the Freestyle Test was performed on Sunday. The overall champions for each grade are determined by the results from the Individual Championship and the Freestyle Test.
“Competition ran very smoothly,” commented Julia Battams, Para-Equestrian National Performance Director.
Most riders achieved a personal best performance. We were really happy to see some new faces such as Nikki Doogue and Chelsea Higgins who were identified through our talent ID days and have since joined the programme.”
The 2011 National Champions for each grade are;
IA Morgan Webb Liddle (Kyneton, Vic) and Abbeyville 1 Molly
IB Joann Formosa (Broadford, Vic) and Riverview Solitique
II Grace Bowman (Moonta, SA) and Kirby Park Joy
III Elizabeth Sobecki (Adelaide, SA) and Ponderosa Stud Lucarno
IV Hannah Dodd (Arcadia, NSW) and Lucifer's Dream
The Reserve Champions for each grade are as follows:
IA Rob Oakley (Bungendore, NSW) and Statford Mantovini
II Rosemary Cole (Chelthenham, VIC) and Spirit of Scooterbar
III Chelsea Higgins (Pullenvale, QLD) and Mon Ami Scaramouche
IV Hannah Dodd (Arcadia, NSW) and Nova Carbon
Australia won two bronze medals in Para-Equestrian at the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games and two bronze at last year’s World Championships and hopes to better these results at next year’s Paralympic Games in London.
“When Para-Equestrian became the eighth discipline of the FEI in 2006 riders began to compete on their own horses at major championships such as World Games and Olympics. This made the sport far more professional and there is now a very high standard of competition,” said Julia.
“We are working to lift the standard in Australia to be more competitive on the world stage. To achieve this we need access to top quality horses and we are seeking interest from Australian horse owners who would consider lending their horses to the program,” added Julia.
Para-Equestrian Squad riders are now partaking in a three day training camp. Riders will benefit from sessions with Richard Bennett, Principal Psychologist at the Australian Paralympic Committee, performance analysis sessions with John Crampton, physiotherapy sessions from Team Physiotherapist Victoria Kahn, veterinary sessions with Team Veterinarian Janine Dwyer as well as training with Julia Battams.
The next major event on the Australia Para-Equestrian calendar will be in Tamworth in September, before battling it out for spots on the 2012 Australian Paralympic Team at the Oceania Team Qualifier in Werribee in December.
Friday - Results Team Test
Saturday - Results Individual Championship test
Friday,15 July 2011 Sydney International Equestrian Centre: The Para-Equestrian National Championship are being held in conjunction with the Brighton Saddleworld 2011 NSW Young Rider Dressage Championships.
Competition began today with the Team Test for all grades.
Rob OAKLEY from NSW rode the winning test in the 1A on Statford Mantovani scoring 66.667%
Joann FORMOSA (Vic) and Riverview Solitique were the only combination to contest the 1B scoring 59.394%
2010 World Equestrian Games representatives Grace BOWMAN (SA) and Kirby Park Joy won the Grade 2 on an impressive score of 73.016%.
Grade 3 was a close competition won by Victoria’s Anne SKINNER on Aubains Cossack with 67.901%
It was great day for young Hannah DODD (NSW) who was first and second in the largest class of the day - the Grade 4. She won riding aboard Lucifer's Dream (66.198%) and was second on Nova Carbon (63.646%). This was 6yo Nova Carbon's first Para-Equestrian competition.
It is a bittersweet week for 19 year-old Hannah Dodd from Arcadia. This will be Hannah’s last competition on Lucifer’s Dream aka ‘Luce’, the thoroughbred gelding she has ridden for the past 7 years taking him from Novice level to Prix St Georges.
“It is a really sad time,” said Phyllis. Luce has been sold overseas and leaves next week. Luce has been a fabulous horse however he is getting older and not up to the top international standard required at an Paralympic competition.
On the bright side Hannah has been bought a new horse from New Zealand. Tori MacBeath of Durham Park stables in Arcadia has sponsored the purchase.
“We are really excited,” said Phyllis, “He is a Prix St Georges horse and we think he has what it takes to be an international horse for Hannah.”
Hannah will have to work hard to firstly qualify and then to be selected for the London 2012 Paralympic Games on her new mount, despite continued physical challenges.
“It is her dream,” said Hannah’s mother Phyllis. “Hannah decided at 8 years of age that she wanted to ride for Australia, it has been her life goal and we will keep pursuing it as long as she is able.”
Hannah was born with sacral agenesis, a rare congenital disorder in which there is abnormal fetal development of the lower spine. Her lower right leg was facing backwards at birth and many of her internal organs were affected. Most of her renal system has been rebuilt. Last December Hannah was diagnosed with Dystonia is a neurological movement disorder which causes her suffer attacks of severe cramping and to lose power in her hands. The medication for the Dystonia is causing Hannah to lose her sight. In addition, Hannah recently got out of hospital after suffering ‘another’ Kidney infection.
“Riding definitely takes its toll,” said Phyllis. “She pushes herself hard and physically and she suffers the consequences but she loves riding and it is her life so we keep going.”
Thank you to Free Rein Photography for the great photos.