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Posted by Equestrian Australia on 30/04/2013.

Announcing the winners of Equestrian Australia's annual Sport Achievement Awards

Joann Formosa accepts her gold medal for winning the grade Ib Individual Championship test at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

Photograph:FEI/Liz Gregg

Equestrian Australia is pleased to announce the 2012 Sport Achievement Award winners.

Over 200 guests gathered at Le Montage in Sydney to celebrate equestrian sport’s most successful, dedicated and extraordinary members. As well as acknowledging the top performing athletes and horses of the previous year, the evening also recognised the sport’s most outstanding administrator, coach, official, owner, volunteer and event of the past 12 months.

The highlight of the evening was the Hall of Fame presentation which inducted the 1976 Eventing Team, Olympic gold medal winning horse Sunburst, Show horse champion Vicky Lawrie, and Albert ‘Bert’ Jacobs - Australia’s first Olympic representative in show jumping. A full list of this year’s inductees is available on Equestrian Australia’s website Hall of Fame page.

Congratulations to the recipients of the 2012 Sport Achievement Awards:

Australian Sports Commission Event of the Year Melbourne International Three Day Event

Gow Gates Official of the Year Gillian Rolton                            

Gow Gates Club of the Year Caramut Riding Club                          

Owner of the Year Cheryl O’Brien

Administrator of the Year Isabel Casey

Gow Gates Coach of the Year  Alison Rowland                         

Gow Gates Volunteer of the Year Marj England                           

Young Athlete of the Year Tom McDermott

Horsezone Domestic Horse of the Year Bickley Brook Bella

IRT International Horse of the Year Boyd Exell’s four in hand team (Carrington Park, Ajax, Lucky, Banjo, Bill and Spitfire)

Domestic Athlete of the Year Maree Tomkinson 

International Athlete of the Year Joann Formosa

About the winners:

Australian Sports Commission Event of the Year: Melbourne International Three Day Event (VIC)

The 2012 Melbourne International Three Day Event was the last chance for domestic eventing athletes to impress national selectors prior to the selection of the London Olympic team. 2012 also marked the 55th anniversary of the event which included classes from 1 star to 3 star and a CDI-W dressage class. The 2012 event welcomed a crowd of more than 12,000 people over the three days of competition.

Gow Gates Official of the Year: Gillian Rolton (SA)

In 2012 Gillian was selected as one of three ground jury judges for the three day event competition at the London Olympic Games and also served as the Chair of the Ground Jury at the World Cup final in Malmo, Sweden. In 2012 Gillian was also appointed to the FEI Eventing committee for the forthcoming four year period. Her role on this committee will include assisting the FEI on the revision of the eventing rules. Gillian also acts as a mentor for technical delegates and course designers to assist them in gaining their qualifications within the EA officiating pathway.

Gow Gates Club of the Year: Caramut Riding Club (VIC)

In 2012 the Caramut Riding Club ran three major show jumping competitions. The club holds monthly training days for members from May to September. The Club conducted the inaugural Hexham Equestrian Centre show jumping competition which is a fundraiser to support plans to develop the Centre as a premier facility within Western Victoria.

Owner of the Year: Cheryl O’Brien (QLD)

Cheryl is well known throughout the Australian Dressage community as the successful operator of Remi Stud which breeds Hanoverian performance horses in Australia. Cheryl’s quiet determination to upgrade the standard of performance horse breeding in Australia to incorporate the high German standards sets her apart. Cheryl wants to see her stallions and their progeny do well.

Administrator of the Year: Isabel Casey (TAS)

Isabel’s history and involvement in equestrian activities spans 25 years, she is currently the State secretary for Show Jumping Tasmania. In the late 1990’s Isabel single handily developed a State Jumping Squad in Tasmania as part of the National High Performance program. Tasmania continues to have a very successful squad program coordinated solely by Isabel. She is always available to give advice on show jumping matters and maintains a broad vision for the sport. 

Gow Gates Coach of the Year: Alison Rowland (WA)

Alison teaches all levels of riders and adapts her coaching to suit each individual student and horse. An EA Level 1 Coach, Alison aspires to see her students perform their personal best. In what was only their second World Cup class, pupil Sarah Isbister and Little Britton placed 5th in the Be the Influence Equestrian Grand Final. Alison teaches her students the importance of mental strength, the ability to bounce back from downfalls, and the power of positive thinking.

Gow Gates Volunteer of the Year: Marj England (VIC)

Marj has been volunteering at equestrian events since 1986 including the Melbourne International Three Day Event, Dressage and Jumping with the Stars and the state dressage championships. Marj has pencilled, assisted judges, gear checked and acted as a steward at countless events. She is now primarily focusing on giving back via catering to both guests and volunteers at numerous events.

Young Athlete of the Year: Tom McDermott (NSW)

This is the third consecutive year Tom McDermott has been named the Equestrian Australia Young Athlete of the year. Tom was awarded the FEI’s Rising Star of 2012, an accolade which is awarded to a young rider between the age of 14-21 who exudes outstanding sporting talent and commitment. The gifted young athlete received the award ahead of other top young riders from around the world. As well as being crowned the 2012 Australian Senior Show Jumping Champion, the teenager from the New South Wales also won the Young Rider's title.

Horsezone Domestic Horse of the Year: Bickley Brook Bella

Bickley Brook Bella is a 10 year old mare owned by Nicol Taylor, Peter Cooke and Alison Rowland. In just her first season competing at World Cup level, Bickley Brook Bella won four World Cup qualifiers including Sydney, Adelaide, Sale and the ‘Be the Influence’ Equestrian Grand Final. After an impressive season Bickley Brook Bella took out the Golden Grand award for the leading horse in the 2012 World Cup Jumping series.

IRT International Horse of the Year: Boyd Exell’s four in hand team (Carrington Park, Ajax, Lucky Banjo, Bill and Spitfire)

Boyd’s indoor four in hand team continue to excel at the highest level in Carriage driving and in 2012 Boyd and his team entered the history books by winning the FEI World Cup Driving Final for the fourth consecutive time. The team also won at Stuttgart, Geneva, London Olympia and Mechelen and were 3rd at Budapest.

Domestic Athlete of the Year: Maree Tomkinson (VIC)

Maree started 2012 with a win at Dressage with the Stars; this was her 11 year old mare Diamantina’s first Grand Prix Freestyle competition. Maree and Diamantina continued their success by winning the Sydney CDI and in October the duo were crowned the 2012 Australian Dressage Champions. To round off the year Maree gained second place at the Pacific League World Cup Dressage Final.

International Athlete of the Year: Joann Formosa (VIC)

With her gold medal win at the 2012 London Paralympic Games in the Grade 1b individual test, Joann is only the second Australian to win a Paralympic gold medal in Equestrian. On her way to victory, Joann and her mount, 17 year old stallion Worldwide PB also dethroned the world’s most successful Para-Equestrian rider to-date, Lee Pearson of Great Britain. 75.826%

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