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Posted by Kirsty Pasto on 17/05/2021.

Equestrian Australia High Performance Weekly Update – 17th May 2021

Yesterday marked 100 days to go until the commencement of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, and both our Para-equestrian and able-bodied athletes continue to prepare diligently for the postponed Games.

Our athletes remain focussed on their preparation and qualification plans for not only Tokyo 2020 but also the World Equestrian Games 2022, which will be held in Denmark (Dressage, Jumping, Vaulting and Para-Dressage) and Italy (Eventing and Driving) next year. 

Despite the fact that Covid-19 restrictions continue to significantly differ by country, our athletes are fortunate to have returned to the competition arena across the majority of disciplines not only in Australia but also around the world.

World Champion Boyd Exell returned to the FEI Driving arena this past weekend taking part in the CAI3* Kronenberg in the Netherlands, the first Western European FEI Driving competition to be held this year. The competition also marked Boyd’s first FEI competition since 2020 when he claimed victory at CAI3* Lahden in Germany, and the team evidently has not lost their competitive edge. Boyd and his impressive team not only won the dressage phase of the three day competition at Kronenberg, they also claimed the overall four-in-hand title against some of the world’s best drivers displaying a strong start to the European Driving season.

This week Andrea Laws-King will travel to Italy to represent Australia at the Longines FEI World Endurance Championships. Andrea is the only athlete representing Australia at the Championships, where she will compete for the individual title against 80 other competitors from 32 nations. We will be following Andrea’s journey throughout the event and wish her team safe travels and good luck for the competition ahead. 

Over the weekend it was with great sadness that we learned of two horse fatalities at events in Australia, one at an FEI event in the CCI4*-S competition and the other at CCN1* national level. All Critical Incident Management Protocols were followed at both events. The CCI4*-S rider was transported to hospital in a stable condition and the national level rider was uninjured following the incident. At every event maximum consideration is given to the safety and welfare of both horses and riders and we extend our deepest sympathy to those parties connected to both combinations. Equestrian Australia has confirmed they will release further findings in due course.

Our Australian-based Tokyo 2020 identified athletes were invited last week to receive their first Covid-19 vaccination as part of category 1b, providing our riders and support teams with added confidence leading into team selection. As we finalise our preparations for Tokyo 2020 our High Performance staff continue to work closely with the Australian Olympic Committee, Paralympics Australia and the FEI surrounding all aspects involving both our horses and humans. We also continue to engage with all identified athletes, including our European based riders awaiting vaccinations, to ensure we share the latest available information concerning not only health and safety matters, but also details surrounding logistics and pre-departure preparations. 

As always the health and safety of our people and horses remain our priority as we work together as a high-performance community to navigate these unprecedented times.



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