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Posted by Equestrian Australia on 13/03/2024.

Kate Kyros wins U25 Nations Cup in Florida

Congratulations to Kate Kyros who took out first place in the FEI Nations Cup CDIO-U25 Grand Prix Freestyle at Global Dressage Festival VII in Wellington, Florida on the last weekend of February.

Riding Chemistry, Kate won the Freestyle which placed her on top of the podium following on beautifully from her second in the FEI Nations Cup CDIO-U25 Grand Prix.

We caught up with Kate to hear her thoughts on the experience of respresenting Australia in the sport she loves:

"From the 22nd to the 25th of February I attended the Nations Cup in Wellington Florida with the opportunity to compete in the FEI CDIO U25 Grand Prix with my horse Chemistry. This journey started in December 2023 by expressing our interest to Equestrian Australia who entered us in the competition. It was incredibly exciting finding out I had been accepted to compete in the Nations Cup as it was going to be my first time officially representing Australia. Receiving the official Australian Equestrian Team uniform was a surreal moment and I am very grateful to the Australian Dressage Selectors for considering my scores sufficient to represent Australia in the CDIO U25 Nations Cup in Florida.

The CDI began on Wednesday with a horse inspection known commonly here as ‘the jog’. Chemistry (Tommy) and I were the first to present in the CDIO U25 Grand Prix class dressed in our team uniform to be announced ‘for Australia’. Tommy was extra excited to trot up with extra press and atmosphere watching closely. Once we passed with flying colours, my mother Heather Kyros, attended the Chef d’Equipe meeting where names were drawn by an international rider for the starting order. Whilst we awaited the draw our team attended the official team media shoot where each Nation arrived dressed in uniform with flags to pose for the cameras. It was super cool seeing the different nations all together and the patriotism shown by all the competitors. We also decorated our stable aisle and golf cart with aussie flags, stickers koalas and kangaroos. Following this, all the teams attended the Nations Cup welcome party in the VIP Lounge, a big dinner before the competition began.

While the format for CDI U25 was much the same as past competitions, the class times had been moved to later in the day for lunchtime viewers in the VIP hospitality area. This was a far greater number of spectators than the previous 3 events we had attended. The Americans had a huge support team which also added greatly to the atmosphere surrounding the arena. I am so proud of Chemistry and our tests; he rose to the occasion like he had been doing this his whole life. In the CDIO U25 Grand Prix, we were narrowly second (by 0.4%), which meant we brought home the silver medal for Australia. The Nations Cup presentation felt very prestigious as we dismounted in the arena to be presented with our medals on the podium. After a victory jump with the other competitors off the podium, we remounted for our lap of honour complete with celebratory music.

On Sunday we competed in the freestyle class and rode a super test for 73.690% - it was the winning score by over 3% and the gold medal for Australia. Chemistry gave me an incredible feeling throughout the whole test, from our first salute I knew he was with me. We nailed all our changes completing a clean test to the final salute. I was ecstatic before the test had even finished, I was so proud of Chemistry and how well he listened and performed under pressure. There were certainly tears when my team found out I had won the Gold Medal. My groom Lillie Connelly and I entered the arena with such pride for the presentation, a huge thank you must go to Lillie for her expert support this season.

Riding in the Nations Cup is certainly a highlight from our time in Wellington, Florida and I have learnt so much about representing my country in an FEI event. There is nothing that compares to wearing the flag for Australia and hearing our anthem playing as the winning Nation, I will remember this feeling forever."

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