NEWS > Jumping
Posted by Kirsty Pasto on 23/12/2022.
Sarah McMillan and Tyrone VDL at Boneo Park
Photo credit: One Eyed Frog Photography

Sarah McMillan Named FEI World Cup™ Australian League Rookie of the Year

Twenty-nine year old Sarah McMillan has been named this year’s FEI World Cup™ Australian League ‘Rookie of the Year’.

Sarah competed throughout the season on her horse Tyrone VDL, a stunning bay gelding, with whom she has only been partnered since 2021. 

“He isn’t always the easiest ride and he’s not the biggest, but his heart makes up for any quirk or idiosyncrasy of his. He is a trier and absolutely loves his job. Tyrone stayed so consistent this year and I am delighted with his performance. Being awarded Rookie of the Year is just the cherry on top,” said Sarah. 

The ‘Rookie of the Year’ title is aimed at recognising the incredible achievement of riders who have completed their first FEI World Cup™ season, the pinnacle level of jumping in Australia.

The award is presented to the highest-ranking rider throughout the series who has never competed in a World Cup™ prior to the beginning of the season. 

With fences upwards of 1.40m and riding against the best combinations in the country the decision to step up to World Cup™ level for the first time can be a daunting one, but Sarah says the key is consistency and confidence. 

“Waiting to find the right time to have that first World Cup start took a little longer than I would have liked, but I am happy I chose not to rush it. I wanted to be sure that it wasn’t going to be just one class, but a reflection of the level the horse and I felt very comfortable at and that we would continue the circuit afterwards,” explained Sarah.

In order to recognise the efforts of Australia's rising talent, the ‘Rookie of the Year’ award was launched for the 2018/19 season. Graeme Watts, Chair of the National Jumping Selection Panel, believes it is important to encourage the growth and development of Australia’s athletes as they take the next step in their jumping careers.

“Congratulations to Sarah McMillan on being named Rookie of the Year. This title rewards outstanding effort in a first season and it is essential that we continue to recognise, encourage and support our riders as they step up into the World Cup League for their first season. Also, I would like to extend a further congratulations to Sam Overton and Oaks Cassanova who were overall winners of the Australian League, as well as winners of the Golden Grand award for leading horse.”   

The 2022/23 FEI World Cup™ Australian League season was a tumultuous one, plagued by severe weather and setbacks following on from Covid, with only six of the originally scheduled 10 legs able to run.  

“I would like to thank all of our World Cup organising committees,” said Graeme Watts. "The Australian League competition would not be possible without all of their hard work and dedication, year after year."

The 2023/24 FEI World Cup™ Australian League will commence in March 2023 in Shepparton Victoria and promises another exciting season where Australia based riders will also have the opportunity to obtain their Minimum Eligibility Requirements (MER) for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

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