Friday, October 29, 2010
Australian Dressage is slowly but surely climbing its way up the international leader-board. Australia achieved its best-ever team and individual results at the recent World Equestrian Games in Kentucky, USA.
Brett Parbery and Victory Salute finished in 7th place, a remarkable achievement and a sign that the medal podium is within Australia’s sights. This time last year, Brett and Victory Salute were winners at the 2009 Australian Dressage Championships in Sydney.
Whilst Europe remains the epicentre of the sport the standard of Dressage at a domestic level is ever-improving; which is crucial to the advancement of Australian horses and riders. The standard of horseflesh, training and competition in Australia has improved dramatically in recent years giving Aussie riders the fundamentals on which their international success depends.
Professional events like the Bates Australian Dressage Championships ‘raise the bar’ in Australia. The competitors not only enjoy the world class facilities at the Sydney International Equestrian Centre (SIEC), but can also expect top level international judges, reliable live-scoring, fabulous shopping at the extensive trade stands and most importantly a true ‘championship’ atmosphere.
“The Bates Australian Dressage Championships is a fantastic event and gives riders exposure to a big time atmosphere right here in Australia,” commented Brett Parbery.
SIEC which was built for the 2000 Olympic Games, has a state-of-the-art indoor arena with seating for 1,500 people. The indoor will be filled with spectators on Saturday night for the Hamilton Island Grand Prix Freestyle which is a World Cup Qualifier (CDI-W). The atmosphere for the competitors is as big as any event in the world. Judging the CDI-W will be a world class line-up of Evi Eisenhardt (GER), Anne Gribbons (USA), Helen Hughes-Keen (NZL), Susan Hoevenaars (AUS) Maria Schwennesen, (AUS), Virginia Creed (AUS) and Mary Seefried (AUS).
Competitors will travel from all areas of Australia as well as internationally to ride at the Championships. Travelling from New Zealand will be Shiwon Green and her horse Gosh. Green will be competing ‘Gosh’ in the CDI-W. Australia’s Chantal Wigan has returned from training at Academy Bartels in Holland to ride at the Championships. Wigan is aiming to represent Australia at the 2012 London Olympic Games. Former Olympians also have their eyes on that prize. 2008 Olympian Heath Ryan and three-time Olympian Mary Hanna both have two horses in the CDI-W. Brett Parbery will be riding in the Novice and Medium tests.
The Championships also exhibit the up-and-coming horses. There are 5 and 6-year-old Young Horse Classes as well as competition from Novice tests upwards.
The Australian Dressage Championships begin tomorrow at 1:00pm and continue until Sunday afternoon at the Sydney International Equestrian Centre, Horsley Park. Everyone is welcome and tickets and further information is available online at www.dressagensw.com.au