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  • Writer's pictureFran Cleland

And that's a wrap for the World Equestrian Games in Denmark

ABOVE: Australia’s para dressage team Dianne Barnes, Emma Booth and Lisa Martin. Picture: LIBBY LAW

THE World Equestrian Games in Denmark are done and dusted.

It will all start again when our eventers and carriage drivers take to the courses at Pratoni in Italy in September so that’s about a month to get our sleep patterns back to normal before the late nights return.

Channel Seven Plus gave us the chance to have front stall seats at every class. Those who couldn’t get the coverage spent most of the nights with text messages flying back and forth. “What’s happening? What’s happening.” Telstra would have been hard-pressed to cope.

So what did we learn?

We learned that the 15,000 people that insisted our para riders be included were totally justified. It would have been good to have four riders so we could have a drop score.

The unintended benefit to the petition was that there was total interest in the para tests and we could see that we are well up with the rest of the world.

The way the grades are sorted is confusing to those not totally involved.

Seeing Emma Booth, who is a paraplegic, competing against people that could walk and use their legs freely during a test was puzzling but as an Australian coach explained, “it depends on the level of the spinal lesion”. Emma’s is relatively low at L3/4. The grade2s are usually Thoracic level.

None-the-less it was good to be told that the gradings are up for review. With so many riders now competing in para, it seems it’s time.

The three-woman team – which also included Dianne Barnes and Lisa Martin – were stars and we loved it. The team was unplaced but Emma Booth did make it into the special.

Like it or not, judges aren’t supposed to take in anything that happens before the test, but when Emma’s mount objected to the gate person standing so close to the entry and reared and really objected to entering, but once in showed his usual talent, let’s just say many of us felt he was harshly marked.

In the showjumping, we started really well but things went downhill and the team didn’t make the final cut. But the Paris Olympics is Paris is two years away and that’s a long time in this sport, with some very good horses in the wings.

The able-bodied dressage team also managed to get one rider into the special. The two young riders Simone Pearce and Jayden Brown were a real asset and support to Lyndal Oatley and her gorgeous Eros, after Mary Hanna’s Calanta chose the day before the first class to damage herself.

Like the paras, we just had three riders and no drop score, but it was an encouraging effort.

The eventers had a warm up class at Haras Du Pen in France and it was amazing to see just how dry and scorched the ground was: it looked like Oaklands Hunt Club in mid-summer.

Our Nations Cup competitors Lissa Green, Sam Lyle, Hazel Shannon and Jess Rae rode as the team and Andrew Hoy and Sam McNab rode as individuals.

The team finished in fifth place, with Hazel Shannon the highest placed team individual at 17th. Andrew Hoy placed seventh and Kevin McNab 17th.

ABOVE: Hilary Scott and Oaks Milky Way. Picture: LIBBY LAW

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