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  • Writer's pictureFran Cleland

Bits: Aussies celebrate, rider weight issue and two vales

ABOVE: Celebrations for Boyd Exell, Andrew Hoy and Fredrik Spetz after their combined event win at CHIO Aachen. Picture: AUSTRALIAN EQUESTRIAN TEAM/LIBBY LAW

AUSTRALIANS Andrew Hoy and Boyd Exell teamed up with Swedish showjumper Fredrik Spetz to win the combined jumping, eventing and driving competition at CHIO Aachen. Boyd then took first place in the Driving Challenge and along with team mate Tor van den Berge finished 4th in the Nations' Cup a point behind third.

The Australian eventing team finished last at Aachen, with Shenae Lowings and Bold Venture finishing highest in the individual placings at 19th. Bill Levett and Sligo Candy Cane were 33rd, Kevin McNab Miss Pepperpot 39th and Rebecca Braitling and Caravaggio were eliminated.


FORMER equestrian journalist Dale McDonell has passed away from pancreatic cancer. She was also the breeder of top class Welsh Ponies at Pinehurst Pony Stud and in later years she bred Tenterfield Terriers.


THE ladies that go racing in the spring, and a lot of the horse-riding women do love the chance to throw on a dress, will be sad that Myer is not sponsoring fashions on the field for the Victorian Spring Carnival anymore.


LAUREN Balcomb and Verdini D’Houtveld Z continued their good form to win the Grand Prix CSI3* at the 2023 Ocala Summer Series.

The Sydney-born, 33-year-old is based in Florida and has previously stated that her aim is to be on the team for the 2024 Olympics.


EQUESTRIAN Australia has stirred up a hornets nest in requiring base registrations for horses jumping 1.04m and below at official participation events. Many horses are trained over the low level courses, found wanting and sold on. Riding Club member often compete at the low level and it’s felt that requiring base registrations will greatly affect agricultural showjumping, where non EFA members would not be allowed to compete, or would choose not to because of having to join EA.

Equestrian Victoria has informed all members that they are aware of Equestrian Australia's intention to provide clarification on the new base horse registration fee specifically for jumping. “However,” it said, “until we have received complete information from Equestrian Australia, Equestrian Victoria will refrain from implementing the base horse registration requirement.” More information here.


VALE Alan Chittick, the author of “High, Wide and Handsome – A Pictorial History of Australian Show-Ring Jumping 1900-1950” which featured a wonderful photo collection of high jumping and the teams involved in the travelling show lifestyle.

Alan was aged 95. He was born in Kangaroo Valley NSW in 1926. His family had been involved with show horses, mainly jumpers, since the turn of the century, and he was involved in a wide variety of horse sports from an early age.

After graduating from Sydney University in Veterinary Science, he was a practising vet in country districts over a period of 40 years.

Over the years he developed a fascination with the 1920s and 1930s, not only with the racing scene, but also all other aspects of that strange “long weekend” between the two World Wars, including the literature, films, popular music and sport in general.

He has also written Horseman from the Valley (1984) and Jim Pike The Master - His Life and Times 1892-1969 (2001).

Alan's daughter Denise still has copies of “High, Wide and Handsome – A Pictorial History of Australian Show-Ring Jumping 1900-1950” for sale via email at


IN show news from Britain, 12 people were advised that they were too big for the ponies they were riding and asked to dismount at a major show for equine welfare reasons. The move has created a lot of debate with some also saying that riders too tall on ponies should also not be allowed to ride. Apparently, the ideal proportion is that rider and gear should be less than 20 per cent of the weight of the pony. While this might seem ideal, does it discriminate against children with a weight problem, when many Mountain and Moorland ponies in particular were bred to carry weight? Who is going to police this if it comes to Australia? *

THE Australian Institute of Health and Welfare's latest data shows Equestrian sports have the highest rate of hospitalisations for women in Australia.

It accounts for almost 90 per cent of women's emergency hospital visits from all sports.

It is second only to cycling as the sport with the highest rate of hospitalisations, both for men and overall.

While every attempt to make riding safe, with protective helmets and vests, the fact that the sport is involved with a living, and often unpredictable animal means there is always a chance for injury.

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