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  • Writer's pictureFran Cleland

Bits: Extra CCI comp, damages bid fails and children checks now mandatory

ABOVE: This week’s cover image for “Bits” is by artist Kathy Ellem from North East Victoria. “Chasing the light through landscapes, horses and anything else.” If you would like to view more of Kathy’s lovely work please visit her website at

BECAUSE of the almost non-existent Spring season and the lack of qualifiers for higher level horses, Eventing Victoria has announced a one-off addition to the 2023 calendar.

On February 2 to 5, a CCI competition will be held at Werribee Park, with the following classes: CCN1*-L CCI2*-L CCI3*-S CCI3*-L CCI4*-S CCI4*-L

All other levels are well supported by state events running in January and February so these will be the only classes run. Entries will be on Event Secretary and will open on December 20.


THE Australian Pony Stud Book Society’s Victorian branch committee will run a special anniversary show to celebrate the organisation’s 90th anniversary.

The Diamond Gala Show has been rescheduled to Thursday January 26, 2023, at the iconic Akoonah Park, Berwick, which holds a special place in the heart of the APSB.

There is a variety of classes on offer, including some new events and some lovely prizes to be won.


THE Australian Federal Court has dismissed an application for $53 million in damages in a class action by horse owners over alleged deaths and side effects from the Hendra vaccine.

The horse owners, from NSW and Queensland, claimed that animal pharmaceuticals company Zoetis Australia Pty Ltd did not provide adequate warnings about potential side effects of the vaccine on their horses.

About half a million doses have been administered to horses across Australia since 2012. More than 1500 horses experienced adverse reactions and some died.

Lawyers for the horse owners argued their animals suffered side effects from the vaccine that led to loss and damage.


ALL Pony Club riders need to be aware of the new, updated and expanded Gear Rules.

Changes include noseband rules and some coloured jodhpurs will now be allowed.

You can find the gear rules at.


The Victorian Agricultural Shows 2023 Saddle Horse Championships Schedule has been released.

Qualifications have been adjusted to reflect the cancellations across the year so competitors are asked to carefully read the requirements. Balnarring, Whittlesea and Kingston shows are still qualifiers for the championships.

New additions to the championships include rising star classes split for open and show hunters and more debutante classes. A final list of judges will be posted once they are confirmed.

Entries will be online via Event Secretary, which will open soon (date to be confirmed).


As part of Equestrian Australia’s (EA’s) commitment to safeguarding children and young people in the sport of Equestrian, and in line with the EA Child Safeguarding Policy, EA will be implementing mandatory Working with Children Check’s for all EA Officials to take effect from July 1, 2023.

Working with Children Check laws are currently in place in all Australian states and territories and aim to prevent people who pose a risk to children from working with children as paid employees or volunteers.

These laws require individuals involved in areas such as sport and recreation to undertake a check to determine their suitability to work (in a paid or volunteer capacity) with children.


THERE are still places for “fence sitters” to watch and learn when FEI Individual World Driving Champion Boyd Exell conducts a clinic in Victoria's Western District in January.

Forty-six sessions will be held over the course of the clinic's four days where Boyd will share his knowledge with those in attendance. While the clinic has been booked out, spectators from all equestrian disciplines are invited to attend to learn from his horsemanship skills.

The date is January 14 to 17, at Greenwood Park, Warrayure. All enquiries about the clinic should be directed to Elizabeth Lawrence at

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