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  • Writer's pictureFran Cleland

Bits: Riders choose kindness, tack updates and a new statue


ABOVE: The riders have a simple but important message to share.

CORIO and Moorabool Pony Club has been hot to trot doing something special to raise awareness about the importance of kindness.

The junior riders have been supporting Dolly's Dream, a charity that was created by Kate and Tick Everett following the shattering loss of their 14-year-old daughter, Dolly, to suicide, after ongoing bullying.

They set themselves a challenge to ride the whopping distance between their pony club in Lara, Victoria, to Dolly’s hometown in the Northern Territory during April and May.

The distance of approximately 3347km was quite the task, but determination and teamwork made the venture a huge success.

Each time the members rode their horses they would record the distance ridden. A collective tally of all the participants was kept to review progress along the way.

The club held a grand finale fundraiser at the May rally, which included a bake sale and a lot of fun activities.

The riders are absolutely thrilled with the results having raised a grand total of $2500 for the charity.

“We are very proud of our club and our members for this huge achievement,” club district commissioner Kelly Kibbis said. “Always choose kindness.”


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FRIENDS of Vicki Roycroft say that Vicki had to return to hospital due to a fluid build-up around her heart and organs.

Fortunately, the treatment they have put her on is working and she is being threatened by a caring Neil and Joanne to really take it easy.

It will take quite a long time to recover and she finally realises this.


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THE horse world was shocked and furious at the theft of Beck Groen’s very distinctive L and B Horse float and much of her show gear that was in it. Everyone is on the lookout for the Maroon float and people are asked to call Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000 if it is seen or they have any information that might help recover it and find the thieves.


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IF you didn’t get to go to the Adelaide Equestrian Festival five-star horse trials you can relive all the action when it is broadcast on Sunday, May 28 from 3pm on 7TWO. It should also be able to be watched on demand through the same channel following the original broadcast. Check your local guide for details.


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The FEI is debating an increase to the minimum age for horses in international endurance, with the age Arabian horses reach maturity and their long-term wellbeing in mind.

It is looking at upping the minimum age of horses in one-star rides from six to seven years old. This would not affect the novice qualification level, which is open to horses aged five and above.


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CONFUSION has arisen about the FEI’s tack approval processes, as the organisation states there is “no certification system” in place – but that new items can be submitted via an app for “review” by an expert equipment group.

It has risen because ongoing discussions have been taking place around tack approval after it was announced that the Quantum cavesson bridle, now known as the welfare bridle, is no longer permitted in dressage under FEI rules from this year

The bridle which looks like a headcollar with a noseband and loose browband was designed by Indy Dinky children’s saddle creators Jill and Doug Hick and bitting expert Gill Batt, supposedly to avoid restriction of nerves and myofascia in the horse’s face, for comfort.

Until now, the bridle has been allowed in competition.


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ABOVE: The statue of Sandy unveiled last week at Tallangatta.

SANDY is probably the most famous of all Australia’s WWI horses and was the only Australian horse out of more than 130,000 who left Australia to make it home at the end of the war.

The horse was bred at Tallangatta in North East Victoria and local plumber and horseman Ross Smith has led a committee that raised more than $160,000 to fund a bronze statue of him.

According to Ross, he had been told by Jean Merbach that her uncle Frank “Bonner” O’Donnell and his brother Jack donated Sandy to the Army in 1914 as the mount of Major General Sir William Bridges.

After returning from the war, Sandy lived in an army paddock in Maribyrnong in Melbourne’s inner west until he was put down in 1923 aged 18 due to blindness and debility. While his head and neck were mounted and became part of the Australian War Memorial’s collection, the rest of Sandy is thought to have been buried at the Maribyrnong site.

The life-size statue of the horse was dedicated in Tallangatta’s Triangle Park last week, watched by a large crowd of people and 200 horses and riders.


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THE Victorian Dressage Festival, set to run December 8-10 at the Werribee Park National Equestrian Centre, will be a very special event on the Dressage Victoria calendar. Not only will the event crown state champions at each level, but it will also host two master classes with five-time Olympian Steffen Peters.

Born in Germany, Peters moved to the US 1984 and found southern California a good fit. He made the decision to stay, becoming a US citizen in 1992. He has been one of the country’s top international dressage competitors ever since, having represented the US at five Olympic Games, six FEI World Equestrian Games and two Pan American Games.

Event director Lizzy Schirmer said was a privilege to announce that they would be hosting Peters at festival.

“As a not-for-profit event, tickets will be reasonable with a range of options to suit everyone,” she said. “We are proud to put on this event and be able to give back to our riders, traders, sponsors and supporters by creating an event that benefits everyone and provides unbeatable education and competition opportunities in a brilliant atmosphere.”

Further information will be available soon.


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THEY keep saying that horse sports should be dropped from the Olympic Games but getting tickets to any session of the dressage, showjumping or eventing is proving impossible already. However, the scammers are already out selling non-existent tickets, so be warned about people supposedly having tickets to sell. Check thoroughly as some of the offers look totally genuine.



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