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  • Writer's pictureFran Cleland

Festival of dressage rounds off the year in Victoria

ABOVE: Janet Seccull and Bloomfield Vegus in the Prix St George. Picture: ONE-EYED FROG PHOTOGRAPHY

JESSICA Dertell and the chestnut stallion Cennan continued the list of Grand Prix dressage wins at Werribee Park last weekend at the Victorian Dressage Festival.

The 18-year-old scored 69 per cent and also placed third on the recently purchased ex-Mary Hanna mount Syriana, with Pauline Carnovale’s Captain Cooks splitting the pair.

The grounds were full over the three-day competition with all levels of rider, from ponies and Paras to all levels of young horses to Grand Prix.

The event is really the Christmas party for the dressage fans, with good competition to watch and plenty of trade stands to buy presents for animals and humans.

Dianne Barnes’ win on Sorena in the Para Individual IV test was popular, as she has only taken over the ride since returning from her world championship campaign. The 72.9 per cent score was a sign of good things to come.

ABOVE: Justine Greer and Daily Dancer. Picture: DEREK O’LEARY

Ponies continue to improve in numbers and standard, with Betty Kopetzky’s charming San Sebastian, a Welsh B Warmblood cross, scoring well to win the elementary championship from a strong field. The novice champion and reserve ponies, Jayden Whitehead’s Stop and Stare and Nicole McOwn’s Deluxe BHI, scored over 70 per cent in their tests.

Numbers were light on in the young horse classes, which is a pity, but there is a lot to like about the six-year-old winner BZ Qantas, shown by young rider Maddison Growcott, with an overall score of 78.4 per cent.

The popularity of dressage as a sport shows in the capacity sizes in the lower levels, with 35 in the preliminary tests and 18 in the pony. There were 28 riders in the Prix St George, with a high number of young riders featuring in placings. Despite this, we are still finding it hard to break the 70 per cent barrier at the higher levels, which is interesting, especially with the number of good horses being bred here and the number of imported horses being bought for competition.

Our young riders such as Simone Pearce and Jayden Brown are doing us proud overseas, and the champion and reserve young riders at this event – Indi Officer and Natasha Moody – are very talented, so there’s great hope for the future.

ABOVE: Natasha Moody and Penmain Rumor. Picture: DEREK O’LEARY
ABOVE: Grade two para rider Maddison Cooke. Picture: ONE-EYED FROG PHOTOGRAPHY
ABOVE: Jenny Bray Camden, fifth in the Advanced 5C. Picture: ANGIE RICKARD
ABOVE: Heather Currie and Istan de Azuel, fifth in the GP Freestyle: Picture: ANGIE RICKARD
ABOVE: Ruth Schneeberger and Roxleigh Fidelio, sixth in the Prix St-Georges. Picture: ANGIE RICKARD

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