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  • Writer's pictureFran Cleland

Good scores, comradery among highlights of dressage champs

ABOVE: Sally Francis, Zoe Vorenas, Stella Barton, Dianne Barnes and Maddison Cooke. Picture: ONE-EYED FROG

THE Australian Dressage Championships at Boneo Park had so many highlights it’s hard to know where to start.

With the Olympic Games looming it was great to see scores over the 70 per cent mark, which has been a sticking point for so long.

Kiwi rider Melissa Galloway and Windermere J-Obei W won the CDI-W Grand Prix Freestyle scoring a New Zealand record of 79.865 per cent. They also won the Grand Prix CDI-W with 73.152 per cent in a strong field of 14 riders.

Brett Parbery riding Iresias was the Intermediate freestyle winner.

ABOVE: Brett Parbery and Iresias. Picture: ONE-EYED FROG

Mary Hanna and Ivanhoe were second in both classes with 76.61 per cent and 72.413 per cent. Mary has quickly formed a real partnership with the handsome black gelding.

“I’m so thrilled with Ivan’s very first freestyle at the Australian Championships,” she said.

“I am really excited about his future. At only 10 years old he has achieved so much in these last few months, even though I haven’t been in top form myself.”

It was also a high point to see the super talent of the young riders Jessica Dertell and Kate Kyros on display and so exciting for the future.

Both youngsters have good backing and support and high quality horses and Brisbane 2032 will no doubt see both of them representing their country.

The child riders are equally talented and dedicated for such young people.

Annabel Shoobridge, Rosemary Sutherland and Keely Keet are already comfortable and scoring well at FEI level.

The paras are always a favourite to watch. They are now getting the attention and support they deserve, and their scores are pretty damn good.

The lovely thing about the paras is that they are so supportive of each other.

ABOVE: Dainne Barnes and Sorena. Picture: ONE-EYED FROG

Dianne Barnes continues to grow her partnership with the lovely mare Sorena, winning the Grade IV Grand Prix and placing in her other classes, finishing third in the championship with Kirsty Van Loon. Claire Graham and Dianne are just a point apart.

Unfortunately, Dianne managed to injure herself with Sorena jumping on her foot. The mare is fine, but Dianne is out of action for some weeks with a broken navicular bone.

Chelsea De Jonge was the Grade V champion, Amylie Hines Grade III, and Maddison Cooke Grade II champion.

ABOVE: Toni Webb and Salient Park Prince. Picture: ONE-EYED FROG

It’s hard to believe how far the ponies have progressed in the last few years.

Toni Webb’s Salient Park Prince is a cob and looks like a perfect miniature Warmblood. He has all the moves, winning the Pony Small Tour ahead of two Welsh B ponies bred by Chris Milvain, who was one of the first to focus on breeding good dressage ponies.

Kristy Sparkes’ Mithril Velocity and Nicole Donald’s Mithril Samwise were standouts in a strong field.


(Click on any image to expand)

All images ONE-EYED FROG

1. Chelsea De Jonge and Don Dancier

2. Bridget Murphy and Stella Barton

3. Stella Barton and Lord Larmarque

4. David Boyle

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