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  • Writer's pictureFran Cleland

Horse bits: Para girls set off, new head of AERA and Donald ride to time ...

ABOVE: Di Barnes heads off with other team members this weekend. Picture: ONE-EYED FROG PHOTOGRAPHY

AUSTRALIA’S para dressage girls begin their journey to the FEI World Championships this weekend. Team members Di Barnes reports that the grooms fly out from Melbourne on Saturday night. The horses are to be at the airport by 8.30pm then they will be loaded at 1.30am with the vet flying with them. Lisa Martin and Di fly out Sunday. Then they all meet up in Luxembourg where animals and humans have a rest overnight. Then there’s an 11-hour truck trip to 45 minutes outside of Herning in Denmark for four days before they are allowed into the venue on 9th. They will go straight into the vet inspection then trot up. There will be one arena familiarization that day, then grade four and five compete from 8.30am on the 10th.

“I will give my all and ride her like I stole her,” Di said. “All of us girls get on extremely well and I'm hoping we will be a strong team together.”

She said EA had been amazing putting it all together at such short notice and were in continual contact with riders each day.


TASMANIAN Mark Dunn is the new president of the Australian Endurance Riders Association following the resignation of Linda Tanian last week.

Mark formally held the role of vice president. He paid tribute to Linda after taking over the presidency on Monday.

“Linda’s contribution to the work of AERA has positioned it well to oversee the further development and growth of the discipline of equine endurance riding in this country. AERA is grateful for her efforts and wishes her well for the future.”

Linda will stay on as a member of the AERA database sub-committee.


IN OTHER endurance news, volunteers to help at the Victorian Endurance State Championship at Bunyip on September 9 to 11 are being sought. The event will be based at the Tonimbuk Equestrain Centre and the competitors will be riding through the Bunyip State Park, which is only 60 minutes from the Melbourne CBD.

Volunteers are needed to help at checkpoints, as float drivers, water carters, parking/traffic directors, vet-ring pencillers and at timing gates. First aid officers are also needed. If you are available to help, please contact either the Victorian Endurance State Championships Facebook page phone or Simon on 0407 847 601.


IF YOU want to work at the Royal Melbourne Show here’s your chance. They have put out an invite saying that the Melbourne Royal Show volunteers are one of the show's most important assets and that volunteering provides an opportunity to “engage, excite and educate”.

The 2022 Melbourne Royal Show will be held from Thursday, September 22, to Sunday, October 2, at Melbourne showgrounds. If you are interested in volunteering for the show as an individual, community group or corporate group, click here to apply.


TWO Australians are competing in the longest horse race in the world, the Mongol Derby. It covers 1000km across the epic wilderness of the Mongolian steppe.

Tyler Donaldson-Aitken, son of famous race jockey Stan Aitken, and endurance rider Sarah Carroll are part of the 40-rider field tackling the ride.

You can catch up with them via the ride’s Facebook page.


THE Mountain and Moorland group’s online foal show was a great success, but organiser Karen Parrish has now gone one step further.

After pleas from other countries to join in there will now be an international youngstock show with one of this year’s Royal Windsor Horse Show judges Gill Wright from the UK looking over the babies.

It will be held in October, so there’s plenty of time to prepare.


THE Midland Zone pony club riders who competed in the 2022 Ride to Time qualifiers held at the Donald Racecourse did well.

Meaghan Stebbins from Mandurang South Pony Club won the open section and was also the best performed off-the-track mount in that section. Bessie Penhall, of Maryborough Pony Club and riding Icarus Endeavour in the maiden section qualified for the finals at Moonee Valley on September 3. Jas Rollinson from Donald Pony Club and First D’Or won the best performed off-the-track mount in the maiden section.


WHILE free range horses known as brumbies are under threat in Australia, on the outskirts of Borris Heath, between the Skjern and Omme Rivers in Denmark, Shetland and Exmoor ponies are hired alongside cattle to graze the nearby forest.

Their role is to stop the forest from overrunning the heath, a 4743ha, unique ecosystem used by the Danish military as a shooting range.

A local university is tracking the animals to confirm the results of the intervention. It is work that challenges both conservationists and farmers to shift their thinking about how agriculture and nature intersect.


YOUNG riders have an opportunity to gain support with Sport Australia’s Local Sporting Champions grant applications now open.

The grant program provides financial assistance for coaches, officials and competitors aged 12-18 participating in state, national or international championships.

If successful, applicants will receive $500-$750 towards the cost of attending their championships.

The base grant is $500, with additional funding for special circumstances:

Applicants travelling 800km - 1999km to their nominated championships: $100.

Applicants travelling internationally or greater than 2000km to their nominated championships: $200.

Applicants residing in a rural electorate: $50.


THIS is THE most important timetable you will need for the next week. We waited so long, we’ve selected our teams, and finally, the FEI World Championships will begin on August 5.

The timetable is listed below so keep it handy. You don’t want to miss a thing!

Discover rider profiles, event timetables, how to watch online and more at the dedicated Equestrian Australia page.


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