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  • Writer's pictureFran Cleland

Perfect pony bows out with honour at dressage series finale

Updated: Nov 8, 2023

ABOVE: And that’s a wrap. Black Pepper and Billie James after their final dressage test. Picture: MANE MEMORIES

THE Barwon Equestrian Dressage series in southern Victoria has concluded for the year.

Run over five events it’s provided great competition for riders of all ages and levels, with entries filling so quickly in some sections that there are wait lists.

There are always stories within stories, and at the final competition at Ballarat, a great pony retired.

Black Pepper, ridden by Billie James, finished fifth in the pony club grade four series and moved gently into honourable retirement.

One of those ponies whose name may never go up in lights, but who has honestly and calmly carried numerous children through the grades, he completed his final competition at age 23.

“He came from Warrnambool, where he evented though his heyday and belonged to our neighbour’s daughter who rode him in showjumping before Billie inherited him,” Billie’s mother, Beck, said.

“He’s taken her from grade six to grade three. He wont completely retire, he loves to be busy and in the know of what’s going on so he will trail ride and the occasional beach ride in his twilight years.”

ABOVE: Billie James and Black Pepper do their last test together. Picture: MANE MEMORIES

The pony club series winners were Keely Keet and GB Creme Deluxe from Barwon Valley in the advanced, Tiffany Peters and Remlif Park Wizard from Leighdale in grade one, Elise Young and Moon Safari from Barwon Valley in grade two, Emily Rodgers and Silkwood Statesman from Barwon Heads in grade three, Lucinda Cooper and KRP Bonanza from Barwon Valley in grade four, Mary Van den berg and Torbee Park Carousel from Drysdale Leopold in grade five and Sophia Porter and Jelly Bean from Little River in grade six.

In the open section, Ella Curry-Vonarx riding Sharonvale Lucky Sox (first) and Jessica Payne on Nawarrah Park Love Actually (second) were just three points apart after the five events at advanced level, and in grade one, Kerri-Anne Evans Pure Obsession and Lauren Irving’s Holmlea Moskato were also close in the final judging.

Bree Cocks’ Graniteview Under The Radar won the open grade two section and Kaylene McCarthy’s Royal King Of Sefton was the winner in grade three.

The popularity if dressage as a sport shows very much in the lower grades, with huge numbers in grades three, four and five.

In grade four, Chloe McGillivray’s consistent Grand Ali won grade four, and in grade five, Bronwyn Harrington’s Sox was another whose consistency through the series earned the win.

The winning pony club was Barwon Valley, from Drysdale Leopold and Mt Duneed.


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(Click any image to expand)

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