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  • Writer's pictureFran Cleland

Ponies proving perfect mounts for honing dressage skills

ABOVE: Morgan Cockerell and Gold Rush on their way to a win in the Novice 2A secondary intermediate section. Picture: ONE-EYED FROG PHOTOGRAPHY

ANYONE doubting the popularity of dressage as a sport for young riders would change their minds at the Victorian Youth Dressage championships at Boneo Park.

The centre has six dressage arenas and each was filled to capacity over four days.

There were classes for primary school children starting out, through to the advanced young people tackling FEI classes and scoring darn well in them.

Pony dressage has become respected and many are now specially bred for keen children that are already focussing on succeeding in their chosen sport. A highly respected international level judge, who would prefer to remain anonymous, says it is because the youngsters don’t need an elegant, pretty and expensive pony and an expensive outfit to taste a little success.

“The pony can be plain looking with a few lumps and bumps, but if it’s obedient and the child rides correctly they can develop. “The interschools competitions have contributed a lot to this and the events are inclusive, where showing often isn’t, and a lot of keen eventing young riders are realising that they need to improve their dressage to raise their overall score.

“It’s all a matter of good training, and the kids are realising this. I think the future is pretty bright.”

When reading the results from Boneo for the FEI Children’s individual test, where riders are 14 or younger, and the first four placegetters all score more than 70 per cent, it would seem she is pretty right.

ABOVE: Maddy Growcott and Viggo KVE. Picture: DEREK O’LEARY

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