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Australian Grand Prix Champions!

October 24, 2017

You might think that three big shows in two months is too much, but I think it’s just right!

In the last eight weeks, we’ve had the NSW State Champs, then the Willinga Park CDI, followed by the Australian Championships at Boneo Park.

The intensity you can develop in your training with these shows in close succession is fantastic! I think we should seriously look at this in terms of developing runs of shows, it could be a great thing to build the sport.

It makes competitors hungry and gives us something to springboard off, it tunes the horses and riders to do great tests and it means the horses are fit.

Rabbit does it again! Australian Grand Prix Champion. Photo: Stephen Mowbray/Boneo Park

We’re just home from the Martin Collins Australian Championships at Boneo Park. Each of my horses had a highlight moment, but I suppose if I had to pick one overall highlight it would be riding Rabbit to win my fourth Australian Grand Prix Championship.

Rabbit (DP Weltmeiser) – owned by Susie Duddy – is 15 years old but is getting better and better, in fact I don’t think I’ve found the best in him yet! He’s fit, healthy and strong and I’m working on the code to get the most out of him.

Wonderful Rabbit, he gets better and better! Photo: Stephen Mowbray/Boneo Park

I also loved riding Larenso (owned by the Farrell family of Mulawa Performance) in only his second Grand Prix (2nd on 63.880%), and his very first freestyle (2nd on 67.575%)!

Andy (MI Sirtainly Sir) – also owned by the Farrells of Mulawa – was awesome taking out the Prix St George Stars of the Future competition with 71.921%.

MI Sirtainly Sir – officially a star of the future! Photo: Stephen Mowbray/Boneo Park

Led (Zeppelin), owned by us and Helen Batson, did his very first Grand Prix Special! 66.647% for 4th place.

Beans (Sky Diamond) – owned by Michele and Cass Sangrioli – took out Reserve in the Medium Championship with over 70% in both tests.

As always, I was excited to watch the other competitors at the Nationals, and Alexis Hellyer was a real highlight, riding Bluefields Floreno – what a rising-star combination! I was also really impressed with Elliot Patterson who took out the Medium Championship on Bluefields Berlin, Michelle Baker on Bradgate Park Puccini and David McKinnon on Woodside Lady Loxley, and of course it was awesome to hang out with, and watch Spencer Wilton from the UK.

All in all it was a great competition, so beautifully run by Boneo Park and the McNaught family. They do an amazing job putting on a very competitor-friendly show. It was positive and energetic, and flowed beautifully from the CDI at Willinga Park.

Thank you, Prydes EasifeedSchockemöhle Sports, Kieffer and Rodd & Gunn for helping me and my horses look and perform at our best!

SO what’s next?

I’m looking forward to welcoming a group of dedicated riders for an intensive day of learning in the indoor arena, for my one-day retreat (there are a couple of places left).

Competition-wise, we’ll compete at Clarendon in early November, and then we’re off to New Zealand at the end of November for Equitana in Auckland. I’ll be aiming to win the Grand Prix here but I have tough competition to say the least! John Thompson is coming off a big victory at Equidays and is riding brilliantly, so he’s going to be very hard to beat. Julie Brougham, Abbie Deken and Wendi Williamson are also riding very well – that competition is going to be just as tough as the Australian Championships.

Then it’s back to Victoria for the Dressage Festival. Wow, how many weeks left in the year??