Overnight the Australian Dressage Team secured a start at the London 2012 Olympic Games. The qualification was a two-part process, the first leg was held in Sydney (AUS) on 28 October and the final leg in Ermelo (NED) last night, 2 November. Three teams, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa competed for the two slots available to nations from the FEI Olympic Groups F (Africa and Middle East) and G (South East Asia and Oceania). The Australian Team, consisting of Rachael Sanna on Jaybee Alabaster; Chantal Wigan and Ferero, Lyndal Oatley on Potifar and Mary Hanna aboard Sancette scored an average result of 69.255% (team total 207.765%) which put them in first place.
The New Zealand team, as well as Australia’s Sanna and Wigan, competed in the Sydney leg whilst the South African team and the two remaining Australians, Oatley and Hanna, competed in the Ermelo event last night.
Whilst it was a tense wait for the Australian’s back home, both Hanna and Oatley excelled each scoring over 69.00% to put Australia in the top spot. Recently crowned National Grand Prix Champion Rachael Sanna, was thrilled with her team-mates performances. “It is absolutely awesome that we have qualified and that Australia now has a place in the Olympic Games. Lyndal and Mary did an amazing job to help secure our place at London. It is peace of mind that we have a team place and now all the Aussie combinations will be fighting out to earn their selection on that team.” she said.
Brett Mace, Equestrian Australia’s High Performance Manager said the performances from the athletes in the last week demonstrates the Dressage Olympic campaign is on track. “It is the result that we had been hoping for. The team performed extremely well and it is a confidence boost ahead of the tough selection process our athletes will now face leading into the Games next year.”
Team New Zealand, which was composed of Louisa Hill on Bates Antonello; Vanessa Way on KH Arvan; Nicky Pope on Fabarchie; and Shiwon Green riding Gosh finished second on an average team score of 64.922% (team total 194.767%). Team South Africa, consisting of Zilla Pearse on Sarkozy; Nicole Smith on Victoria; Denise Hallion on Bomond and Adriaan van Wijk riding Othello 216, were a close third with an average score of 63.00% (team total 188.999%).
This event completes the direct team qualification process for Dressage at the 2012 Olympic Games and brings the number of teams to 11, as follows: Australia, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Germany, Great Britain, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, Sweden and the USA. The total number of teams competing in Dressage at the 2012 Olympic Games may exceed 11 since additional composite teams made up of three individuals from the same nation can qualify through the FEI Olympic Athletes Rankings.
About the Australia Team
*Note: The riders who competed in the qualifier are not necessarily the riders who may represent the Australia at the London Olympic Games. A selection process will now take place.
- Rachael Sanna and Jaybee Alabaster, owned by Mrs. Bev Edwards & Mr. John Edwards - Sydney
- Chantal Wigan and Ferero, owned by Ms. Chantal Wigan & Mr. G. Fairman - Sydney
- Mary Hanna and Sancette, owned by Mrs. Mary Hanna & Mr. Rob Hanna – Ermelo
- Lyndal Oatley and Potifar, owned by Mr. Andrew Oatley & Mrs. Carol Oatley – Ermelo
Rachael Sanna - Age: 38 Hometown: Glossodia, NSW
Sanna has been competing in dressage professionally since the age of 19. She is one of Australia’s most accomplished and experienced competitors, having competed in 1999 World Cup Final, Sydney 2000 Olympics, 2002 World Championships, 2006 World Championships, 2010 World Championships. Sanna is married Olympic Showjumper, George Sanna in 2001 and together they have two children. They run Sanna Equestrian Bloodstock, riding, training, competing, mentoring and selling showjumpers and dressage horses.
Jaybee Alabaster - 1999 Chestnut gelding Owners: Bev and John Edwards of Jaybee Farm Breed: Hanoverian Sire: Alabaster Dam: Gloria (imp) Performances: 2011 World Equestrian Games GPS 27th, 2011 Sydney CDI3* Grand Prix Freestyle 1st, 2011 Sydney CDI3* Grand Prix Special 1st, 2010 Sydney CDI3* Grand Prix 2nd
Chantal Wigan – Age: 37 Hometown: Cleveland, Queensland
Wigan was born outside Brisbane where her family owned and operated a state of the art equestrian centre. She holds several degrees from the British Horse Society. Wigan is no stranger to the international circuit as she lived and trained in Europe throughout her career. Wigan’s returned from her most recent training and competition tour of Europe in 2010 after winning the Vierzon CDI3* in France. Also in 2010 she and Ferero won the World Cup Pacific League Final. This year they won three consecutive Pacific League World Cup qualifier events.
Ferrero - 1998 Dark bay gelding Owners: Mr. G. Fairman & C Wigan Breed: KWPN Sire: Ferro Dam: Lou Lou Performances: 2010 CDI3* Grand Prix Freestyle Vierzon FRA 1st, 2010 FEI World Cup Pacific League Final 1st, 2010 CDI-W Grand Prix Equitana 1st, 2011 CDI3* Grand Prix Boneo Park AUS 1st, 2011 CDI3* Grand Prix Freestyle Boneo Park 1st, 2011 CDI-W Grand Prix Melbourne1st, 2011 CDI-W GP Freestyle Melbourne 1st
Mary Hanna – Age: 55 Hometown: Bellarine, Victoria
A three-time Olympian, three-time World Equestrian Games representative and three-time competitor at the FEI World Cup Finals Hanna is no stranger to the international stage. Hanna was born into a very horsey family in the Western District of Victoria and rode from an early age. She now lives with husband and business partner Rob at their beautiful equestrian property Statene Park on the Bellarine Peninsula in Drysdale. Hanna works as a full time equestrian coach and dressage trainer. She holds a bachelor of teaching and gives much of her time in the sport as an NCAS Level III dressage instructor and is currently the coach for the Victorian Dressage Team. Hanna was originally a jumping and eventing rider, converting to dressage in her 20’s. Hanna has been the Australian National Grand Prix Champion on six occasions. She is currently based in Europe training towards London 2012.
Sancette – 2001 Bay gelding Owners: Mary and Rob Hanna Breed: Hanoverian Sire: Sandro Hit Dam: Cascade Performances: 2011 CDI3* Grand Prix Biarritz (FRA) 4th and Grand Prix Special 2nd, 2011 CDI3* Saumur (FRA) Grand Prix Freestyle 7th, 2011 CDI3* Leudelange (LUX) Grand Prix 9th, 2011 CDI5* Hickstead (UK) Grand Prix Special 5th, 2011 CDI3* Compiègne 5th, 2011 CDI3* Sydney 3rd, 2010 CDI-W Freestyle Werribee 2nd.
Lyndal Oatley – Age: 31 Hometown: Nottuln, Germany. Formerly from Galston, Sydney
Oatley is following in her family’s tradition of representing Australia in dressage as her cousin Kristy Oatley has so successfully done in years past. Whilst watching the 2000 Olympics she decided that dressage would be her new focus. Until this, Oatley competed show horses, twice becoming Australian Champion and was nominated for the Young Australian of the Year in sports for her achievements in the sport. Potifar is Oatley’s first Grand Prix horse, and together have grown as a pair reaching the Australian team for the 2010 World Equestrian Games in Kentucky, USA. Oatley has a degree in Business, majoring in Marketing with a minor in Business Management. She is based in Germany with and husband and trainer Patrik Kittel.
Potifar - 1997 16.3hh Bay gelding Owner: Mr. Andrew Oatley & Mrs. Carol Oatley Breed: KWPN Sire: Jazz Performances: 2011 CDIO5* Aachen Grand Prix 31st, 2011 CDI3* München-Riem Grand Prix 13th, 2011 CDI4* Lingen Grand Prix 15th, 2010 World Equestrian Games Grand Prix 46th, 2010 Aachen team 7th.