Dressage and Jumping with the Stars celebrated its 14th birthday from the 24th - 26th March 2011. The show welcomed the German representatives of the main name sponsor PSI, Ulli and Bianca Kasselman and the popular annual visitor Ulf Möller to the spectacular 3 days which took place at the Werribee Park Equestrian centre. It was a celebration of Australian bred and based horses and the advancements in our trainers and riders. The event conducts classes for 4,5 & 6 year old dressage ponies and horses and 4,5,6 & 7 year of jumping horses, along with program of FEI events for the older horses who have reached their potential and are working at Grand Prix level in dressage and jumping.
With the introduction of another CDI in Victoria which took place last weekend at the new Boneo Park Equestrian Centre, a number of interstate riders stayed on to be part of the competition at Werribee Park. It all can be seen as a part of their early qualification quest for the Olympic Games in London in July next year.
In this weekends Freestyle, it was again Queenslands Chantal Wigan who took top honours on her Dutch bred horse Ferero (by Olympic Ferro). She was riding to a powerful beat which really highlighted the strong piaffe/passage elements of the test for a score of 71.226%. As said before Chantal has been disappointed that her near perfect record since returning home in 2010 in order to be based in Australia for her lead up to London, the Australian selectors have not seen fit to include Chantal on the Elite Rider Squad. This would acknowledge her achievements and officially support her endeavours to qualify for the most important event for the sport - the Olympic Games.
At Dressage and Jumping with the Stars, the rest of the Grand Prix field lacked consistency. Results that were somewhat up and down were recorded. Gitte Donvig on Port Said 10 (by Phoenix) and the pair were the runners-up in the Grand Prix test on Friday. Gitte has been in good form, but failed to improve on her Grand Prix results when she took her place in the Grand Prix Freestyle which was the concluding event on this exciting and varied 3 day program. Gitte rode to her catchy Harry Potter themes and she said that she finds the music inspiring. They are certainly a combination to watch!
Mary Hanna was very solid on her second string horse Umbro (by Jazz) and bettered their fourth in the Grand Prix by picking up a place with a pleasing score of 68.325%. Mary is always a contender in the Freestyle events and she is looking forward to having her most promising prospect Sancette back in form for the up and coming Australian qualifying events. Sancette bruised a tendon and Mary was not prepared to take the risks that go with allowing just the mimimum recovery period. However Sancette should be out competing again soon.
The husband and wife team Heath and Rozzie Ryan had their ups and downs this weekend but they are to be respected with great experience behind them and they have London firmly in their sights. There are a number of up and coming combinations who are also knocking on the selectors door. Maree Tomkinson on the beautiful Rotspon stallion Rodrigo lll has been working to inch her way up the ranks and Australia has quite a few riders who are honing their skills and hope to peak before the final selections are made.
The next spectacular event to watch will be the CDI3* Sydney of course. Find more results of Dressage and Jumping with the Stars in Werribee here