Thirty Years of Wandin Wonders

This weekend's National Eventing Championships will mark 30 years of eventing at Wandin Park, just northeast of Melbourne. Sixty international events have been held at Wandin in that time. A proactive organising committee, headed by property owner John Anker, has invited all past committee members, sponsors and volunteers to join in celebrating 30 years and 60 events.

The action will start on Saturday with dressage and some showjumping, with the cross country and remaining showjumping to be held on Sunday. Mr. Anker's daughter, Emily Anker, has just returned to Australia from competing in the UK at the Badminton and Burghley horse trials.

She will ride her two top horses, Balmoral Cavalier and Keniski, in the international three-star section, plus Play Fair in the pre-novice section and Positive Measure in the introductory section. Anker would love to take out the national title at the 30th anniversary celebrations.

She was very much born in the saddle - her parents started running the famous Wandin Horse Trials when she was just two years old. She said it was this that led to her passion for the sport of eventing. Along the way she has met gold medallists, world champions and even royalty. Anker said that in the beginning she was "starstruck", and this had developed into an ambition to compete overseas.

She has competed in international four-star events at Kentucky in the US, Luhmuhlen in Germany, and Badminton and Burghley in England. But she said it was the Wandin Horse Trials that turned a dream into a reality.

This year's Wandin International Event will also include riders from Japan, the US, Finland and Canada.

Photo: Aiming high, Emily Anker and her horse, Balmoral Cavalier, will compete at Wandin Park.