Para-Equestrian powers towards a bright future
The inaugural Para-Equestrian National Championships concluded on Saturday after three days of strong competition at the Sydney International Equestrian Centre, Horsley Park.
It was the first Para-Equestrian event conducted under the management of Equestrian Australia who with the support of the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) have recently incorporated Para-Equestrian into their High Performance Program. An official launch of the program took place on Thursday evening.
"The focus of the program is to achieve medal winning performances at the World Equestrian Championships and the Paralympic Games," commented Brett Mace, Equestrian Australia High Performance Manager. "We look forward to developing a successful international campaign."
Event Director Tracey Lesslie added: "The event went very well. Everyone coped with some difficult weather conditions including the dust storm on Wednesday and very strong winds over the weekend."
"It was a valuable experience for both the riders and the organising committee in the lead-up to the first World Equestrian Games qualifying event, which will be held in Victoria in December," noted Tracey.
On Sunday the athletes attended a Development Day that included presentations from Brett Mace regarding Equestrian Australia's High Performance Program and Chris Nunn from the Australian Paralympic Committee who gave an overview of APC's Paralympic athlete program.
Victorian rider Kate Doughty had a good competition winning the Grade IV Freestyle and was also the overall Grade IV Champion "The event was great, it was very professional and has given everyone a good preparation for December."
"It is great that Para-Equestrian is now being run by EA and I found the development day very informative and inspiring."
West Australian Sharon Jarvis was the Grade III Overall Champion, Grade II belonged to Fleur Lister (WA), Grade 1B was narrowly won by Nicole Kullen (NSW) and Jan Pike took home the honours in Grade 1A.
NSW (Jan Pike, Rob Oakley and Nicole Kullen) won the Team Championship.
For full results please see www.equestrian.org.au