Australia's first international Para-Equestrian event
The first-ever international Para-Equestrian event in Australia will held at the Werribee Park National Equestrian Centre as part of this year's Saddleworld Dressage Festival
11-13 December 2009.
The Para-Equestrian event has attracted riders from across Australia as well as overseas, with teams entered from New Zealand, Canada and Japan.
This event is the only one of its kind being held in the Southern Hemisphere between now and the World Equestrian Games (WEG) in September 2010 and offers the Para-Equestrian riders the opportunity to gain their qualifying scores for possible team selection for WEG. The riders will require good scores from the international ‘Ground Jury' of five judges, two from Australia and the others flying in from the Netherlands, Belgium and France. Three of the judges, Hanneke Gerritson (NED), Jan Geary (AUS) and Anne Prain (FRA), will also be judging at next year's World Equestrian Games.
There are five grades of competition offered with each grade reflecting the rider's physical ability and hence having different requirements. For the visiting overseas riders - with the exception of two of the six riders from New Zealand, who are bringing their own horses over - the challenge will be even greater as they will be competing on horses borrowed for the occasion.
The Teams Competition will be held on Friday, 11 December. The Individual competition is held over the weekend with each rider competing in a Championship test and a Freestyle.
The standard of competition will be outstanding. Four riders from the 2008 Paralympic Team will be competing, as well as all five newly crowned 2009 National Champions. Jan Pike could be considered the veteran of the riders, having competed at two Paralympics (Athens and Beijing), winning a silver and bronze medal at the Athens Games as well as two silver medals at the 2003 World Para-Equestrian Championships.
Para-Equestrian became a discipline of Equestrian Australia in January 2009 and with the support of the Australian Paralympic Committee, Equestrian Australia have been working hard to provide Australian riders with high-level competition experience in the lead up to the World Equestrian Games in 2010.
The Para-Equestrian event has been made possible with support from the Australian Sports Commission, the Australian Paralympic Committee and the Equestrian Australia High Performance Program.
Ticketing and more event information from www.vic.equestrian.org.au