| Introducing Rachel, by
Rachel Aitkenhead is 17 years
old and lives at Toolern Vale (near Bacchus Marsh) in Victoria. Her whole family are
extremely 'horsey' and through this interest, are very close friends of Bill and myself.
When time permits I give Rachel some help with her dressage riding. She gets
fabulous help with the showjumping from her mum Susan, who was a well respected
'international' Junior Showjumpng champion - with this support, it is no wonder that
the the jumping phases are Rachel's strongest in eventing.
Rachel is a member of the Bacchus March Pony Club and was
delighted to have been selected to represent her club at this prestigious event. She
has worked very hard to get her horse BJ ready, and paid particular attention to ways of
improving their dressage performance.
After the first day's competition - the dressage - Rachel was
a little disappointed that BJ's freshness spoilt his attention, and his work
was not up to the best that he can do. Rachel came 7th overall and commended her
honest, grey part Arabian for his gallant performance.
Rachel is in her first year of a Media Studies course at
Latrobe University in Bundoora - so this is a little practise for her.
The 4th and 5th of May saw the
top eventing riders and horses from pony clubs all around Victoria come together to
compete in the State Horse Trials. An annual event since 1955, the 2002 State Horse Trials
was hosted by the Southern Metropolitan Zone at the Tooradin Estate in Tooradin. Blessed
by beautiful weather on both days of the weekend, it was an enjoyable event for riders,
horses, friends and families alike.
Saturday, the day of the dressage
(and showjumping for the grade two riders) ranked the riders in the positions they needed
to work from in order to be successful. Those who had done well were weighted with the
pressure of maintaining that position throughout the remainder of the competition whilst
those who hadnt done so well knew that they must complete the next two phases with
as few mistakes as possible in order to climb their way up the ranks. It would be safe to
say that a few riders did not sleep too well on Saturday night!!
Sunday, the day of the cross country
(and showjumping for the grade one riders) saw many competitors wake up with a few
butterflies in their stomachs with the prospect of riding the testing cross country
course, designed and built by John Barlee. Also to contend with was the prospect of
clearing the showjumping course, designed beautifully by Jenny Muir. The nervous
excitement seemed to be felt by all riders who could only relax after the day was over.
However, all riders were lucky to be
riding such well built and inviting courses offered by the Southern Metropolitan Zone and
all comments about the obstacles and their design were positive and encouraging. The jumps
all had a degree of difficulty, yet were safely built and inviting. The sandy ground was
lovely to ride on, and Im sure all of the horses appreciated the good going that was
unexpected due to the lack of rain!
The two days were extremely well
organised and ran on time, contrary to the reputation of horse events! Despite the LONG
walk from the camping ground to the main scene of the competition, the event was run
smoothly without any major hitches. All credit to the Southern Metropolitan Zone for
handling the event with such apparent ease.
All riders involved appeared to
enjoy themselves throughout the weekend, though most looked a little worse for wear by the
time they went home (whose idea was it to sleep in the horse float??). With lovely
dressage arenas, a beautiful showjumping course and an exciting cross country course, all
competitors were extremely privileged to be involved in the State Horse Trials for 2002.
Cant wait for next year!!
Go to the Top 6 Results.