REPORT ON MIRRABOOKA HORSE TRIALS held on 28th-29th August 1999

Mirrabooka Horse Trials, on the south coast of NSW near Moruya, was host to riders from Victoria and South Australia as well as most of the local elite riders on a weekend that was warm and occasionally spoiled by short scuds of rain.

There were members of our World Games team and recent Trans Tasman Team riding as well as Gold Medal team member, Wendy Schaeffer riding three horse (Sun Flair, Sun Down and Sun Glow). Other team members included from South Australia Tara Trevilcock (Lewis and Howard’s End), from Victoria Olivia Bunn with Top of the Line and Pontoon, and NSW riders, Sammi McLeod (Kibah Pinnacle) and Stuart Tinney (Boxter) both of whom recently rode at Badminton, as well as Shane Rose (It’s A Knockout, Kianga and Wayfarer).

Other interstate competitors included Luke and Dominic Jones from SA, Robyn Brown (Bondir), Ian Balfour (The King’s General), Anna Cullen (Arthur James), Nigel Thomson (Portrait Painter and St Andrew’s Castle). Not so local NSW riders included Tim Boland and his two super stars, Starway and Limitless, John Cooper (Falcon Ebony and Falcon Flash), Sam Lyle (Foxdale Wildcard and Royal Venture) and Christine McLeod with her Melbourne 3-star winner, Masterprint.

This star studded cast led to the Open Intermediate class of more than seventy combinations being separated into two divisions. An interesting cross country course, which wove its way around the 250 acre property through creeks, stands of she oaks and open plains, saw some twenty eliminated on the cross country. Some of these were for frustrating reasons like jumping the wrong part of a combination, where riders had not walked the options carefully enough.

The water complex, which saw a bounce out of water over an upright back into water, collected more than its fair share of eliminations, especially in the Novice class. About half the Open Intermediate class opted for the long options, which left the more advanced horses to show the crowds super star performances which made the whole combination look easy. Coming down the hill to the crowds and the water was somewhat daunting but most combinations handled the water entry well.

The showjumping provided some thrills with two horses locked on equal scores in one OI class and an equally close contest in the top contenders for the other. The cool head of Shane Rose, riding the talented It’s A Knockout had one rail to take out class A from Tara Trebilcock with Lewis and followed not so closely by Wendy Schaeffer on Sun Glo and Olivia Bunn with Top of the Line. He repeated this in the B division with Kianga watched by proud owner Neale Lavis after whose horse, Mirrabooka, this Horse Trials was named. Nikki Bishop gave up her joint first place with Shane and second to Natalie Blundell (Billy Bathgate) when her Olympic horse (Wishful Thinking) jumped so big over the sixth jump she lost her stirrups and seven valuable seconds. Shane also took fourth place in this division with brilliant clear rounds on Wayfarer.

If this event is any monitor, then the 2-star Test event at Sydney’s International Equestrian Centre in just three weeks’ time is going to be a very exciting event to watch. Tickets can be obtained by phoning SOCOG on 02-9297-4200 for order forms. Tickets will be available at the venue on competition days, $10/day for dressage days and $15/day for cross country and showjumping days. Children under 12 are $5 on all days.

Report by Penny Rose. Full results here.