I would like to say a huge congratulations to all the Victorian riders who made the long trip up to Toowoomba recently for the National Interschool Championships. They should all be very proud of their efforts with a number of personal bests, wins and placings in all disciplines. The team not only consisted of a number of dressage riders but also competitors in Show Jumping, Eventing, the Interschool Challenge and Combined Training competitions. I was very pleased to hear from friends, including representatives from Queensland and Western Australia, that all our riders conducted themselves well and were great ambassadors for equestrian in Victoria both in and outside of the competition arena.
A special congratulations is extended to Olivia Karabatsos and Hannah Cashmore for being awarded ‘Supreme Riders’ trophies. What fantastic work girls! You can read Olivia’s report of the event on Equestrian Life here http://www.equestrianlife.com.au/articles/Interscool-Championships-2012
Close friend of mine Molly Parkin made the long trip up to Toowoomba to compete in the Pre Novice Eventing on her warmblood gelding Kendalee Eskimo. Molly rode a great dressage test and picked up just a few time and jumping penalties over the cross country and show jumping phases to finish in tenth position, a fantastic effort and a performance she is no doubt very pleased with. When speaking with Molly she said, “I am very proud to have represented myself and Victoria and I am extremely thankful for the wonderful support from my family, friends and the whole Victorian team”. Molly is an extremely dedicated rider, juggling her VCE studies and working two competition horses, Kendalee Eskimo and Mr. Whiplash, to compete in eventing, dressage and show jumping competitions and I admire her organisation and commitment to excell in all of these areas. She is a prime example of what many interschool competitors are dealing with and what these competitions are all about and it is fantastic that there is such support and recognition of the huge effort it takes to juggle studies and a riding career, especially in the final years of school.
Other Victorian team members Alex O’Sullivan and Molly Barry made their National Championship debuts with style finishing in fifth and sixth positions respectively in the Pre Novice and One Star eventing competitions with Victoria placing third in the secondary eventing teams competition. Molly was all smiles as she and her gorgeous gelding Jumpin Jack sailed comfortably through all three phases. Molly was quick to thank her support team especially her “amazing parents! Not only did they drive me some 1,700 km’s to an event, they have also been out helping me in the pouring rain, and brilliant sunshine for the past 12 years helping me learn to ride! And thanks to Danica Webber for organising us all while we were up there! You did an awesome job!!”. Alex O’Sullivan also did a fantastic job on Voe to overcome all the challenges the show jumping and cross country course designers could throw at her over the three days of the eventing competition. Alex is to be commended on the extraordinary effort she puts in to keep her horses in competition condition – as a boarder at MLC in Kew, Alex is no stranger to going the extra mile to work her horses and her success at the championships is a testament to her efforts. Well done girls!
Many of the Victorian team members were calling me and sending me photos in excitement on the first days of the competition as they saw a familiar but unexpected face, that of my previous horse Ellesby Chief Invader. Mister Wilson as he is known to his friends is now owned by a Queensland based young rider and he was offered as a pool horse to the Western Australian team. Ridden by Madison Tristram, Mister Wilson placed fifth in the Secondary Medium Freestyle and was the flag bearer for the WA team in the closing ceremony! It was lovely to hear that the Victorians were so excited to see him happy and healthy in his new home.
These are just some of the many success stories that the Victorian team brought home with them to share with their peers and I hope that we can all learn from and celebrate their very special experiences at the championships. I am very proud of all the feedback I have received and continue to receive and hope that all involved treasure the friends and memories made and continue to compete in and support interschool competitions as they represent a fabulous opportunity for younger riders to shine and foster a love for equestrian sport whilst they are still studying. Another huge congratulations to you all and happy riding for the future!
Below: The Victorian team, photo by Jenny O’Sullivan