When you compare Australia to the Europe or the US, it’s not hard to see a significant… difference… in the type/amount of events we have.
- Australia is in the Southern Hemisphere, and most horse-sport loving nations are in the North (minus our special friends the Kiwis)
- Despite our large land mass, we have a relatively small population for the space we occupy
Hello,empty middle section. Population of ~24 million
This brings about key differences.
- We don’t have many big 3DE’s
- We rarely have international competitors at our International events
- We only have one 5* competition in the whole Southern Hemisphere (Adelaide 5* in November) and 2-3 bigger 4* courses
Then the US comes in all BAM with a population of ~327 million even though we are not that different in size
So when I actually have time and money to go to one of the bigger ones (rare), I do try to make an effort to go.
Especially when it means I get to see B.
And Caitlin too, I guess.
Actually, no. She keeps trying to steal my horse
It’s been a while since my last Melbourne and dear god they have done some work because the cross country course this year was nothing short of magical!
Note: I did go to the dressage day, but got caught up in the trade stand and didn’t watch much of it due to only being there for an hour or two so Caitlin could warm up a client. Ah well, it ain’t no dressage test anyway
Colour me distracted
This year, they re-routed the XC course so the long gallop stretches around the polo field were pretty much gone, and instead built some incredible elements in the Werribee Mansion rose garden and put in new water crossings.
And dear lord, the weather Gods smiled on us, which is a rare occurrence at Werribee.
The sunken road complex in the Rose Garden. It ranged anywhere from being run past in the 2*, to jumping the house being the Horseware sign, down the sunken road, up and then back out over the house in the 4*
There were some thrills and spills, but overall it seemed to ride relatively safely (thanks to the frangibles which did get put to some use), and only 2 riders in the 4* were eliminated on course. One for a fall at the first element of the below video, one for 3 refusals at the same fence.
Instead, the pressure came from the time and technicality.
I liked that.
This sport can be crazy enough, thankyouverymuch, without one of those courses that causes absolute carnage.
Why have carnage when you can have tea? (2* fence)
Of the starter field, only 13/29 horses jumped clear, and two horses came in under time. That being said, the two time clear horses both incurred 11 penalties for taking down frangible fences. It was a tough course.
Stuart Tinney once again proved why he has been at the top level of eventing for so long, leading the class from start to finish in some less than ideal conditions on the Sunday.
The weather gods only like XC.
They say no to show jumping.
All in all, it was a wonderful weekend watching masters at work, the new kids on the block, looking at all the pretty things (which I didn’t buy, by some sweet miracle) and catching up with old friends while cheering on others.
Pretty sure I will be there next year again to watch, because this is easily one of the best events of the year, and despite being so isolated, I reckon we scrub up alright down here.