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Berni
29-10-12, 08:10 AM
Saturday night was the 'Night of Freestyles' at the Saddleworld Australian Dressage Championships. Unfortunately, the number of spectators was slightly down on previous years. This was a shame as the spectators are integral in making the event viable. They add to the atmosphere, spend money in the trade village and more importantly they help spread the word about the world of dressage. In saying that, the evening was enjoyed by all and there were plenty of beautiful horses to keep us inspired.
http://equestrian.cyberhorse.com.au/images/stories/2012/TVE/dressage/Nationals/DiamantinaFranz300.jpgThe first competition was the Pessoa Dressage Intermediate Freestyle. There were certainly a few surprises. Out of the 15 competitors, two were eliminated and two retired, which was very frustrating those concerned. This was a tough competition as most of the competitors had all been place getters in similar classes held over the last couple of days.
Once again it was two Queensland riders (and good friends) that fought it out for first place. Nicole Tough on Danielle Dowsett's gelding, Dante, ended up second scoring 71.025 and Jayden Brown on his good looking gelding Furst Fredrich, who managed to win with a score of 71.275. I have watched Jayden over the last few years and have been impressed on how focused he is during the test - he seems to ride every stride, ensuring the horse is placed exactly where he wants it. Quite extraordinary! Third place went to Australia's, Brett Parbery, on Susan Duddy's DP Weltmieser (69.925).

The Hamilton Island Grand Prix Freestyle CDI-W wasn't as surprising in regards to the placegetters. First place went to Maree Tomkinson on her incredibly popular mare, Diamantina IV, scoring 69.450. Second went to David Shoobridge on the very accurate, 00 Seven (69.150) and third went to Sheridyn Ashwood on the expressive stallion Prestige VDL (67.450). Fourth was Heath Ryan on Regardez Moi scoring 67.275.

One of the lovely things about the Freestyle competitions is that it is enjoyable to watch for people who are not necessarily involved or interested in the sport. Last night I invited my sister along who has never been to a dressage event in her life. She arrived late afternoon, browsed the trade village and found a couple of things for her two daughters and then thoroughly enjoyed the evening competitions. She was intrigued by the horses and surprised by the amount of spectators - it gave her a glimpse of a world she had no idea existed. I think she will be back next year. This is what we need to do - introduce new people to the sport (not necessarily in the saddle).

For detailed results, visit www.dressagensw.com.au/nationals (http://www.dressagensw.com.au/nationals)
Story Scott Pollock and Picture of Diamantina and Maree Tomkinson by Franz Venhaus



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