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Thread: London Paralympics - Joann Formosa Challenges Favourite

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    Exclamation London Paralympics - Joann Formosa Challenges Favourite

    Australian Equestrian rider Joann Formosa (left) has put Australia in a strong position for day two of the London Paralympic Games team test, after finishing third in her grade at the Greenwich Park today.

    Formosa, 51, from regional Victoria had the performance of her life, to score a 71.955% pushing her into third position, behind Great Britain’s Lee Pearson (74.545%) and Austria’s Pepo Puch (73.636%) in Grade 1b.“I know what I want, I’m hungry for it, it’s been my lifelong goal and it can only get better each day, so look out for me on the next day, and then the next day because everyone’s going to know who I am,” said Formosa.

    “I’m happy I got over 70%. I’m still in a bubble, it all just seems surreal. It’s like a dream and I haven’t woken up yet.”

    Riding high from her top three placing, Formosa issued a warning to the event’s top scorer and one of Great Britain’s most successful dressage riders, Lee Pearson that his days at the top of the sport are numbered.

    “I’m out to beat him. I call a spade a spade and us from the Aussie land, well we’re coming and we’re out to get to the top.

    “I want to beat him and everybody else. I’m just working my way up. We’ve got two more days to go so bring it on.”

    Pearson has dominated the grade 1b events, since 2000 and has nine Paralympic medals to his name. But Formosa says Pearson’s record no longer intimidates her.

    “I’ve always stuck to my goal, I know where I want to go and I know what I want to do. I’ve just stuck to what I believe in and now I’m here and I’m doing it. And now I’m coming after him.”

    In the morning’s session, Beijing Paralympian Grace Bowman did not have an ideal start to her London campaign despite assurances in training that her horse, Kirby Park Joy, was settling into life at Greenwich.

    Bowman scored 57.048% to finish in 21st place, with her score unlikely to be included in the final team event.

    “Grace warmed up really well and trotted around the field of play very confidently. Outside of the arena the trot work was looking fantastic – it would’ve scored 60-70%,” said Chef d’Equipe Sally Francis.

    “But then on the diagonal the horse caught sight of the screen and reacted badly. Grace did well to finish the test.”

    Paralympic first-timers Hannah Dodd and Rob Oakley take to the arena tomorrow to complete the second half of the team test.

    30 August 2012

    Australia's Para-Equestrian horses pass first horse inspection

    Australia's Para-equestrian team have breathed a sigh of relief after their horses passed their final test the day before Paralympic competition begins at Greenwich Park.

    Having been perfectly groomed since early this morning, Australia’s four competing horses were examined by official event veterinarians in the main dressage arena, where the final trot up took place.

    “In the trot up, they’re looking to check that the horse is sound, meaning it walks evenly at the walk and the trot and they’re making sure there’s no discharge from their nose or any other ailments the horse might have,” said Australian equestrian team Chef d’Equipe, Sally Francis.

    “They looked sensational, we had the formal gear on and we looked superb. We were the second team out and there were a lot of comments when we came in on how good the horses looked and how good we looked.”

    Heading to her second Paralympic Games, Grace Bowman is the first Australian on the arena tomorrow, as the first rider to contest the team test event.

    With her horse Kirby Park Joy also competing at its first Games; Bowman is confident she can produce something special on the Australian warm blood.

    “The trot that she’s been able to produce has been so expressive and really quite magical to sit on and if it feels that good, it must look pretty good,” said Bowman.

    “She’s getting the movements that we need to do, she’s doing them really well and the paces are going really well. It’s all I can ask for.”

    Victoria’s Joann Formosa will make her Paralympic debut tomorrow as the second rider in the team test on her horse World Wide PB, with New South Wales athletes Hannah Dodd and Rob Oakley due to complete the team test on Friday.The duo took part in the opening ceremony with the rest of the Australian Paralympic Team

    “Our horses have really peaked at the right time for competition. They’re all really excited and really ready to go in and perform at their best,” said Francis.

    28 August 2012

    Para-Equestrian team moves into Athlete's Village

    Australia's Para-Equestrian riders are settling into life in the Paralympic Games Athlete's Village. The four member team of Grace Bowman, Hannah Dodd, Joann Formosa and Rob Oakley along with support staff will call the village home for the duration of the Paralympic Games which start on Wednesday 29 August.

    The riders moved into the Village on Friday after they bid farewell to their pre-Games training base at Sparsholt College, which is about 90 minutes out of London. The horses travelled ahead of the riders and were accompanied by the grooms – Nicole King, Fay Mendez, Kate O’Brien and Elsa Davis, and the team’s vet – Janine Dwyer.

    Since their arrival, the team has been travelling between the Village and Greenwich Park where they have been given the chance to familiarise with the arena. In-between training sessions the riders have been decorating their stables with Australian flair.

    Equestrian gets underway on day one of the Paralympic Games. You can view the competition schedule here.

    Scoll to the bottom of the page to view new images.

    20 August 2012

    Update from Para-Equestrian staging camp

    National Performance Director for Para-Equestrian, Julia Battams, provides us with an update from the team's staging camp in the UK.

    The first week at Sparsholt staging camp has been very successful. The horses and riders all travelled really well and settled in to the beautiful surroundings of this wonderful Agricultural College near Winchester in Hampshire. There is a lovely indoor school, three big outdoor arenas and four stable yards, one of which is exclusively for our
    horses. The arena surfaces are all fantastic and we could not ask for anything more. The staff here are also truly amazing - nothing is too much trouble and it seems that the whole area knows we are here and are very pleased to be hosting us.

    On the first day following our arrival, the horses had a quiet workout and the riders familiarised themselves with the layout of the college which includes an amazing gym, weight room, physio treatment and medical room, a shop, cafeteria and games room - all set amongst the most beautiful English countryside. Each rider has their own room and there is a common area for every group of four rooms.

    Following a training session on the second day, we headed to Wales where we went to Cardiff stadium to receive our team uniform. The Australian Paralympic Team ceremonial uniform is by RM Williams and the sporting gear is 2XU, Tiger and ASIC. It is all really great gear and we are all looking forward to arriving at Greenwich so we can start wearing it.

    By Friday everyone was back in full work and preparing for a special demonstration event which was organised for the following night. This turned out to be a fantastic evening - the arena was beautifully decked out with flowers and flags and a great mobile grandstand was erected on a semi-trailer which folded out with seating for 200 people.

    The evening was attended by local councillors and dignitaries including the Mayor and Mayoress of Winchester, and many people travelled up to two hours to attend the show. It began with a great introduction by Sparsholt principal Tim Jackson who spoke about the Mission Statement of the Olympic and Paralympic movements which he said focuses not only on sporting achievement, but also friendship, excellence and respect.

    Our team performed their freestyle tests brilliantly. It was really well received by the knowledgeable crowd and the enthusiastic question and answer session which followed showed that the audience were truly interested in these talented athletes.

    Following a photo opportunity (several reporters from local media were in attendance) the riders found themselves bundled off to the autograph signing! It was great to see some of our less experienced athletes warming to this role as queues of fans took nearly an hour to file past and get their autographs!

    The feedback from the demonstration event was really heartening and all four horses performed very well in an environment which is possibly as electric as they have ever experienced. All in all it is probably the best preparation we could have asked for in the lead up to the Games.

    Saturday was a day of rest so we made the trip to Salisbury Plains to see the amazing Stonehenge. This was a great team building exercise and everyone was awed by the history of this amazing place.

    After working the horses on the following day, we went on a tour of the historic town of Winchester including the incredible Winchester Cathedral. This city dates back to the 12th century and there are buildings still standing which were inhabited by William the Conqueror! We visited the oldest intact building in Winchester which is a pub that
    was built in 1450. A civil reception with the Mayor and Mayoress and a guided tour of the town made this into yet another perfect day (and the weather - a balmy 30 degrees) helped as well.

    Next week we are off to Cardiff Castle for the Australian Paralympic Team Launch and announcement of the team’s flag bearer which we are all really looking forward to. We move into the athlete’s village on 24 August.


    Joann Formosa after perfroming her team test
    Photograph:Courtesy Australian Paralympic Committee

    15 August 2012

    The Olympics may be over for our Eventing, Jumping and Dressage riders but the experience is just beginning for the members of our Para-Equestrian Team.

    The four member team of Grace Bowman, Hannah Dodd, Joann Formosa and Rob Oakley touched down in the UK late last week. Before entering the athlete’s village on August 24 the riders will stay at Sparsholt College in Hampshire – the venue for the team’s pre-Games training camp.

    National Performance Director for Para-Equestrian, Julia Battams, says the team travelled well is enjoying the journey thus far.

    "The riders had their first real day of normal intensity training on Tuesday," Battams said. "The support from the Australian Paralympic Committee has been phenomenal and we are all feeling really confident and excited about the weeks to come,” she added.

    Sparsholt College is about 90 minutes from London and is fully equipped with three outdoor arenas, an indoor arena, first class stabling facilities and a fully equipped gym and weights room.

    Riders are staying in student accommodation and are treated to meals that have been prepared following recipes out of the AIS cookbook and menus which have been designed by an AIS nutritionist.



    Grace Bowman

    Rob Oakley, Hannah Dodd, Grace Bowman and Joann Formosa at the first horse inspection at Greenwich

    The first horse inspection took place under cloudy Greenwich skies

    Team Australia before making the trip to Greenwich

    Riders have been given a chance to familarise with the arena

    Hannah Dodd and Waikiwi inside the stables at Greenwich

    Nicole King with Waikiwi before the mare is loaded onto the truck

    Worldwide PB is loaded onto the truck

    The team's vet and grooms travelled with the horses into London

    Bye for now! Chef d-Equipe Sally Francis and National Performance Director Julia Battams

    The team on demonstration evening

    Hannah Dodd and Waikiwi perform their Freestyle test at the demonstration event

    Hannah Dodd and Waikiwi perform at the demonstration event

    Rob Oakley and Statford Mantovani perform their Freestyle test at the demonstration event

    The team on demonstration evening

    Grace Bowman and Kirby Park Joy perform their Freestyle test at the demonstration event

    Grace Bowman and Kirby Park Joy at the demonstration event

    Joann Formosa and Worldwide PB perform their Freestyle test at the demonstration event

    Rob Oakley takes part in a Q&A session with the audience

    Hannah Dodd and groom, Nicole King

    The Australian team's coaching and support staff

    Hannah Dodd with her family and supporters

    Grace Bowman and Hannah Dodd looking fresh and relaxed

    The team had some time to take a break from training and visited nearby Stonehenge

    This is one of three outdoor arenas on the grounds of the college

    The team inside the Sparsholt College stables


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  2. #2
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    Great achievement for a 51 yr old

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