Youth Dressage Championships, What an Event! By Dana Krause

Fiona Selby’s magnificent world class facility Boneo Park was immaculately turned out for The Ellanbrae Park 2017 Youth Dressage Championships - a competition for riders aged 10-25 years.

About 150 riders competed over three days from Victoria, NSW, Queensland, Tasmania, South Australia and even New Zealand.  The talent of both riders and horses was phenomenal, some of which are sure to represent Australia on the international stage in the future.

Dressage is often described as ballet on horseback and spectators were not disappointed as they were entertained by some of the most graceful young riders and horses in Australia. This was also the first year that interschool classes where included, supported by Toorak College, making this event inclusive of all dressage riders.

The state champions of day one included: Brooke Mance riding Fairbanks Ringo, from Victoria, won the Elementary Pony; Samantha Coleshill from South Australia, riding Tarrendene Forte, won the Elementary Horse; Alicia Ryan from Victoria, on Bluefields Furstentanz, won the Advanced Horse; and Fern Wright on Kamber Pryderi, from Victoria, won the FEI Inter II Horse.

The state championships of day two were: Haylea Wright on Stanmore Park Ruby, from Victoria, won the Novice Horse; Jemma Dodd from South Australia, riding Class Capture, won the Novice Pony; Nicole Berry riding Euroz Jinks, from South Australia, won the Medium Horse; Allysse Smith from Victoria, on the imported Keilshoop Honeyhill, won the Medium Pony; and Fern Wright, riding Kamber Pryderi (pictured), won the FEI U25 Grand Prix.

The weather improved on day three and the final state championship winners were: Jemma Dodd from South Australia, once again riding Class Capture, won the Preliminary Pony; Melissa Galloway riding BWS Cabaret, from New Zealand, won the Preliminary Horse; Jessica Hivon from Victoria on Garraboo Scoobie Doo, won the FEI Junior Tour; Morgan Duell and Florinzz, from Victoria, won the FEI Medium Tour; Amy Bacchman from Victoria, riding Heritage Park Chartreuse, won the FEI Pony Tour; Amy Reilly riding Michar, from NSW, won the FEI Small Tour; and the picture perfect combination Charlie Welsh, riding W Esther De Jeu, from Victoria won FEI Young Rider Tour.

Dressage is a tough sport that requires dedication not only of the young riders who compete but also their families and the support of the judges, volunteers and sponsors. More at www.vydc.com.au