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Victorian Dressage Festival 2016

Victorian Dressage Festival 2016

On Tuesday the 6th of December Mum and I set off on our journey down to Werribee. It was a long 7-hour drive, but Jay travelled well and was happy to see some grass at the end of the day. We were lucky enough to be stabled in the magnificent old barn at the equestrian centre behind the trade area. Once we were all unpacked I went for a long walk on Jay around the arenas and had some light stretchy work. Wednesday was a fairly easy day. We just had arena familiarisation in the morning. Tuesday and Wednesday were both fairly warm so I rode either early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Lizzy, Courtney and I also rescued a pigeon that was limping and with string tangled around his legs.

Thursday was the first day of competition; it was an early start to plait Jay. I had the team test first at 9.54am, it was our best Para test to date! We scored 66.349% meaning that we won the test; the score was lower than I had hoped but we had a score of 70.952% from one judge! Next up was the individual test at 11.18am. This test was not as good as the first as Jay had conveniently forgotten that simple changes go through the walk not trot and he was a little distracted. We scored a 63.809% with a top score of 65.595% which meant that we were placed second. That afternoon I also had my freestyle practice in the indoor, the intermediate freestyle at 5.18pm and the Para freestyle at 5.36pm.

Friday morning was the Para freestyle at 8.54am and it was the first time that I had felt like I had nailed the test and couldn’t have done anything else. We scored 68.500% and I was very excited to have scored 70.500% from the Italian judge! We won the test, which meant that I took out the overall grade IV Para championship and I also won the Champion of Champions for the Para having the highest overall score across all grades! I also had the Intermediate I on Friday at 11.27am, which unfortunately, definitely was not our best test as we were both exhausted and Jay had switched off. A few mistakes meant we were in the bottom half of the field. But still ended up equal ninth with Morgan Duell on 58.772%. The rest of the day was spent resting, shopping and watching other tests.

Saturday was our final competition day with the Intermediate freestyle scoring 60.525% placing fifth. It defiently wasn’t our best but the most special part of it was being able to wear a top hat for the first time! A very special thank you to Katherine from Boutique Equines for doing my hair for me.

Of course none of this would be possible without my sponsors and supporters: Dannebrog Cafe Bar and Grill,

Saddle Savers by Sandbeck (Amanda Baker),

Equissage Tasmania (Leanne Masters),

Spirit of Tasmania, Groups Tasmania (David Luttrell), Bendigo Community Bank Port Sorell,

Disability Sport,

Tasmanian Institute of Sport, especially Chris Bellette from Move Strong Gym for helping me get stronger and fitter and Tasmanian Horse Transport (Hayley Sheehan).

A huge thank you to the whole Callum Park team, especially Susan Elekessy my coach! A huge thank you also as always goes to my family, friends, sponsors and supporters and the whole dressage community for all of their support!

Caitlin Xx

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