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2017 Boneo Classic

2017 Boneo Classic

Well this was definitely a week to remember! Staying on at Boneo after the Youth Festival we prepared for the big week ahead. Monday the 16th I had my monthly infusion so I slept pretty well for the rest of the day. Jay also had the day off after such a big week! Tuesday again was an easy day, and I took Jay for a hack out around the back of Boneo Park with Yvonne. The property is much bigger than you think and has some awesome trails to hack out along. Tuesday night was an exciting night as my best friend Lucy flew over from Tasmania to help me and come experience the big competition! I was so grateful to have her with me for the week, keeping me in line when I needed it! Our campsite was full with the float being set up as the kitchen and horse area and we bought a large tent that had two separate ends so Lucy and I were one end and Mum was the other end.

Thursday was an early start being on at 9.02am for the Team Test. Lucy and I plaited Jay up first thing in the morning and then headed over to the warm around 8.25am. We were competing in the Indoor so we had the arena just outside the indoor to warm up in. This was great as it was only Para’s in that warm up arena so it wasn’t hectic. I was super happy with our first test. I knew that I finally had my boy back to his usual self and he was so soft, powerful and rideable! We came out with a decent score of 66.221%, scoring a 64.884% and a 67.558% from the two judges, placing us 2nd. It was nice to be done early in the day so we were able to watch some other tests and do some shopping! The shopping at the classic is always the best for a competition in Australia; there was also show jumping to watch as well. We did not have presentations on this day as they were to take place the next day.

Friday was an even earlier start being on at 8.08am! Jay was still plaited from the day before so he had an early breakfast before heading to the warm up around 7.40am. This test gave me chills, the feeling was indescribable. I think it was the best test that Jay and I have ever done together! We scored a respectable 67.857%, which was a bit lower than I was hoping for but that’s ok! We scored a 68.452% and a 67.262% form the two judges placing us 1st! It was so great that all the hard work had paid off and that our scores have been continually increasing. It was also very encouraging to have beaten a horse that was on the Australian Team for WEG. Later in the day we had presentations, and it was great to see the Para presentations and the able bodied presentations being held at the same time so we had a crowd.

Saturday was freestyle day, my favourite day and didn’t we finish with a bang! Once again we were on first thing in the morning at 9.00am. I also felt very proud to be able to ride in front of the Tassie crew that came over and I am very grateful for all of their support and for coming early to watch my freestyle test. Once again Jay did not put a foot wrong and we scored 70.000% placing us 1st! Scoring a 69.750% and a 70.250% with both artistic scores being 72%! We had presentations that afternoon and I was also grateful to win the overall Grade V Para Championship! A huge thank you to Equestrian Australia for sponsoring all of the Para classes for the week! After presentations it was a quick dash to get ready for the Charlotte Dujardin master class! Thank you to Lucy for keeping me in line and not letting me stalk her all week and not letting me cry when I saw her lol. The master class was amazing, with the highlight being watching Abbie O’Brien, a former Taswegian and super Rajah. We are all so proud of what an incredible job Abbie has done with him! After the master class we also had a meet and greet with Charlotte with a quick photo opportunity! After such a big week and still being starstruck it was then time to go to bed.

Sunday was an easy day for us as I wasn’t competing, so we spent the day lounging around watching the Grand Prix freestyles and doing some final shopping. We also packed up our campsite as we decided to stay in a motel that night so we could get away early Monday morning to take Jay out to Sunbury where Hayley Sheehan from Tasmanian Horse Transport would pick him up to bring him home. The 2017 Boneo Classic was one of the best competitions that I have ever had, and it is a competition that I look forward to every year.

It is so great that the Australian Dressage National Championships will be held at Boneo in October this year, and I hope that we have a few Tassie riders going over and making the most of the opportunity. As always none of this success would be possible with out my sponsors and supporters and everyone who has contributed:

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!

Tasmanian Horse Transport (Hayley Sheehan)

Dressage Tasmania and also to my incredible family and friends who have been with me through thick and thin, and to my coaches past and present who have all influenced my riding.

Jay and I are now focused on the Tasmanian Dressage Championships on the first weekend in March in Hobart and are working towards our goal of having a Grand Prix start within the next 12 months.

Thank you for reading,

Caitlin Xx

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