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BLOG: Emma Booth reflects on the 2017 Boneo Classic

 Emma Booth and Zidabne, 2017 Boneo Classic - Photo Stephen Mowbray

Emma Booth and Zidane, 2017 Boneo Classic.

© Stephen Mowbray


By Emma Booth

The feeling of being back in the competition arena in Australia, with my beautiful horse, Mogelvangs Zidane, after being on such a journey together over the past twelve months, is rather difficult to put into words. All I know is that I have an extremely incredible horse and I could not be more proud of him.

Boneo Classic wasn’t a CPEDI this year, so there was no real pressure on us in terms of scores, however for me there was a large component of wanting to do well regardless. Zidane and myself had been separated for a few months after Rio due to quarantine, and as a result of this break I was unsure as to how we would perform. But my concerns were quickly put to rest when I got in the saddle - the rider might have been a little rusty but Zidane was such a gem and tried his absolute heart out for me.

The FEI introduced new Para tests as of 1st January 2017, so Boneo Classic was our first time riding them. Having slightly more time with Zidane to prepare in the lead up would have been beneficial, but I was super pleased with our first hit out after Rio regardless. There are some new, somewhat more complex movements in the Grade 3 tests, such as leg yielding, which will need further practice to really master. In saying this, Zidane tried his best for me on the day, and even with a rider error in both tests (oops) we scored over 71% for the Team and Individual tests. This was a real confidence booster after Rio.
After a few discussions with my coach, Lone Joergensen, it was decided I would not ride my Freestyle test. There was not enough time to come up with new music to accommodate the added compulsory 2017 test movements, and with Zidane losing fitness in quarantine, we thought it was best not to push him when there was no real need, and to leave it at riding just the two tests for the weekend instead. As much as I wanted to ride the Freestyle and thought it would be really enjoyable, sometimes it’s best to think of the larger picture and what is best for your horse. I am very lucky to have an experienced trainer such as Lone to help guide me through choices like this. It’s not always easy making difficult decisions and sometimes you have to look to someone slightly more detached from the emotional side of things to help you. 


Emma Booth's groom Shahira and Zidane, 2017 Boneo Classic - Photo Stephen Mowbray

Emma Booth's groom Shahira and Zidane, 2017 Boneo Classic.

© Emma Booth

Overall the event at Boneo was extremely well run, it had an amazing atmosphere, and as usual the staff at Boneo went above and beyond to help out. I must say that the venue, particularly the outdoor dressage arena, had more atmosphere and European feel than any other competition I have been to recently. I think Fiona and all who helped organise everything need to be really congratulated for this. 

I was lucky enough to attend the Charlotte Dujardin Masterclass on the Saturday evening and all I can say is, ‘Wow!’ All horse and rider combinations that took part demonstrated a clear improvement from start to finish. Charlotte was informative, explained things clearly to onlookers, did a fantastic job of keeping the attention of the audience, and really pushed each rider with the varying exercises that she was asking of them.

All riders did extremely well to take on board criticism and cope with the pressure of such a large audience. I think the crowd was very pleased with Abbie O’Brien’s gelding, Rajahs Rave - particularly when we were told that Abbie has trained him herself from a 4yo.  A highlight for me was watching Charlotte ride Mary Hannah’s flamboyant 9yo mare, Calanta. She had never ridden this horse before and within minutes was doing some truly amazing work. Not everyone has the ability to do this and I think it was a real privilege for us to have Charlotte here at Boneo Park in Australia. It certainly was a great learning experience for those that attended. I can’t wait for the DVD to be released because I’ll definitely be getting a copy to re-watch.


Emma Booth and Zidabne, 2017 Boneo Classic - Photo Stephen Mowbray

Emma Booth and Zidane, 2017 Boneo Classic.

© Stephen Mowbray





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