EQ Life Masthead - 2019
live TV (up)
EQ Life virtual competition
CMH.TV advert (V2)
EQ Life Magazine
12 month subscription
BLOG: Emma Booth reflects on the 2017 Sydney CDI

Emma Booth, 2017 Sydney CDI. © Stephen Mowbray (for use in Emma's blog only)

Emma and Zidane are all smiles at the Sydney CDI.

© Stephen Mowbray


By Emma Booth

When you’re a competitive dressage rider, the Sydney CDI is always one to look forward to, and this year definitely did not disappoint. Although it is a little bit of a hike for the Victorian based riders like myself, it’s always worth the trip.

You can always head in to the CDI knowing it’s going to be an efficient and well run show. Zidane and I, along with 16yo groom, Lucy Bycroft, arrived at SIEC on Tuesday evening with just enough sunlight left to take Zidane for a nice walk around the beautiful grounds, while his bed was being made and the car and float unloaded (we are always thankful to see the wonderful Pete with his trusty Polaris on arrival). Alas, we were settled in for a week of fun and competition in Sydney.

Since returning from Rio, we have had a few small competitions to run through our new FEI Grade III para tests, but we have been struggling to match some of the scores we were getting prior to leaving for our Paralympic debut last year. This can be a frustrating and confusing state to be in, feeling like your work is tip top but you just can’t seem to crack those ripper scores. So with this is mind, we were interested to see how our scores would play out at the CDI.

Day 1 was beautiful and sunny and Zidane, who was looking a little woolly with a coat that had shifted only a few days before we left (always the way), was feeling fit and fabulous in the warm up. Even better than that, he continued to feel this way into the test, which is something that can be so hard to do – transitioning the work from your warm up, into your test! With only a few minor mistakes, we received a score of over 71%. We were happy with this (and when I saw “we”, I mean myself, coach Lone, Zidane, groom Lucy and everyone else who was there to offer help and support).


Emma Booth, 2017 Sydney CDI. © Stephen Mowbray (for use in Emma's blog only)

© Stephen Mowbray

Day 2 of competition was lucky – lucky that I have such an amazing horse whose training program has really cemented some of his beautiful work so well. I say this because all morning I had been having issues with a numb right hand that felt like a really severe case of pins and needles. I then started warming up and trying to hold my reins which only made the sensation in my hand even worse, leaving me with nearly no feeling in my right hand. I couldn’t feel the whip I was holding, I couldn’t adjust the rein length properly. This was obviously not ideal, but we rode on anyway and pulled off a very consistent test which received a score of nearly 74% - that’s more like it Zidane!! He is such a genuine horse who really steps up when I need him to. I can always rely on him to look after me.

And finally Day 3 of competition was Freestyle Day – Zidane and my favourite!! Warm was great, test also felt awesome. We only had a few tiny errors and stayed fairly well in time with the music for most of the test. I was so happy when leaving the arena with my awesome partner in crime, and was even more pleased when I saw we had been given a score of over 76%. It was such a great way to end our competition at the 2017 Sydney CDI.

The competition itself isn’t the only thing we look forward to about heading to the CDI, who doesn’t love a good feed at the Italian restaurant down the road from SIEC?! It’s nice being able to go to dinner in horse clothes and be surrounded by fellow riders who are also wearing horsey gear. Let’s be honest, most of our equestrian apparel would cost more than anything else we riders own, so why not wear it out and about for the public eye to appreciate. And it’s also nice getting the chance to catch up with other interstate riders who you may not get to see all the time.

Now that my competition was over and done with, it was time that I could relax and look forward to watching the Grand Prix Freestyle in the beautiful, big indoor on the Saturday night. The entertainment started off with quadrilles performed by a number of NSW based riders - this was really enjoyable. The drills were well organised, had some great music, and most importantly were extremely entertaining and fun for the onlooking audience. The crowd really got into supporting the riders and the vibe in the indoor was one to remember. The final quadrille, which happened to be the NSW High Performance team, performed a wonderful drill with some fun, modern music (as if Ed Sheeran – Shape Of You, isn’t going to be a hit with the crowd), earning them first place and quadrille champions for 2017!


Emma Booth, 2017 Sydney CDI. © Stephen Mowbray (for use in Emma's blog only)

© Stephen Mowbray

The Grand Prix was as usual, very inspiring to watch. You always come away from watching these top level riders compete feeling as though you want to get straight back in the saddle and start working on those more challenging movements. For the first time this year, there was crowd scoring which was a real hit. On a phone app, the audience was able to give each rider a score that they thought was appropriate. This did not count towards the actual scores but it was great for the audience to see how they scored in relation to the judges, and also I think for the riders to see how their freestyle was interpreted by the audience. There were a number of combinations that performed spectacular Freestyles with wonderful music, but a real obvious stand out for me was Brett Parbery, and it therefore didn’t come as a huge surprise to me that he was the winner of the Grand Prix riding the beautiful DP Weltmieser. He looked so pleased during the presentations and the crowd were really supportive which was so great to see. He had a wonderful ride and it was a truly well-earned win. What a beautiful horse and a beautiful rider.







Back to top. Printable View.