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Horseware Australia and Equestrian Tasmania State Championships 2017

Miss Moneypenny ridden by Alison Watson - Photo credit Melissa Lee Stone Photography

Miss Moneypenny ridden by Alison Watson.

© Melissa Lee Stone Photography


By Mim Coleman

There is nothing quite like the build up to a major State Championship from all aspects of the event. But especially the WEATHER. The day forecast gave all involved great hope and the sunrise over the immaculately prepared competition arenas at the Tasmanian Equestrian Centre was spectacular.


Sunrise over arena - Photo credit Mim Coleman

Sunrise over misty arenas.

© momentsbymimc


Rising Mist over Equestrian Centre - Photo Credit Alison Watson

Mist rising over the equestrian centre.

© Alison Watson


The competitors found their yards and started their preparations which in most cases included a coffee from Double Shot coffee van. They also had the opportunity to support the sponsors who set up in the “Marquee Mall”. It was fantastic to see naming rights sponsor Horseware Australia in the state, joined by Rocktape Australia, Back on Track, Hi Form, Equissage Australia and Koolglow. The event’s Diamond Sponsor Irrigation Tasmania was in force as their expertise and equipment provided the watering system to each of the 4 arenas giving the best possible riding conditions for the riders.

Out on the grassed warm-up area there were many strategic seats for spectators to enjoy the spectacle of gleaming horses, beautifully turned out riders and their support crew.

Following the “traditional” event format, Day 1 saw 4 arenas run all day for the Preliminary, Elementary, Advanced, Inter 1, Inter A, Inter II, Restricted Preliminary AND Freestyle classes. Phew, it was an action packed program. Day 2 was the suite of Novice tests, Medium, PSG, Inter B and the Grand Prix, plus Freestyles to round off a great weekend. You will find the results on the Equestrian Tasmania website.



The vibe for the entire weekend was of great positivity and camaraderie. The Young Rider program that has been in play for many years now under the guidance of Jill Schwartz is bearing fruit. The Juniors and Young Riders were an absolute delight to watch and be among. The support they show for each other, their concentration in the warm-up and focus in the test should put many of the adults on notice. The future of dressage in Tasmania is looking incredibly bright. I would like to mention young Chloe Daun riding Ahlam Zahra; at the age of 9, Chloe prepared her own horse, tacked up, warmed up, remembered 2 tests, rode in the same class with Young Riders and adults — and gave them all a run for their ribbons! One to watch for the future.


The Best of Friends Lara Baker-Condon, Caitlin Radford and Jordan Gale - Photo Credit Amanda Baker

The best of friends! Young Riders Lara Baker, Caitlin Radford and Jordan Gale.

© Amanda Baker


Mid morning and there was a rumble that could be heard. Was it thunder? Couldn’t possibly be. There was a sky of blue nothingness and Autumn sun that warmed you right through. More rumble and a vibration could be felt through the ground. It was a herd of Mustangs that had arrived to be corralled at the event. On display for all to enjoy. For the first time in Tasmania and possibly Australia, the Mustang Owners Association joined us for a Horse Power display like no other! Four wheels and V8 engines spanning generations of the Ford Motor Company joining forces with the equine horsepower in the arenas. It was a brilliant display and there were a number of Mustang fans young and old who ‘ooooed’ and ‘aaaahed’ over the cars. All of the Mustang owners were an absolute delight and were equally interested in the event, with many staying to watch the Freestyle event late Sunday afternoon. Thank you so much Dave and your wonderful members, we hope that we can join forces again!


Lara Baker-Condon and her striking black mare Celestial Aurora - Amanda Baker

Lara Baker-Condon and her striking black mare Celestial Aurora, standing alongside one of the Mustangs.

© Melissa Lee Stone Photography


Photo credit Mim Coleman

Some of the Mustangs on display at the event.

© momentsbymimc

Dave Ross and Hamish, after Hamish has a ride in Dave’s Mustang!


Back to the horses. For the first time in many years we were blessed with a competitor in EVERY class from Preliminary right through to Grand Prix. The FEI classes saw the greatest numbers in many years as the combinations start pushing through the levels. It’s an indication of how healthy, vibrant and well supported the sport is. This would not happen otherwise. This is evidenced by the Judge education programs in place, Young Rider Programs, Inter-schools, Coach education programs, a healthy competition season, hard working volunteers, coaches upgrading, new coaches, and Interstate and International coaches visiting to lift everyone’s skills and knowledge. Tassie has it all going on!

In the 4 and 5 year old Young Horse classes both had very small fields. However, what they lacked in quantity they made up for in quality. In the 4 year old, we had a Young Rider Sarah Beltz on Just an Enigma joined by Mandy Parson on her own-bred LBA Sabine.

In the 5 year old, Zara Gudnason’s Ben Hur (because he is bigger than...) scored a very promising result. Mandy Parsons also had another Young Horse, LBA Zhia, in this class who also achieved a promising score.

It was wonderful to see Sheelagh Beech’s Landstein make a return in the Big Tour ring after a short break. This stunning grey gelding and his elegant rider make the most beautiful picture of unity. Equally stunning is the statuesque Splendido who made his debut in the Big Tour and showed he has so much scope and talent for an exciting Grand Prix career. Bred in Tasmania, and trained by a Tasmanian rider and coach Lydia Jackson, this is one example of many Tasmanian rider/owner/breeder success stories.

Somehow this amazing Organising Committee found the energy to run a Restricted Preliminary and Novice Championship as well.  A special mention to Rachel Deal and Dragon Fire. In 2016 they won the Restricted Preliminary Championship and backed that up with a win in the Restricted Novice Championship this year. Gertie Nijborg and Campari Soda competed in the Restricted Novice in 2016 and this year stepped into the bigger pond of the Official Elementary and finished in the placings.


Kooinda Saint ridden by Michelle Miilne - Photo Credit Melissa Lee Stone Photography

Kooinda Saint ridden by Michelle Miilne.

© Melissa Lee Stone Photography

The ground jury included esteemed judges Lesley Sullivan, Sue Bright, Luciano D’Elia and Adam Riess who flew in on Friday afternoon. They were joined by Tasmanian judges Bernadette Gibson, Jenny Laird, Sue Lamont, Sandra Sloane, Susan McDermott, Anthea Austin and Anita Schouten. The event was also able to boast an International Steward. Suzanne Betts officiated over the weekend and shared her insights and tricks of the trade with the organising the committee. The lanyard with the list of all the key contacts and their phone numbers was a life saver for Event Runner Mim Coleman.

At the end of each day the presentations were abuzz. The Crooked Halt bar was in full swing serving sparkling and wine exclusively from Ninth Island, a Tasmanian vineyard that generously offered their vintages at prices not offered to many. T42, a local restaurant and bar on Hobart’s waterfront, helped make it happen. I think by the number of empty bottles at the end of each day the competitors, supporters, sponsors and volunteers also thanked Ninth Island.

Congratulations to all the riders and their best friends: their horses.

Congratulations to the volunteers for your incredible generosity. The number of sports around the world that are operated by volunteers is staggering. There must be something in it for so many to offer their time and expertise for nothing. Dressage Tasmania is very grateful for your tireless support.

I could write for weeks about all of the amazing combinations, each of them with their own special story. A story of battle, adversity, joy, friendship, strength, learnings, challenges and more. But those stories are for them to tell in their own time in their own way.

I will let the images taken by Event Photographer Melissa Stone tell the story of truly how blessed we are to offer such events and compete at them.


I will end this report acknowledging the sponsors. Their support is what makes the event possible. There were rider’s bags heaving with goodies, including the inaugural stable plaque, all because of the sponsors. There were incredible prizes for the top 3 placegetters all provided by the sponsors. Cash sponsorships afforded the committee to invest in infrastructure, provide beautiful rosettes to 8th place and lucky dip prizes too. Glen from Double Shot coffee, who kept us all energised, donated $50 to be awarded to the most improved competitor over the weekend. It was the final task for the panel of judges and they agreed that Mandy Parsons should receive the award. Mandy is a great competitor and ambassador for the sport. Mandy has bred, started and trained all of the horses that she competes and does so with great success. Well done Mandy!

From kindness comes kindness. Be kind.

Brought to you by: wordsbymimc

You can read more on the Equestrian Tasmania website.


Tassie Dressage Champs - © Melissa Lee Stone Photography

A young rider in action.

© Melissa Lee Stone Photography




Back on Track Australia

Clarence City Council


HiForm Australia

Kool Glow

Pryde's Easifeed

Rocktape Australia


County Saddlery QLD


Feed XL

Flexible Fit

Horseland Hobart


International Animal Health

Kohnke's Own






Unique Topiary

Rebecca White MP

TP Jones and Co


Alinda Park Stud
Country Park Herbs
Donnybrook Equine
Dressage Selections
Fairfield Stud
Horse Deals
Mal Byrne Saddlery
Melissa Stone Photography
The NRG Team
Peter Williams/Horzehoods
Tasmanian Equine Solutions






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