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BLOG: Para riders in action at the Sydney CDI

Emma Booth and Zidane, 2018 Sydney CDI - © Emma Booth Para Equestrian Facebook page

Emma Booth and Zidane, 2018 Sydney CDI.

© Emma Booth Para Equestrian Facebook page


By Emma Booth

Well that’s the Sydney CDI done and dusted for another year, and what a spectacular event it was. This was only Zidane’s second major event back post colic surgery last year and wow, what a performance he put in! To take out overall Grade III para Champion was one thing, but to also bring home huge scores well above our target score for the World Equestrian Games in September, and to then finish off the week on a super high to get 76.1% in our Freestyle was just amazing! To say I was thrilled with my special boy would be an understatement. We are home and recovering from a big week and now looking ahead to the next event in the hope of selection for WEG in Tryon.


Zidane on his way to the Sydney CDI!

© Emma Booth Para Equestrian Facebook page

It is always so incredible when sponsors such as Commins Hendricks Solicitors sponsor the para classes, because without this support they wouldn’t be possible and holding selection events towards WEG would be extremely difficult. I must say it was slightly disappointing to see the numbers in the para classes drop rather significantly from the Boneo CDI in January, in which we had over 22 para entries, compared to the Sydney CDI where there were only 7 riders. Now, I might be out of place in saying this, but it is difficult enough getting large events to run para classes, so when they do and we then have rather low numbers, it’s not a great result. Of course riders can only do what they can do, and the travel for some is too much, but it is in our own best interest to support the events that hold para classes to ensure their place in the future.


Enjoying a break away from the competition arena!

© Emma Booth Para Equestrian Facebook page

I am pleased however to say that those riders that did attend had a wonderful week and managed some rather successful results. Victoria Davies gained an extra qualifying score towards WEG, getting above the 68% with a competitive 69% in her Grade II Team Test, and also rode a super Freestyle to get a huge score of over 72%.

Dale Johnson rode in the Grade III class coming second in all three tests. He is always such a delight to be around and adds an extremely positive and supportive vibe to the para community.

Unfortunately Sharon Jarvis was unable to attend this selection event due to horse illness but they are on the mend and have their sights set on the next selection event, to be held at the NSW Youth Dressage Championships at SIEC in July. These two are a strong combination with a bright future ahead. They competed in Rio and Sharon’s horse, Ceasy, was still rather young and green, but with that exposure under their belt and hopefully the WEG experience as well, they will surely be a strong combination going into the next Paralympics in Tokyo, 2020.


Emma and Zidane in action at the Sydney CDI.

© Emma Booth Para Equestrian Facebook page

Matilda Carnegie, Sarah Sherwood, Phoebe Roche and Kaye Hannan all rode strong tests in the FEI Grade IV class. There were some tight results and fights for that blue ribbon but it was Tilda Carnegie on her lovely mount Quebec 51 that took out overall Grade IV Champion!

As I’ve said, there were some very pleasing results from the para riders at Sydney, however the goal of the High Performance team is to get two medals at the Paralympics in Tokyo. Now are these scores competitive enough? I think we still have a little way to go. How can we improve on these? For me there are a few combinations that are definitely “podium potential”, but it is in our best interest to send these riders and horses to WEG to gain that international exposure and experience that other combinations from other countries (Great Britain for example) already have. How can we be super competitive if we aren’t getting our Australian combinations out there and amongst the environment of a world stage, or in front of the international judges, and against the other top competitors from each grade? In my opinion, this WEG exposure is going to make us stronger contenders for medals at Tokyo. So regardless of if our riders scores are considered to be medal contending for WEG now, if we look at the bigger picture and ask ourselves, is this exposure going to enhance these combinations towards the podium for Tokyo? I really believe so.


Emma, Zidane and coach Lone Jörgensen.

© Emma Booth Para Equestrian Facebook page

There are still two selection events left in Australia, so let’s wait and see what our para riders can do before the team is announced in July. Go get ‘em guys!!!





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