The first FEI competition to be held in Australia for 2022 took place over the weekend at Boneo Park in Victoria with the Homes & Acreage Boneo Summer Dressage Championships.
The Championships lived up to their name, with the summer sun shining bright and hot throughout three days of outstanding competition featuring FEI classes, National competition and a CPEDN Program.
The event was not only a welcome return to FEI competition, but under new FEI criteria that permitted the event to use remote international judges to oversee qualification scores, it was also able to count as a qualification event for the ECCO FEI World Championships in Denmark later this year.
The level of competition was exceptionally high given that the combinations have been unable to compete at FEI level for nearly two years due to Covid-19 complications.
Equestrian Australia is currently awaiting final confirmation from the FEI Judges Supervisory Panel (JSP) regarding qualification scores, however based on the scores awarded on the day five Australian combinations achieved the required score to secure half of their Minimum Eligibility Requirement (MER) for the ECCO FEI World Championships.
In order to gain a full MER combinations will need to achieve a second score above 66% at a CDI3/CDI4/CDI5*/CDI-W or CDIO event before the qualification deadline. Full qualification criteria can be found here.
The Australian combinations that achieved the necessary scores, pending JSP approval, are Mary Hanna and Syriana, Jayden Brown and Senator Nymphenburg, Pauline Carnovale and Captain Cooks, Lindsey Ware and Aristede and Kerry Mack and Mayfield Limelight.
Six-time Olympian Mary Hanna and her Westfalen mare Syriana were a force to be reckoned with all weekend winning back-to-back CDI3* classes in the Benleigh Equestrian Grand Prix and Benleigh Equestrian Grand Prix Special, a fantastic start to their competition season.
"(This) was my first International CDI with Syriana in nearly two years. Covid has made it impossible to have these competitions in Australia, so winning the Grand Prix at the Boneo CDI3* with over 71% really means a lot to me," said Mary.
The Homes & Acreage CDI3* Freestyle to Music was won by Jayden Brown and Senator Nymphenburg with a score of 75.170 %. This marked Senator Nymphenburg's debut at Big Tour level and is a promising indication of things to come for the talented combination.
“Rose Deo and Jenny Gerhke’s Senator Nymphenburg was a star and won the class with 75%. I’m incredibly grateful to have been able to train this horse in the world class WillingaPark facilities for the last month so I can fine tune my Grand Prix skills and take this onto my other Grand Prix horses,” said Jayden of the combinations victory.
EA High Performance Dressage Manager, Brett Davey, said the event was a fantastic start to what is an exciting year for Australian dressage.
“It was great to see International dressage back in Australia at Boneo Park over the weekend. With the help and support of the FEI and the Judges Supervisory Panel it was a great opportunity for our Australian based riders to achieve their MER for the World Championships in Herning later this year.
"Despite having very limited competitions in recent times there were some great scores achieved, to put these riders in contention to be part of the team for Herning.”
Full results from the competition can be found here.
Article courtesy of Equestrian Australia