Australia's most prestigious international dressage event, the OTTO SPORT AUSTRALIA Sydney CDI3*, is due to begin at Sydney International Equestrian Centre (SIEC) this week.
The event attracts the cream of the nation's dressage riders and horses - as well as formidable competition from across the ditch – every year to the western Sydney venue, and will take place this year from May 1 to 4.
The 2019 event has received the highest number of entries to date, with 85 horses entered across the CDI 3*, CDI U25, CDI-Y, CDI-J, CDI-P competitions. This is a first for a dressage event held in the Australasian region and demonstrates the growth and popularity of the sport.
The event's Grand Prix ranks had a turn around after the World Equestrian Games in Tryon in 2018 and organisers are excited to see a strong field of 22 horses competing in the OTTO SPORT AUSTRALIA CDI Grand Prix.
Among the competitors in the Grand Prix this year is highly successful New Zealander, Wendi Williamson, who will also be the young horse guest rider.
Williamson travels to Sydney fresh from her win in the Grand Prix event at the CDI3* Horse of the Year show in her home country, and will bring with her 11-year-old Grand Prix horse, Don Amour MH to compete.
She will put the nation's top four-, five-, six- and seven-year-old dressage horses through their paces, then provide a commentary on each for the audience on Saturday afternoon.
Australian Olympian and current Sydney CDI Grand Prix Freestyle record holder, Ricky MacMillan, is Ground Jury President at this year's event and said the prestigious show holds many wonderful memories for her.
“I've always enjoyed Sydney CDI. As the first Australian international dressage event it has a special place amongst my favourite shows,” she said.
“The organisation is always outstanding and it's so special to be at a show at the Sydney 2000 venue, which was also my first Olympics.”
As Ground Jury President, MacMillan will occupy one of the best seats in the house, and is responsible for what occurs in the arena during each competition.
“Dressage is judged by a panel of judges sitting at different positions around the arena, assessing from each separate viewing point, movement after movement of the test, performed by every horse and rider,” she explained.
“The assessment is made according to the FEI sport rules, and also guidelines published from time to time and laid out in the handbook. One judge will be the President of each panel and will sit at the centrally placed judges table, at the letter "C" at the top of the arena, and be responsible for what occurs in the arena during each competition, in particular keeping the competition on time and making decisions about the correctness according to the rules.
“This judge also signs off on the overall results and later calls any necessary meetings of the judges to discuss the assessments. The Event President sits at the central table for the highest level competition and also has responsibility for the Fitness Inspection and the competition draws as well as about matters that might come up during the show and acting as a spokesperson for the judging team when required.
“I enjoy judging from C but then all of the judges tables provide what has to called "the best seats in the house".”
Tickets for the event have already gone on sale, and seats for the ever-popular Saturday evening Grand Prix Freestyle to Music event are selling out fast.
Before the Saturday evening freestyle highlight is a demonstration by the Agility Dog Club of NSW in the main arena, starting at 7pm.
And of course the OTTO SPORT AUSTRALIA Sydney CDI shopping village which has become synonymous with quality and variety over the years will be open for business from Thursday to Saturday inclusive next to the indoor arena and surrounding areas.
Tickets for the event can be purchased from the entrance on the day.
For more information about the event, visit the event website at: www.sydneycdi.com
Information on OTTO SPORT AUSTRALIA: http://www.bsmsportequestrian.com.au/ottosport/