New Zealand rider triumphant in Australia
May 7, 2019
An inter-school equestrian team has placed eleventh out of 15 on borrowed horses in an Australian competition, with one rider first in her class.
This is the first year Equestrian Sports New Zealand sent a team to the Tintern Grammar 19th Annual Victorian Inter-School Horse Trials Championships, held at Wandin Park, Victoria April 27-28..
Brittany Fowler, 17, Rosa Ellingham, 16, Alyssa Harrison, 16, Ella Rutherford, 15, and Chef d’Equipe, Libby Rayner, left for Melbourne on Apri l24 for five days of training and competition on borrowed horses.
Fowler won the International Challenge EvA95 class on Grand Armour. Rutherford on Yoicks Vegas placed 8th, Ellingham on Equine Affair Enchanted 11th, and Harrison on Cooperite Frank was last.
Fowler, a member of View Hill pony club in Canterbury, said she was initially overwhelmed to be chosen for the team. “I think I was trying to hold the tears back a little.”
She was pleased with her win and said the trip was unforgettable. “The people were so lovely and included us into their big family,” she said. “I have made friends for life!”
They had only a few hours on their borrowed mounts before competing, which Fowler said was her biggest challenge. “I think if we had an extra day or two the scores could have been even better.”
Equestrian Australia rules prevented riders on borrowed horses competing in the cross country for safety reasons. The team instead spent the first two days in cross country lessons at the Wandin course with Will Enzinger, a Generation Next High Performance coach for Equestrian Australia.
Foreign riders rode a level below their competition level at home,so the team jumped a 95cm fence on unfamiliar horses.
All four riders successfully completed their show jumping rounds on the last day. Fowler’s clear round moved her from second, with a dressage score of 73.9, to first place to claim the individual title for her section.
Fowler said, “I was very happy with how I went individually considering when I had the first ride on Archie it was quite a challenge in dressage”, and to jump clear “was a great way to end the competition”.
Libby Rayner, who acted as coach and manager, said it was “a real privilege” to attend as the Australian interschool framework held more opportunities than at home.
The Australian teams were riding their own horses and prevailed in the team placings. New Zealand placed 11th, narrowly beating team Hong Kong.
Rayner: “We were pleased to have finished above Hong Kong, but knew it would be extremely challenging to beat the Aussies on their own horses at their championship event [for which] they had been prepping for months.”
She was impressed by the hosts’ support, and the “stunning” venue. Having accompanied a team to a similar Australian event last year, she remained an advocate for the benefits of overseas competition.
“The experience alone of representing your country is not something that can be emulated. It is a privilege and an honour and something you have for life.”