From Clayton Fredericks to Jess Manson, and from Chris Burton to Megan Jones, it seemed as if the whole of the Australian equestrian community had gathered to watch the best of the best on the banks of the Swan River. Eventing in the Park 2014 was held at Taylor Reserve in Victoria Park in front of a picturesque city and under glorious blue skies. With a perfect temperature of about 30 degrees, the elite equestrian competition was enjoyed by many. Whether you had tickets into a fancy lounge or you simply had general admission tickets, the day was special.
The prizes consisted of cars, jewellery and very, very generous vouchers. The prizes were provided by Shacks Holden, Solid Gold Diamonds, Horseland, Southern Stars, Kentaur, Saddles Plus and Off the Track among other generous sponsors. There were two classes; the Diamond class (1.05m) and the Grand Prix class (1.15m). To place in such a prestigious event is a dream of many people including myself. I rode my one and only trusty steed, Macca, there is no other horse I would rather compete with! Riders were asked to complete a course of obstacles which were a mix of show jumping and cross country obstacles. They were asked to do this clear of penalties and in an optimum time. Riders such as Clayton Fredericks and Chris Burton were able to do this, and in doing so where the eventual winners of each class and a brand new car each. With the addition of a water jump this year, there were many troubles, as well as the addition of a quadruple (4 jumps in a row) into the Grand Prix class. However, the riders which were able to overcome these obstacles generally placed, and can be described as an elite eventing rider.
As a young rider and riding at Eventing in the Park for a second consecutive year, I feel as if it is one of the greatest events that I have ridden at. Organised by people you know from the eventing scene anyway, and to be judged by the one and only Kerrie Robbins, makes riding in such a large and daunting event a breeze. Kerrie was always around to answer any questions of the riders and to help anyone with any issue. It is also very scary for some people and very thrilling for others to ride in such an atmosphere where you are constantly being talked about, and constantly being looked at. Personally, I wouldn’t have done it with none other than my best friend, Macca. Thank you to the Hickson family for giving me this opportunity.
Riding alongside Olympians and very notable equestrian athletes meant that many people had the chance to meet them. I was lucky enough to meet Clayton Fredericks who is an outstanding event rider and at one point in his career was the top event rider in the world. Other riders that made the trip over to WA for the big event included Chris Burton, Megan Jones, Jock Paget (NZ), Clark Johnstone (NZ) and Christine Bates. Some of our ‘home grown’ stars also competed including Sonja Johnson and Adelaide golden girl Jess Manson. Along with these riders, the other positions were filled with keen local riders who rode their way to some very successful placings.
If you ever get the opportunity watch or to ride in this event, I strongly recommend you take it as it is a fun day out for all. Amongst all the glitz and glamour, you can find the WA equestrian community working tirelessly to run a successful event for not only riders, but spectators too. I would most definitely not have enough space to list all of the people who worked incredibly hard to make this event happen, and so a BIG thankyou goes out to everyone for making such a wonderful day run so smoothly and for accommodating riders, spectators and everyone in between so easily. Bring on Eventing in the Park 2015!
by Hayley Hardwick
Photos of the 2014 event by Redfoto
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