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News from Vicki

24 August 2010

Things have been pretty quiet on the home front, but plenty going on everywhere else!

Our first Selection Trials for our WEG jumping team happened at Hachenburg CSI 3* in Germany, and 5 riders with their COC's fronted up for the 4 spots available.  Edwina A. has been pre selected on Itot due to their outstanding performances, and Edwina's consitent top 10 ranking, and Amy Graham, despite not being able to obtain her COC with Bella Baloubet, was invited to attend by Australian Selectors and High Performance Panel, as it was thought it would be great experience for her, and give the Selectors a guide to how she was going.  And how well she went!  Recording I believe, her best ever result by being 4th in the Grand Prix.  The horse is still a bit green at this level, so she had 2 time faults in the first round, then clear in the 2nd.  Chugg on Vivant apparently was awesome in all events, looking as they have since arriving in Europe in March, and were 5th in the GP with a super unlucky rail after recording second fastest time.  James P-R and his super stallion Niack de L'Abbaye , already a 4* GP winner this season, was consistent over the 3 classes and 10th in the GP.  Mattie also is showing the experience of now having many miles in Europe, and is making Urleven van de Helle look better at every start.  Paul on Nicklaus were a bit wobbly in the Saturday class, but came back and recorded a good performance with 8 faults in the GP.  Wendy and Sunset also generally on an upward curve, but still a bit green at this level, and needing those solid European miles at the Elite level. It was super that all our guys qualified for the GP out of 70 odd riders! Pity that Harley Brown and Cassiato elected at the last minute not to come, perhaps hoping that his US form would be good enough.  But the High Performance Panel have now set this very fair system in place, and even the US riders have had to come to Europe to be eligible to be selected into their team, so there is no reason why Harley should not have made the trip if he wished to be on the team.  All interest now on the second of the Selection shows, the 4* CSI at Paderborn, which will be a little tougher again.

Closer to home, there has been plenty of media coverage on the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore, with Tom McDermott doing us proud as the Aussie representative.  He was part of the Australasian Team that won the Silver Medal in the Nations Cup class, and recorded one of only 7 clears in the first round of the Individual Final.  Fingers and toes crossed for the second round!  Whatever, Tom has impressed all with his outstanding ability and demeanour.

We also had our winter National Jumping meeting last week, and came to a few monumental decisions which we hope will improve the standard of the sport in Australia.  By Jan 2012 we will phase out the Grading system, and just go purely with heights and divisions, such as Junior, Young Rider, Amateur, Young Horse, which is pretty much how the sport has been evolving here, it was just a matter of fine tuning prize money break ups and making workable divisions within the heights.  With a bit of luck by then, we will have a national IT system in place whereby as in Europe, performances are recorded on a data base for such things as Royal Shows etc.  Also, effective immediately, 5 year old and younger horses will not be allowed to start in classes over 1.25 in height.  It has come to our attention that a lot of these purpose bred young horses, that are much later maturers than thoroughbreds, are doing far more than they are ready for at the early stage of their lives.  A good jumper's career can normally span around 10 years or more, with generally around 3 to 4 years of competition before they are ready for Grand Prix level, so it would be nice to see some of these beautifully bred and promising young horses paced a bit more carefully. Following on from this we have revised Futurity rules to have amongst other things, a minimum level of prizemoney, and are only eligible for horses 6 years and over. There will now be compulsory discs to be worn by stallions, plus Stallion Safe Practices Guidelines to be implemented.  Also we have finally nutted out Practise Arena Protocols which will be applied this year. And we farewelled Isobel Casey, the Tasmanian rep who has served out her time on the Committee, but has been a much valued member putting into place,amongst other things, the National Young Rider squad.

And what fun Sophie Miller's 18th birthday party was!  I barely recognized all these skinny, gorgeous girls that I only see in riding outfits teetering along on enormously high heels, and I felt positively elaphantine beside them, aside from having to look up at Sophie while i made a speech for her, recalling that I could look down on her very easily when she first started riding with me!  But a great bunch of kids who had a great night... well i did anyway..

Very excited to be picking up  Kartoon, Carrus and Casino tomorrow morning.  Watch this space for their progress...

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