Dressage competition is well and truly alive and kicking as our elite riders pull out all stops to be in contention for the off-again-on-again Tokyo Olympics.
The next best thing to being at the Olympics is watching two Olympians go toe to toe, and that’s what we were treated to at the Boneo Summer Dressage Championships this year. Five-time Australian Olympian Mary Hanna and dual Danish Olympian-turned Aussie Lone Joergensen drew on all their reserves to produce their best amongst the high-flying field at Boneo Park. If you couldn’t be there in person, you would have felt you were if you watched Equestrian Life’s live stream, complete with hoof-by-hoof commentary from another Olympic veteran, Heath Ryan.
Heath, by the way, pays tribute in his Ryan’s Rave column this issue to Di Schaeffer, a force in her own right on the national eventing stage and mother of Atlanta Olympic team gold medal-winner Wendy Schaeffer.
Competitiveness at all levels is as strong as ever, as shown by the enormous interest in Equestrian Life’s Virtual Competitions. Born out of lockdown, the opportunity to be judged by Roger Fitzhardinge and be eligible for fabulous prizes has proven so popular we are continuing the monthly competitions. Read what Megan Bryant says, a regular entrant who won a dream online coaching lesson from Lyndal Oatley.
Another young up-and-comer to watch is showjumper Emily Stirling, who, at 21, is not only an active competitor but an entrepreneur behind Cloroy Park, an exciting enterprise founded on the principles of responsibility that come with loving horses. Running a property as well as continuing to compete can be challenging, but not to Rachael Clarke, who finds herself fully booked at Tarcoola Equestrian Centre.
For the more senior rider, take in Dr Kerry Mack’s positive insights into how to keep on riding into your senior years. With age comes wisdom, she says, as she shares the secrets to making the most of seniority.
While we enjoy this summer, think back a year to when Black Summer was upon us. Devastating as it was, it brought out the best in horse lovers as shown by the remarkable rescue of the orphan horses of Paynes Crossing. Other great summer reads in this issue include the penultimate instalment in the adventures of Carolyn Lieutenant, the story behind the making of the 1983 hit movie Phar Lap, and a look at rare exotic breeds such as the golden Haflingers from Austria and the popular Connemara ponies of Ireland.
Lastly, in our Health section, veterinarian Dr Maxine Brain tackles the sensitive issue of euthanasia of horses, while the nutrition experts at KER reveal how they have turned their popular fish oil supplement into an irresistible taste treat for horses. If only they could do the same for us! EQ
Keep on riding,