After almost two years of disruptions to FEI level competition, Australian-based dressage combinations were able to take to the arena once more at the Homes & Acreage Boneo Park Summer Dressage Championships on the weekend.
Australia’s hard border has made it almost impossible for CDI competitions to be held due to the difficulty in securing overseas judges since the pandemic began in 2020.
But a format change at Boneo saw the event count as a welcome qualifier towards the 2022 World Championships, after the FEI granted an exemption to allow the Judges Supervisory Panel to remotely oversee the scoring to allow test to count towards minimum eligibility requirements.
Six-time Olympian Mary Hanna riding Syriana produced a consistent test despite a mistake in the one time changes to score 71.022% in the Benleigh Equestrian Grand Prix CDI3*.
Jayden Brown on Senator Nymphenburg finished on the same score but was awarded second place on a count back, while New Zealand’s John Thompson and Chemistry finished on 69.957% to take third.
Results were tight in the Special but Hanna again took first place with a score of 69.787%. Second went to John Thompson and Chemistry on 69.638% with Jayden Brown and Senator Nymphenburg finishing third on 68.744%.
In the Homes and Acreage Grand Prix Freestyle it was Jayden Brown’s turn to take top honours, scoring 75.310% on Senator Nymphenburg ahead of John Thompson’s 74.090% on Chemistry.
Lindsey Ware and Aristede rode to third place on 71.485%.
Equestrian Australia High Performance Dressage Manager Brett Davey said the event was a fantastic start to an exciting year for Australian dressage.
“It was great to see International dressage back in Australia at Boneo Park over the weekend,” he said.
“With the help and support of the FEI and the Judges Supervisory Panel it was a great opportunity for our Australian based riders to achieve their MER for the World Championships in Herning later this year.
“Despite having very limited competitions in recent times there were some great scores achieved, to put these riders in contention to be part of the team for Herning.”
The Leader Equine Junior Individual was won by Jessica Dertell on Gladstone M H on 71.618%, while Lucy Coventry and Quizzical finished second on 67.059%. Taleah Cameron and Equine Affair Blackjack were third on 64.951%.
The Junior placings remained the same for the Leader Equine Freestyle, with Jessica Dertell scoring 74.525%.
Mary Nitschke and Utopian Cardinal won the under 25 Kyros Family Grand Prix on 68.932%, with Jessica Dertell and Eskara De Jeu in second on 66.581% and Sienna Hawkins and Tallyho Something Special third with 63.932%.
The under 25 Kyros Family Grand Prix Freestyle was again won by Jessica Dertell on Eskara De Jeu on 72.550%. Mary Nitschke and Utopian Cardinal placed second on 72.058% and Kelsey Josephs and Irock, third on 67.592%.
The championships was also scheduled to be the first international level Para-Equestrian competition in nearly two years, but EA High Performance and Boneo Park made the decision to postpone due to the escalating number of coronavirus cases.
The competition was set to be a World Championship qualifier but was instead replaced with a national level CPEDN program, with the CPEDI3* to be held instead at the Boneo Park Autumn Dressage Championships in March.
Feature Image: Jayden Brown, James Abernethy Photography.