Words courtesy of Equestrian Australia. Photo by Stephen Mobray

Sydney International Three-Day Event opened this morning with the Para-Dressage team test competition as ten combinations entered the arena in the hope of obtaining an FEI Paralympic qualifying score.

The competition marked the first of the International qualifying events for Australian based riders campaigning for Tokyo 2020. It is also the first time that a CPEDI has been run in conjunction with a major international three-day event, allowing Para-Dressage athletes to gain greater exposure to a busy atmosphere and the large crowds that are synonymous with Championship events.

The Sydney CPEDI is the first FEI qualifying event in the Oceania region that will count towards a team ranking on the FEI Paralympic Ranking List, and is the first opportunity for riders to attain their minimum eligibility score of 62% at a CPEDI event, which will put them on the path for potential Paralympic team selection.

The Australian team named at the event consists of Victoria Davies (Grade II), Sarah Sherwood (Grade IV), Matilda Carnegie (Grade VI) and Lisa Martin (Grade V).

The winners after the first day of competition were:

Grade II – Victoria Davies & Celere on 67.78%

Grade IV – Zoe Vorenas & Neversfelde Kipling on 69.84%

Grade V – Lisa Martin & In Time on 68.49%

Incredibly for the Grade IV winning combination Zoe Vorenas and Neversfeld Kipling this is their first competition together. “The test felt pretty good. Obviously we are a very new combination, as I’ve only had Kip for 3 weeks now. I went in wanting to play around and see what he’s like, and he definitely didn’t disappoint!

Tomorrow I can go in and have a little more confidence to ask for some more expression and energy in the paces, but overall, I was very happy, and very overwhelmed with the score. He’s such a generous horse, and I’m so, so excited for tomorrow and the next competition” explains Zoe.

Victoria Davies, who won the Grade II division, is firmly back on the Paralympic trail with her stallion Celere, who was originally purchased as a potential partner for Victoria’s Rio 2016 campaign.

 “I was really happy with my test, he was with me 100%, he loves a crowd so it was good to see there was actually quite a few people in the crowd. This is his first big Para competition, he has only had two starts at Para, usually I do open medium with him.

I bought him 2014 to do the Rio qualifiers, I purchased him in Portugal and he was kept over there so I could do the European qualifiers. Sadly I was diagnosed with a very serious neck and brain condition so I had to withdraw from the qualifiers, that year …we decided to import him back to Australia” explains Victoria.

A full list of results can be found at: http://www.snafflebytes.net/snafflebytes_SS/snafflebytes_dressage_scoring.asp

The competition continues tomorrow with the individual test, commencing at 8:00am in Arena 2 at Sydney International Equestrian Centre.