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2008 National Young Rider & Pony Dressage Championships

I attended the Wednesday of this event and was extremely impressed with many of the ponies that I saw. Sincere congratulations to all pony riders that took part and I certainly hope you enjoyed the event.


The new Victorian CEO, Jackie Woodhead runs an extremely professional event. Days filled with interesting educational seminars, lots of trade stands to poke around in plus the horses and ponies to watch of course. The night time entertainment included some great freestyles and FEI competition.


It was good to see so many horses and ponies entered from interstate with a handful coming from as far away as Nanango in Queensland. Corby Cunnington (former Committee member of the ASPR) made the 4 day trip to Werribee with a 3 pony team in tow. The Connemara gelding Noweddie Nicholas won the National YR Preliminary Pony Championship for his rider Jazmin Carroll. The 20 year old 1st Premium mare, Appley Dappley, showing that age (and distance!) is absolutely no barrier won the National YR Elementary Pony Championship with the other member of the team, the 1st Premium stallion, Rahane Caleb (owned by Colin & Jackie Clark of Rahane Pastoral Co) taking out Reserve. On Thursday Caleb competed against all the big boys to take out the National Young Rider Medium Championship.  From Medium upwards, YR ponies compete against YR horses as there are not enough pony numbers to have separate classes. It is worth noting that a pony, Cimarron Bright Lad won both the National YR Medium and Advanced championships last year  -  and who said ponies can’t compete against big horses!!


I had the pleasure of watching both Appley and Caleb in their Elementary tests on the Wednesday and must say I was very impressed with both ponies. Appley worked foot perfect in her Elementary tests and looked as though she could almost have performed the test all by herself without any input from her very neat  rider, Jessica Ryan. As a side note, at the National Pony Club dressage titles held in 2007 in Toowoomba, Qld, Appley won all 3 of her Elementary tests and was crowned National Associate Dressage Champion. She also won a Silver Medal in the teams event. At the 2007 PCAQ State Titles, Appley was ridden by Lisel’s younger sister Lia and won a Silver Medal in Dressage.


Rahane Caleb, although making a few little errors but a stand out mover has a huge ground covering trot and the most uphill canter on a pony I have seen for a long time. Very ably ridden by Corby’s daughter, Lisel Dingley, he displayed the swing and looseness through the back that is so lacking in many ponies.


With plans to stand Caleb at stud via chilled AI, I can see many mare owners lining up to take advantage of his services, a truly beautiful up to height Welsh B stallion who has also won many champions in the showring as well.


‘Local’ pony Waveleigh Super Nova, owned by Chris and Gary Hartigan and beautifully ridden by Sally Stelling performed extremely well in the Open Medium Pony tests to take home the Reserve Champion Medium Pony Award on the Wednesday.


On Thursday 1st Premium stallion, Barnon Imperial Jack took out Reserve Champion Open Medium Pony. Norm again did a wonderful job on riding two ponies plus ‘supervising’ the other riders in ‘Team Tatura’. The man is truly amazing with his never ending patience and dedication to his ponies and horses. ‘Team Tatura’ also included Norm’s lovely warmblood stallion, AJ Maximus, taking a short break from his showjumping career. Max was ridden by young Amy Cleland in the YR Novice section and for their first outing in dressage as a combination, scored very well in both tests.


Young member Sophie Whitworth and her Performance Club pony Zachariah Silver Royal teamed up with Emma Copley and Imperial Corona to win the national Pas de Deux freestyle.  Very well done to the pair of them!


With the breadth of talent shown in both ponies and the riders in the Young Rider pony sections, Pony Dressage in Australia will certainly proceed ahead in leaps and bounds over the next few years.

Credit MK Photos

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