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Australia and Eventing in the Park

I've just returned from a really fun, albeit pretty fleeting, trip to Western Australia.  Growing up we often had Australian riders based with us so I've always felt a strong afiliation (aged about 8 I used to gallop around on my pony in an Akubra hat cracking a bull whip terrorising the local dairy farmers' cows) although this trip was my first visit.


I was invited out there to compete in a showcase event in the centre of Perth called Eventing in the Park. It's a mix of cross country and show jumping and draws a pretty healthy crowd from Perth, largely of city folk who wouldn't otherwise have an introduction to the sport. The course was fairly inventive and quite tough with some difficult show jumping lines mixed into a 2* cross country track. The prizes were pretty serious with a car going to the winner and some diamonds to the runner up. 


I was lent some great horses for the day. The first two were game but out of practice - the owner said they hadn't jumped a fence for a while and had just been used as riding school horses on the flat, I asked what she meant by a while and she said about 8 months! Both turned out to be little rockets and flew around quite an intense course. One of the horses was 15.1hh so I felt like I was doing a pony class! It was very generous of the horses' owners to lend them and give so much support.

The spectators really entered into it and there was a real party atmosphere; with prizes of diamonds from the sponsor to the best dressed it was a pretty glamerous turnout. 


While I was there I also did a few days of teaching. Although Western Australia is geographically removed from most of the eventing on the east coast, there is a very healthy evening community there and a real appetite for learning. I thoroughly enjoyed my time out there, met some of the nicest people and was very sorry to have to leave so soon.


When I got home I visited William and Alice Fox-Pitt. It was wonderful to see William looking so well having made such huge progress over the past few months.


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