Mildura Horse Trials has grown from an event originally organized as a year 12 project in 2006, to become the perfect training ground for young riders and Olympic horses right here in sunny Mildura.
So what is a horse trial? It’s actually called Eventing and is an equestrian discipline where horses and riders are challenged over three events or phases, the first being Dressage where the horse is required to collect its strength and perform movements with grace and precision around a Dressage arena. It’s a bit like asking a 500 kg animal to perform ballet.
The next event is the show jumping, where the horses need to be agile and flexible to jump a course of jumps in a confined area without knocking any rails down in a tight fast sequence.
The last event is the most challenging, it’s the cross country phase, where horses and their riders must be fit, athletic and very brave to Jump a course of solid jumps over a large area, up hills, through water and dodging the odd kangaroo, while also maintaining a good speed. The rider must manage the horse’s effort and pace throughout the three phases, as they are assessed by a vet for their fitness and recovery times at the end of the cross country phase.
I had the opportunity to speak to the organizer of the event Bridget Tinker, who's dedication has been the catalyst for the events success. "I first organised the event as part of my equine studies in year 12, and its grown from there into a great venue for training young horses and for young riders to gain experience in a relaxed atmosphere on a well designed course", Miss Tinker said.
We spoke to two competitors at the event, Megan Jones Olympic silver medalist and Ardella Riviera international competitor visiting from the US.
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