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Posted by Equestrian Queensland on 18/02/2019.

Major Step Forward for Driving in Queensland at Mt Walker

South Burnett Equestrian Group Driving Day
Mt Walker Driving Grounds
3rd February 2019

The first weekend in February saw a major step forward for EA Driving in Queensland, with the running of a Dressage and Cones Driving day at Mt Walker near Ipswich.

Maxine and Tony Laing have constructed a beautifully grassed and irrigated 100m x 40m dressage arena on their property, a pleasure to drive on, and very picturesque with Mt Walker in the background. Places were restricted to 20 dressage tests, which filled quickly.  

Renowned International dressage judge Mary Seefried officiated for the dressage on this day, giving participants quality feedback and encouragement.  Drivers chose between four tests, which the organising committee are planning to use repeatedly through 2019. The tests were an Intro test for new drivers or horses/ponies, the EA Novice 2 test, and then the international level tests, FEI 1*A and 2*A.  While many drivers chose to do the Intro test, there were four Novice tests, three 1* tests and two 2* tests performed on the day, giving a spectacle for those watching and learning.

The dressage tests for the ponies under 120cm were performed in a 60m x 20m arena, allowing the small ones the same opportunity to develop bend through the body that the bigger ponies and horses have the opportunity to show, in their 100m x 40m arena.

Seefried was pleasantly surprised by the standard of dressage on the day.  ‘Overall, standards are improving, from Intro level to the FEI levels, with more drivers feeling confident to have a go at the more difficult tests. I can see the results of correct training and correct coaching coming through, especially the attention the drivers paid to correct flexion and bend.’

‘Having the small ponies work in the smaller arena helps the drivers to get a better idea of the need to keep the tempo, momentum and get a feel for the dimensions of the arena as well as paying attention to the training scale such as contact and suppleness (bending correctly).’

The Dressage was dominated by the pair combinations Ohio and Rosie, and the Carbery Estate bred Cato and Chino, both driven impeccably by Tor Van Den Berg, scoring in the 70’s (%).  The pair of Chino and Cato performed the FEI 2* test, scoring a mammoth 75. 3%.

 Winner of Class 1C, ‘Trevor’ owned and driven by Sally Sagar

Van Den Berg described the grounds and dressage arena as being one of the best in Australia for Driving, stating that ‘we are very lucky to have an arena of such a high standard at our back door, and the horses loved it’.  He went on to say that the holding training events like this one, was very important to the development of the sport and the divers, and hopes that many more are held in the future.  He also thanked Maxisoy for their kind sponsorship of the event, as well as Maxine and Tony for the standard of the arena and grounds  Furthermore, Van Den Berg was pleased to see such an experienced judge (Mary Seefried) judging, and thanked her for her valuable feedback. Last but not least, he thanked Corby Cunnington and the SBEG members for holding the event and for its efficient running.

Two cones courses were on offer, one of 400m length and one of 700m. Participants could choose their course, as well as choosing the speed they wanted to drive at, from 100m/min to the usual competition speed of 250m/min, giving every driver a chance to be successful.  Although some competitors scored very low cones penalty numbers, it became clear that being able to rate your speed was often even more important than keeping the balls up on the cones.

‘The expansive course contained element, such as switchbacks and challenging angles, that tested even the more experienced drivers.  Drivers need to be able to identify those elements with a higher degree of difficulty and treat them with respect.  All in all, the day was a very positive one for the future of Driving in Queensland’, reported Cones Judge David Rozynski, of Toowoomba, himself an International level 2* driver.

 Koora-Lyn Blue Print and Corby Cunnington on the superb irrigated dressage arena at the Mt Walker grounds

The results for the day follow this article.  A Driving Dressage training day is being held back at Mt Walker on Easter Monday, with input from Bob Edwards (EA Driving coach), Tor Van Den Berg and Irene Bakels-Noreen (EA coach who drove in her younger days.  Showing the interest there is in Driving at the moment in Queensland, all places available in this clinic filled in less than 24 hours.

The organising committee (South Burnett Equestrian Group) hopes to hold another event the last Sunday in March at the Goombungee Showgrounds, as well as a World Cup-style Indoor format on the first Sunday in May at the Gatton Indoor arena, during the running of the Clydesdale and Heavy Horse Field Day.  Mark your calendars and hang on to your hats for this exciting spectator event! All events will be listed on under the Carriage Driving heading.

 Tor Van Den Berg and his stunning pair, winners of both their classes.


Intro Dressage Test Results

1st Sally Sagar, Trevor, 68.4%
2nd Yohanna Cook, Millicent, 67.5%
3rd Yohanna Cook, Nilton Myfen, 67.2%
4th Joanne Reid, Tyson, 65.3%
5th Karen Hircock, Shadow, 63.4%

Novice Dressage Results
1st Patricia Nolan, Pocket Rocket, 66.9%
2nd Maxine Hobbs-Laing, Orlina, 65.0%
3rd Tammy Rhoades, Springvale Smokie, 62.8%

FEI 1* Dressage Results
1st Tor Van Den Berg, Ohio and Rosie, 70.0%
2nd Corby Cunnington, Blue Print, 67.6%
3rd Patricia Nolan, Court Jester, 64.7%

FEI 2* Dressage Results
1st Tor Van Den Berg, Cato and Chino, 75.3%
2nd Corby Cunnington, Blue Print, 66.3%

1A Dressage Results (Single Horse over 148cm)
1st Patricia Nolan, Court Jester, 64.7% (1*)
2nd Tammy Rhoades, Springvale Smokie, 62.8% (Nov)
3rd Debbie King, Divine Ms M, 61.6% (Intro)

1B Dressage Results (Single Pony 120 to 148cm)
1st Corby Cunnington, Blue Print, 67.6% (1*)

2nd Maxine Hobbs-Laing, Orlina, 65.0% (Nov)

1C Dressage Results (Pony Under 120cm)
1st Sally Sagar, Trevor, 68.4% (Intro)
2nd Yohanna Cook, Millicent, 67.5% (Intro)
3rd Yohanna Cook, Nilton Myfen, 67.2% (Intro)
4th Patricia Nolan, Pocket Rocket, 66.9% (Nov)
5th Joanne Reid, Tyson, 65.3% (Intro)
6th Karen Hircock, Shadow, 63.4% (Intro)
7th Jackie Brennan, Poppy, 60.3% (Intro)
8th Sharon Rhoades, Primrose Park Penman, 57.5% (Intro)

2A Dressage Results (Pairs over 148cm)
1st Tor Van Den Berg, Chino and Cato, 75.3% (2*)
2nd Tor Van Den Berg, Ohio and Rosie, 70.0% (1*)

2C Dressage Results (Pairs under 108cm)
1st Sally Sagar, Harry and Stunner, 62.1% (Intro)

4A Cones results – speed 250m/min
1st Tor Van Den Berg, Chino and Cato, 25 penalties (3C, 22T)
2nd Tor Van Den Berg, Ohio and Rosie, 31 penalties (9C,23T)
3rd Corby Cunnington, Blue Print, 46 penalties (6C,40T)

4C Cones Results – speed 150m/min
1st Debbie King, Divine Ms M, 43 penalties (19C,25T)

4D Cones Results – Speed 100m/min
1st Sally Sagar, Trevor, 24 penalties (12C,12T)
2nd Sally Sagar, Stunner and Harry 83 penalties (6C,77T)

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