EQUITANA Melbourne 2016 has finished for another year and Sunday has delivered a perfect final day for the equine showcase. With all competitions and challenges drawing to a close there were plenty of results and great personal achievements for riders of all disciplines.
As the day commenced there was no time for sentimentality and the competition schedule kicked off with the EQUITANA Australian Open Cutting Championships. Horses and riders worked in perfect unison to a dance of speed and agility with a selected cow, the competition was a true spectacle of horsemanship. The Non Pro category was won by Dean Jones on This Catiflex on 76 points, second was Julie Jones on Onetime Silver Cat (75) and third was Trudy Holden with Garter Cat (73). The Open Pro category saw Corey Holden and Amaroo Stylish Pepto named champions with a score of 76, while Aaron Wheatley with Cuttabar Designer Cat narrowly beat out Troy Randal and Sugarland by half a point for second, scoring 74 and 73.5 respectively.
For the last day of the challenge The Way Of The Horse competitors- Damian Hall, Mitch Gollan and Daniel Robinson entered the Grand Pavilion Arena with their horses. Damian with Roseridge Lacey, Mitch with Roseridge Cinnamon and Daniel with Roseridge Monroe. The Final gave the trainers a chance to display just how far they had come with their horses and to display the trust they had built together over the past three days. The results were spectacular. Daniel Robinson was deemed the winner with Roseridge Monroe but a huge congratulations to all three trainers for showcasing their amazing talents with their horses that were untouched only days before.
Demonstrating the versatility of our native breed, the Australian Brumby Challenge finished off with a freestyle challenge where riders were encouraged to demonstrate how far these amazing animals had come after being wild just 150 days prior. Rachel Clarkson with VBA Maximus was crowned the winner, while South Australian Pauly Daniel with VBA Magnus come second and Lara Beth with Sansa came in third.
The Mounted Games continued as state versed state in the Mounted Games Australian Championship Final. The teams blasted across the Rowville Competition Arena to the cheers of the crowd who rode every change, turn and charge for the finish line with these brave young riders. Team Western Australia were crowned Mounted Games Australian Champions 2016 with a combined score over the 4 heats and final of 146. South Australia came second with 137 and home team Victoria rounded out the top three on 126.
The Rowville Competition Arena hosted the Off The Track Showing Showcase, where ex-racehorses show off their new disciplines to lead an example for life after the race track. Blaine Perkins on the beautiful SLM Mirinda took out the Showing Showcase with Briony Randel and Entourage second and Jenny Troung on Academy of Arts rounding out the top three.
For the first time at EQUITANA Melbourne the Rowville Competition Arena became invaded with hunting dogs and blasting trumpets- this signalled the start to the inaugural EQUITANA Hunt Chase. Teams of riders completed the jumps course with Team Hume/ Tocumwal Hunt Club coming out on top with a total of eight faults for 154 points. Melbourne Hunt Club placed second with eight faults and 161 points, while Oaklands Team Two finished third with 12 faults and 164 total points. This competition was well received by the crowd and even the dogs left happy after a run around and a pat on the arena by the adoring crowd.
The ‘Rooftop Express’ afternoon entertainment program, starring David Manchon and Anthony Lucia was a true celebration of horsemanship and proved to be the perfect conclusion to EQUITANA Melbourne 2016. The family-fun showcase was packed full of stunts, jokes and amazing equine stunts that left the audience spellbound by the amazing ability of all the animals and special guests alike. Patrik Kittel made a star appearance, riding a champion reining horse and transforming from Dressage rider to cowboy! Olympic Eventer Megan Jones also featured, showing the crowd how it’s done on the back of a cutting horse. It was a true blue tribute to Australian stockmen and a epic final performance to conclude a sensational four days at the Melbourne Showgrounds.