Adelaide is done and dusted

Adelaide is done and dusted for another year!

There is something about the Australian International Horse Trials that makes me want to come back every year, with as many as horses as possible – I think it must be the size of the WA cheer squad!

This year I only took over Murph, to have a crack at the 4star. So a week before the stables opened, myself, my mother slash full time groom and our 2 dogs, Flash the corgi and Toby the kelpie made the trip across the Nullarbor.

For those of you who don’t know the drive across the Nullarbor is a long one – Day 1 for me is quite different to most Perth residents, as we drive south to Esperance rather than going to Kalgoorlie, to get to the Eyre Highway. The first stop overnight is on a private station, Fraser Range, which has a number of horse yards available. From there Day 2 starts very early, with over 1000km to cover and a time difference of 2.5hours we constantly chase the daylight. Overnight we stop at Ceduna Racecourse, who over the years have collected ‘honesty’ payments, and been able to put the money to good use, building 2 sheds with large rubber lined yards – perfect for long distance travel! Day 3 becomes slightly easier, no time differences to deal with and back under the 1000km of travel, it feels quite nice to reach civilisation again!

Yards at Ceduna

Long distance travel like this can be very tiring for the horses, with items like Equissage and Red Light Therapy pads almost becoming essentials. The biggest concern is keeping an eye on hydration and temperatures and keeping feed as basic as possible (removing powders/supplements etc). You also get to know little tricks that work for your horse the more times you travel, for example with Murph I know that he doesn’t like to have a drink until he has been for a walk, stretched his legs and starts licking his lips.

Once in SA we pulled into Kersbrook Equestrian Centre, owned and run by Nicki Stuart, just out of Gawler to rest and recoup before heading into the stables at Adelaide. It is a beautiful property, with National Park next door I got to stretch my legs doing lots of hiking with Toby the kelpie in tow, even spotting wild deer on a couple of occasions. We also took a trip into Gawler and had a walk around Dead Man’s Pass where all the old XC fences are still standing!

Dressage Day at Adelaide

So, onto the event – my dressage was as to be expected really, yes more relaxation and less tension (or spooking at the big screen!) would be nice, but it’s all a learning process for us both. I liked the course, with lots of black flag options it was nice to know if I got an ‘A’ element wrong I had the option to detour. However that wasn’t needed, and whilst I didn’t wear a watch or go for time, I did go through all the straight routes and am extremely happy with my round. Showjumping has left me with lots to work on, including my nerves!

Upon returning home on the Wednesday I unpacked and repacked for our State Young Event Horse Championships (because I hadn’t done enough travelling already!). It seemed like a good idea when I entered, but it was a big ask – however I am glad I went, as it was a great lead up to Eventing in the Park and my Australian Stockhorse Touchstone Felix even came home the 6yr old champion!