BOLONG’s Victoria Davies is well on her way to compete at the World Equestrian Games after a glittering performance at a recent Dressage Festival in Werribee, Victoria.
The eight-day festival was held from November 28 to December 1 and was run in conjunction with the CPEDI 3, Australia’s only international event, with riders visiting from Hong Kong.
The stress and pressure was intense as all riders were aiming for qualification for the largest horse sport event in the world, World Equestrian Games (WEG), which will be held at Normady, France, mid 2014.
Despite being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at age nine, Davies has never let her disability get in the way of her love of horses and competition.
Her sights are firmly set on making the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games, but the success she has celebrated in competition this year has put her in line for the WEG.
“But it [Dressage Festival] was my first long trip – 11 hours, so I wanted to see how my horse holds up, cope with the travel and then compete for a weekend.”
Davies and her horse Andaluka Elegido, also known as Eddie, proved they can go the miles, returning with a first, second and fourth place.
Davies’ best event was the Grade II Freestyle, where she placed first with 66.15 per cent.
“This was a bit of a surprise as in the canter some silly photographer blinded me with the camera flash and I couldn’t see for half a minute. But we got on with it,” she said.
In the Grade II Team test, she only just missed out on the blue ribbon by 0.3 per cent.
She also claimed fourth place in the Grade II Individual Championship.
Davies still gained over 60 per cent so has qualified for the WEG, but she felt the photographer’s flash and other incidents that happened while she was competing, prevented her from gaining her best results.
“I felt I could have done a lot better, so I am a bit disappointed, but I just have to prove myself next time,” she said.
“But in saying that, I am very proud with my results as Eddie has only been under saddle since August 2012.”
Davis will now have to prove herself to the Australian selectors at the next two competitions next year.
Here riders are not only selected on their performance, but also on selector’s preference and their mental suitability for the WEG.
“I am always trying to perfect. If I’m getting sevens then I will work on it until I get eights. But I have also got to be mentally ready for it and 100 per cent focused,” Davies said.
Davies thanked her sponsors Hygain, Technyflex, Mobicosa, Top Tails, Sabre, Best Equestrian, Andalusianworld.com and Equistyle.
The selection process for WEG and Paralympics requires Davies to travel interstate, which is financially costly.
“The road to success starts with passion, dedication, support and hard work, which I have all conquered. But I still need help,” she said.
If you believe you are able to help in anyway or would like to become a sponsor, visit her website at www.victoriadavies.com.au