SHOALHAVEN’S Victoria Davies has recently returned from the Victorian Dressage Festival, at the Werribee National Equestrian Centre, with a number of strong results.
The event, which was the first Australian World Equestrian Games (WEG) qualifier event for para equestrian, saw Davies win three of her tests with her new horse Bravour M, affectionately known at Spuddy.
“We have only been together three months, to which we have trained so incredibly hard and tactfully to prepare for these major competitions, which will be held between December 2017 and July 2018,” Davies said.
“My goal is to gain a spot on the Australian team for the World Equestrian Games (WEG) which will be held September 2018 Tyron, USA.
“My coach Jim Collin has always said “if something goes wrong during a test, breath and keep fighting as it’s only one element out of 25.”
On the first day of competition, Spuddy felt great, however on closer inspection, there was an issue with Davies’ equipment, which saw one of the three judges award the pair a lower than expected score – and yet, the pair still won.
“On day two, I came back fighting to win with a score of 70.30 per cent - a super result and I couldn’t stop smiling,” Davies said.
“The last day of competition – our final test – I rode in the indoor arena with a crowd, which I have learnt from this event, Spuddy loves to be the centre of attention and he thrived on the atmosphere.
“He wasn’t scared by the noise or blue lights – he knew it was his time to shine.
“For this test, we scored a massive 77.89 per cent and the international judge came over during presentations to congratulate me.
“She said she had goosebumps watching my test and stated she’d never given a 77 per cent score to a para equestrian rider in her judging career, which is amazing feedback as she judged at the Rio Paralympics last year.”
As a result of these strong finishes, Davies was named the overall para equestrian champion across the five grades.
“To be named overall para equestrian champion was amazing,” she said.
“To win it, I came up against some of the world’s best riders - a 2012 Paralympic gold medallist and two Rio Paralympic riders.”
In more good news for Davies and Spuddy, they achieved the qualifier score they were searching for.
“It was very important to achieve this qualifier score - it shows the Australian selectors that I have the talent and horse to be in contention to be selected for the Australian WEG team,” she said.
“However, hitting my target score, which is very high for my grade is most important, which I have a few more competitions to achieve, and I’m determined I can do it.”