"I can't speak horse"
3* rider Molly Barry had a change of pace at Wandin Park on Saturday, helping out as the groom for her boyfriend and also chatting to riders in some of the lower level classes. She found out a bit more about these enthusiastic riders and their horses (and even a Pig) who hopefully all went home happy after a good day’s eventing
Sarah and Jess Walsh
Horses and riders of all kinds braved a dewy Saturday morning at Wandin Park for the beginning of the annual two day Horse Trials. For riders in the Training 4 and 5 classes however, the event both began and finished on the one day.
One of these riders, Sarah Walsh had a rather successful event. Sarah was very happy with her performance, saying that she was "just after an improvement from her previous results, and we got that today." Sarah only took up riding a number of years ago and came to the event with her daughter Jess, who was competing in the EvA105. Sarah decided "why should Jess have all of the fun," and so she got a horse of her own ....
We also spoke to Dr. Peter Choong, who was very pleased with his ride in the Training 4 class. Peter, a highly regarded orthopaedic surgeon, also began riding at a later age, having only been riding for about eight years.
Peter says that "horses can't speak English and I can't speak horse" and attributes that to being one of the reasons he loves eventing. He describes his 12 year old Cleveland Bay mare "Ivy" with much affection, and stated that she 'looked after him today, even at a few of the jumps I would get spooked at!'
Wendy Skill and She's A Dark Horse
Another lovely natured mare lead the EvA80 Division D from start to finish, She's a Dark Horse, piloted by Wendy Skill. Wendy bought 'FiFi' as she is affectionately known, only a matter of months ago, when her almost-two-star horse sustained a 12 month injury. However Wendy's new mount has been very successful since her career change, placing second numerous times as well as notching up a win in her first horse trials at Yarrambat late last year.
Another off the track thoroughbred that appears to have taken a liking to his new career, is Sophie Fox's La Couchen, who retired from racing in Hong Kong late last year to come back to Australia and into Sophie's care. A winner of 3.6 million dollars in Hong Kong, "Pig" (so called due to the brand P19, which looks a lot like pig) as he is known at home, may have a few events to win to beat that prize money record on the eventing scene!