From Tassie to Wandin | An Eventful Life

From Tassie to Wandin

15 year old Bethany Hirst takes over sister Alice’s blog with a travel adventure of her own – from Tasmania to Victoria for the Australian National Championships


       Hannah (left) and Bethany (right) with the ponies All SWELLDOWN'ed after a big day


On Sunday the 17th of March we boarded our two horses Mully, a Shire X Thoroughbred and Jenni, a Connemara X Thoroughbred onto the Spirit of Tasmania ferry. Thankfully the sailing was smooth, and the horses travelled well so a great start to a busy week ahead.

Our adventure had begun, we had berthed at Port Melbourne and things were about to get interesting!

 It began with an encounter with Harry. Harry the HUNTSMAN (for those of you not in Australia – this is a HUGE, hairy spider). He made his first appearance crawling across the sun roof making his way to his new home, the bonnet. This meant everywhere we went, Harry tagged along as no one wanted to remove him. So, Harry (the Huntsman), Hannah, Bethany, Sandra (Chief Chauffeur) and Alex (Chief Strapper) drove off the Spirt of Tasmania and into the beginning of our road trip to the Australian Eventing Championship to be held at Wandin Park.

We unloaded the horses (who were very excited to be out of the float) in the heart of Melbourne to give them a feed in a local park and a walk along with early rising locals, including a FOX!


      A quick graze in Melbourne before heading to the Yarra Valley


Thanks to a beautiful family, Andrew and Laura, for opening their home and paddocks in the Yarra Valley, our horses sure then had the best place to stay just outside of Melbourne. After the horses settled in, we unpacked and organised our gear for the week then went for a drive to check out the place we would soon to be competing at.

Thanks to our lovely friends we even had a place to stay down the road. This meant we would be sleeping in beds not swags (Chief Chauffeur Sandra was very happy about this) with Jean and her new, very cute Kelpie puppy Sheena who were so welcoming. Within minutes of moving into Jean’s flat, we laid out a dressage arena on the kitchen floor to learn the new eventing dressage tests.

After an early morning dressage ride, practicing our tests, we hit the city. We located the nearest train, but it was about to leave but we made a run for it and, being the public transport illiterate Tasmanians that we are, we ran onto the open doored train without paying. The doors closed and we were applauded for our achievement by the locals on the train.

On Wednesday, we were fortunate enough to train on Little Wandin, doing some last-minute cross-country schooling, which helped immensely. The next day we rode another dressage ride, going over and over our tests; the weather was being very temperamental which didn’t help when we were trying to plait.



Dressage day came around quickly for Hannah and Mully. After completing their test on the Friday in over 30-degree heat (yes, us Tassies were melting), we both could not wait to hit the cross country track and walk the amazing course. Hannah was feeling very confident about her course but, as I am very new to 2*, I had a few more nerves. Later that evening, we watched the 4* tests and were in total awe. It was a pleasure to watch and certainly gave us some goals for the future before going back to the horses, and plaiting up Jenni ready for another early start on Saturday.

Saturday morning came and Jenni’s pre-ride was done and dusted as she gets rather hot in dressage and we have to do whatever we can to make sure she keeps her cool. Because Mully wasn’t needed on Saturday Jenni had the whole float to herself without her needing new boyfriend at her side.Jenni’s luck with dressage is rather low, right before I went in the rain started going heavier and heavier. Jenni doesn’t do dressage, let alone in the rain! She actually stayed surprisingly the calm throughout the test, (in the rain!!!) and kicked a goal to getting 62%. This was leaving the best day to go. We made sure the ponies got an extra big feed up ready for XC and SJ!



On Sunday morning we both had an early ride, I completed the 1.15cm round but dropped two rails. I was still really proud of Jenni as we are still very new to starting at this height. Hannah zoomed around cross country with only few time faults and was over the moon with Mully. Jenni and I later on went on to complete a pretty smooth cross country with only a little trouble at the water. I’m working on trying to stop her being so keen .... I think that now I just need to let her love her launch in!

The big jumps were so cool to ride, I loved doing the Quarry, and the huge Palisade! Hannah also completed her showjumping at a similar time and Mully tried so hard in the sand. We both agree that we kicked some big goals and learnt so much that day. Then we went to watch some phenomenal riding combinations on cross country in the bigger classes - I took some photos and was very excited when the riders in the 4* used them in their posts later on in the day, getting photo credits from them was simply awesome. We left Wandin Park with smiles on our faces, having had a great experience. It sure was an AWESOME event in which we both hope to attend again soon. The horses recovered beautifully with lots of carrots and apples.



That following Tuesday night we headed back to Port Melbourne to board the Spirit of Tasmania and head home. Mully and Jenni made lots of little and old people very happy on the grassy area near the boat. It’s a great place for them to have a final munch on grass and a drink before loading up.  But the mainland shouldn’t worry because we will be back very soon, we love coming over to compete with so many lovely people (and will bring Harry the Huntsman of course).