Family affair for Australian dressage | An Eventful Life

Family affair for Australian dressage

Lyndal Oatley

 

The Olympic dressage competition in Greenwich will be a family affair, with cousins Lyndal and Kristy Oatley named in the three-person team that also includes Mary Hanna who will be competing at her fourth Olympic Games.

Australia qualified for the Olympic team dressage competition as a result of their performance at the two-part regional qualifier held in Sydney and the Netherlands in 2011. The process for qualification then began, with two selection events – one in Mannheim, Germany and the other in Compiegne, France.

At the end of the two-round nomination process, 31-year-old Lyndal (pictured above) was the highest placed athlete – having finished both events as the top-placed Australian. These performances ensured Lyndal and her 11-year-old bay stallion Sandro Boy were named in the 2012 Team, a dream 12 years in the making.

“The Sydney Olympics was my first ‘in-person’ introduction to dressage at such a high international level,” Oatley said.

“I sat in the stadium and was so inspired to ride at such an event with great riding, amazing horses, the atmosphere and the admiration of what it must take to achieve such a level of training.”

One of her inspirations in Sydney was cousin Kristy, Australia’s most successful dressage Olympian to date having finished 9th in the individual and 6th in the team events riding Wall Street at the 2000 Games.

For Lyndal, having the opportunity to ride alongside her cousin is an added bonus to making her first Olympic Team.

“You have to love keeping it in the family!” Lyndal said. “This is such a unique situation to be in, and it’s really exciting not only for us competing, but for our family. We are a sporty family, and are very driven, but we are also good sports - so we will all be supporting one another.”

In a unique twist, Lyndal will also compete against her husband Patrik Kittle – who competes for Sweden. Equestrian is the only sport on the Olympic program where men, women and animals compete together and for Lyndal that means competing against her husband who is also normally her coach.

“When it comes to competing with Patrik, we are very used to competing against one another and we are still happily married,” Lyndal said. “So we know how to balance life and our sport and must be doing it right so we change nothing!”

Although Australia has never won an Olympic medal in dressage, recent international results have been a strong boost for the Aussies leading into London. In 2010, Australia posted their best team dressage result in history at the World Equestrian Games, finishing eighth.

Rounding out the team is 57-year-old Hanna who will make history as the first Australian dressage athlete to compete at four Olympics.

Originally a showjumper and eventing rider, Hanna switched to dressage in her twenties and never looked back. As well as her Olympic campaigns, Hanna has represented Australia three times at the World Equestrian Games and FEI World Cup Finals. Coming off the back of a fourth placing at the 2011 Hickstead CDI3* Grand Prix Freestyle, Hanna will be looking to impress in London.

Dressage will get underway on Day 6 of the Games and will be held at Greenwich Park.

 

The dressage section of the 2012 Australian Olympic Team:

 

Name

Horse

Age at Games

Born

Lives

Lyndal Oatley

Sandro Boy

32

Sydney, NSW

Nottuln, GERMANY

Kristy Oatley

Clive

34

Sydney, NSW

Gronwohld, GERMANY

Mary Hanna

Sancette

57

Melbourne, VIC

Bellarine, VIC (3221)