WA riders headed to Adelaide | An Eventful Life

WA riders headed to Adelaide

      Mia Mercuri and ESB Irish Nymph               Photo courtesy Waylib Photos


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Mitsubishi Motors Australian International 3 Day Event - find out more here


The 2019 Mitsubsihi Motors Australian International 3 Day Event will once again see horses and riders from Western Australia travel several days to compete in Adelaide

A fellow rider who hails from Western Australia, Madison Gielen caught up with four riders who will be competing in the CCI3*-L; Mia Mercuri (Young Rider), Vaz McLaughlan, Kenya Wilson and Nat Hibbert


Mia Mercuri and ESB Irish Nymph


The 2019 Australian International 3 Day Event will be the first trip to Adelaide for 19-year-old Mia Mercuri. She will be riding ESB Irish Nymph, a 14-year-old Irish Sport Horse by ESB Irish Edition.

Mia, who graduated from Perth College in 2018 and now works full time in accounts at her family owned business, Solargain, is aiming to have a confident and fun experience. In the future she hopes to bring her young horse, ESB Irish Tribute, to Adelaide and this trip will set the groundwork

In the meantime, she is bringing ESB Irish Nymph a more experienced horse that she has a good partnership with, having been together for six years. They have been consistently placed at 3* level, with this year’s results including a second place in the Brigadoon CCN3*-S, second in the Dryandra CCN3*-S and sixth in the WAYER CCI3*-S.

“The chance to compete in Adelaide is a big dream for me” says Mia who is thrilled to be competing there. Mia will be joined by her coach, Olympic and WEG medallist Sonja Johnson, as well as her parents, Dom and Heather Mercuri on the adventure in Adelaide

Mia has competed the WA Show Jumping Patrons Cup and Swan River CCI3*-S in October in the lead up while the Brigadoon CCN3* Combined Training in early November will be her final hit out before Adelaide



      Vaz McLaughlan and Kolora Stud Triple 8           Photo courtesy Waylib Photos


Vaz McLaughlan and Kolora Stud Triple 8


Vaz McLaughlan, originally hailing from Scotland, now lives in Perth but the one on the other side of the world, in Western Australia

Based in Brigadoon (yes, it really exists in Australia), just minutes from the WA State Equestrian Centre, Vaz will also be making her debut at Adelaide in 2019 riding Kolora Stud Triple 8 (Arnie), a 15-year-old, New Zealand thoroughbred that joined the Vaz’s team in 2016.

Vaz is well known around the West Australian Eventing scene for her endless positivity and determination, demonstrated by the very fact that she is competing at the Australian International 3 Day Event in 2019.

Five years ago, before she had even taken up eventing, Vaz decided that she wanted to compete at Australia’s biggest competition, and now she is accomplishing that goal

Vaz didn’t start eventing until she was 30 years old and the first horse she purchased was bought solely due to the fact that it was a great dressage horse as Vaz and her support team were dubious at that time that she would ever make it to Adelaide! Vaz now works as a full-time rider at Glenbaile Stables. 

Kolora Stud Triple 8 is a typical Thoroughbred and with this comes a couple of challenges

“The two main challenges that we will face in the lead up to the event are making sure that Arnie makes the trip across the Nullarbor* well and ensuring he is fit but not too fit that the dressage phase is a complete disaster!”

Vaz will be joined at Adelaide 2019 by her best friend of nearly over 25 years as well as her ‘Australian parents’ and sponsors, Sandy and Frieda Alexander. One helpful piece advice Vaz will be keeping in her mind in the lead up to Adelaide is “The harder you work, the luckier you get!”

Like Mia, Vaz will be using the Brigadoon CCN3*on the first weekend of November as their final prep run


*For those unfamiliar with the distances travelled by the Western Australian riders, the road across the Nullarbor Plain is called the Eyre Highway and it connects Norseman in Western Australia (WA) with Port Augusta in South Australia (SA), a distance of 1675km. For Vaz, travelling from Perth to Adelaide, the journey will take several days to cover approximately 2,700km




Kenya Wilson and Sandros Salute MW


Kenya Wilson is no stranger to the Australian International 3 Day Event, having already competed at the prestigious event three times on board two different horses (watch Kenya and Winifred Fair compete in the 2* - then 1* - at Adelaide in 2016)

“Whether you have a good or bad run at Adelaide” says Kenya “You will still have a good time!”

This will the first Adelaide for her nine-year-old Sandros Salute, a New Zealand bred Oldenburg x Thoroughbred by Salutation, who won the 2018 Eventing WA Master Series 2* Leaderboard with Kenya. 

Adelaide is a personal favourite for Kenya with the event being held in the middle of the Adelaide CBD and the massive Western Australian contingent that travels over to support the riders each year, giving it a special feel 

Kenya, a Level 1 NCAS coach who coaches at Zia Park, a local riding school is a busy lady. She is a full time University student at Edith Cowan University, completing her Masters of Teaching majoring in Physical Education and this impacts the time she can take off for the event. So Sandros Salute MW will be travelling over to South Australia with her stepfather, Ian Campbell and fellow competitor, Will Baxter with his horse Kdale Mr Collins whilst Kenya remains at home until just before the event as “I’m right in the middle of my practicum for the Masters of Teaching and can only take a few days off to compete in Adelaide”

When asked about the main challenges she will face with Sandros in the lead up to the event Kenya says that “Due to a slow start to the year we are going to be working on fitness and going through our dressage test. So far, we have a good plan put together about the lead up, but I won’t tell Sandros that...”



      Nat Hibbert and Two Chances competing in Adelaide in 2018


Natalie (Nat) Hibbert and Two Chances


Nat Hibbert, based in the Herne Hill, also just minutes from the WA State Equestrian Centre, will be competing at the Australian International Event for the fourth time, this time on her 11-year-old off the track thoroughbred, Two Chances.

Nat represented Australia at the Trans-Tasman Young Rider Championships in 2002 and, with Two Chances also known as Wally, she has won the 3* at Moora and Wooroloo Horse Trials.

This year, Nat is hoping for nothing but smooth sailing from the time she leaves her front gates in Western Australia to the time when she returns home, with a happy horse for the whole trip. Known for being exceptionally busy as a full-time coach and horse trainer, Nat says her main challenge will be ‘getting everything packed, finishing off the last bits of training here and there, coaching and working to fund the trip’ before she leaves!

The most helpful piece of advice Nat has received was from well-known WA horse community personality and chiropractor, Ivan Haggerty, whose advice for cross country riding was succinct and simple “Keep a leg either side and your mind in the middle”

I’m sure all competitors at the 2019 Australian Three Day event are hoping that this will be the case!


Article by Madison Gielen