Victoria Welch Wins Individual Gold at the 2009 AYOF

Mon, 01/19/2009 - 00:00
2009 Australian Youth Olympic Festival

The final event of the AYOF was the Freestyle Dressage which was the final component of the Individual Dressage competition.  For Australia it produced the result that they had been hoping for.  A gold medal performance from Queensland's Victoria Welch aboard Fairbanks Forever.

In this event the gold medal was awarded to the competitor who had the best cumulative score over the three days of competition.  Victoria Welch had won the previous two tests and had a good lead over the rest of the field.

First into the arena was Natalie Pin Rou Tan (SIN) on the adorable pony Glo-Brook Legend.  It was just so cute!  Glo-Brook Legend danced around the arena to “Dancing Queen” for a score of 60.75%

New Zealand’s Rebecca Goldsbury rode Elizabeth Welch’s impressive black mare BJ Kaneto Cleopatra.  Although this horse has all the talent she is only 8-years-old and elementary level.  Therefore she was green and was difficult to keep consistent.  Rebecca did a great job.  61.08%

Shunseke Terui (JPN) rode a beautifully choreographed test.  Aloha Redeema was a tense and did not make Shuseke’s job easy. 56.83%

Yung Hang Keith Choi (SIN) rode Innocent King.  A sweet honest horse but some mistakes especially in the canter prevented them scoring better than 54.42%

Pei-Jia Caroline Rosanna Chew was the final rider for Singapore.  Aboard the big horse Duel Chutzpah she did a good job and was rewarded with 63.33%.

Emily Cousins of Great Britain had an unfortunate incident with her music.  As she was riding the first half of the test she looked to be completely out of time with the music.  Then the music stopped. The Judge at C stopped her and Emily explained that the music had been incorrect all the way through.  The wrong CD had been given to the organisers.  After a conference the Judges it was decided Emily could re ride her test before the next break in the programme.

Australia’s Robbie Soster did a great job on Vicki Gowland’s 16-year-old Cedar Lodge Titian.  The music was bright and happy and the test well choreographed.  Thank you to Mel Widdis from Fortissimo Freestyles who kindly put together the music for all the Australian tests. A great test for 62.50%.

Japan’s Tomohiko Nishiwaki and the pretty Robali Royal Salute performed an obedient and calm test.  The flying changes were excellent.  The timing to the music was perfect.  59.17%

Next was the baby of the Australian Dressage Team, Gabriella Robson from Western Australia on Bethany Jackson’s 19-year-old Stormarn Skies.  Again the music was excellent (the trot work started with the up beat track Children by Robert Miles) and the test was well ridden.  61.58%.

Back into the arena for the re-ride came Emily Cousins for Great Britain.  The Judges decided to judge the technical components in the latter part of the test not completed last time. 

It was a lovely obedient test which was well ridden and harmonious to watch little Rathowen Rustic had been going beautifully.  Considering the first half of the test was judged when it was being ridden to the wrong music you can’t help but wonder what the score may have been without the muddle-up!  Poor Emily! 61.50%

Hannah Appleton from Nelson, New Zealand was next into the arena on Sienna Tailor Made owned by Jessica Willard.  Despite minor dummy spit going past the gate one this attractive Anglo Arab gelding did a lovely rhythmical test.  Hannah’s timing with the music was spot on. 64.33%

Alisha Sixtus also from New Zealand rode Sancha Butler’s Goldshaft Moonshadow.  This pony is adorable and very obedient.  The music was really cute and suited the pony perfectly.  A good job.  62.83%

Next into the arena was the one we had all been waiting for Victoria Welch and Fairbanks Forever.  True to the standard they set in the previous two days of competition they looked in complete control.  There were a few small glitches - a break of rhythm in the first extended trot and a mistake in the changes, but overall a really nice performance.  Each of the judges awarded them the highest scores of the day for an average of 69.42%.  The title was as good as in the bag.

Jessica Dunn (GBR) rode a great test to ‘Flashdance’ music on Shining Messiah owned by Rebecca Coventry.  The test was obedient and again the timing to the music was perfect.  66.00%.

Last rider of the day was Brit Charlie Hutton.  Charlie is a tall strong build but sits really well and rode the 8-year-old AEA Julius beautifully.  The horse does not have a big trot but the canter work was good and Charlie made the most of every movement. 65.17% which was third place in the Freestyle scoreboard but good enough to earn him the silver medal in the overall Individual results.

Individual Dressage Competition gold medal to Victoria Welch (AUS), silver to Charlie Hutton (GBR) and bronze to Jessica Dunn (GBR).

Victoria said that she (and the other Australian riders) elected not to ride in on Saturday afternnoon training session in an attempt to keep the horses fresh.

“It worked. He felt great in the Freestyle,” said Victoria. 

“He has a tendency to get a little nervous but I found him easy to work with.  We formed a great partnership.”

Victoria recently won the Que Sera Hanovarian Young Rider Challenge.  The wonderful prize kindly donated by Kay and Jim Sutherland is a month training in Germany!  Victoria is planning to head to Germany in March or April. 

“It has been an amazing few weeks!” commented Victoria.

Photos copyrighted: Franz Venhaus

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