News / 24 February 2019

Dressage by the Sea CDI 4* Day Four: Victorian victorious in the Grand Prix CDI 4* Freestyle

Victorian victorious in the Grand Prix CDI 4* Freestyle

The record books will read that the inaugural winner of the Southern Hemisphere’s first Otto Sport Australia Grand Prix CDI4* Freestyle was the Victorian combination of Fiona Selby and her 16-year-old German warmblood mare Tacita (Dionysos/Tazia//).

Fiona owns and runs the Boneo Park equestrian facility on the Mornington Peninsula.  Between the development of her business and the injuries that have kept Tacita in and out of competition in the last five years, today was a career highlight and their biggest win together.

“I just can believe it,” Fiona said. “I’ve never had a ride like that in my life. It felt amazing. She was just with me all the way.”

Fiona’s husband Edward noted that Tacita was a bit like a 1978 Ferrari with only 10,000kms. She would be in work, looking great and there would be an injury that required time out again. Tacita was put back into work just last September with a focus on conditioning. She is now lighter and stronger and had a successful buildup to this win with titles at the State Championships.

Earlier in the Otto Sport Australia Grand Prix Arena, Susan Elekessy and her 14-year-old gelding Don Rubin (Don Frederick/Callum Park Regardless/Callum Park) added their second title for the week by taking out the Cox Architecture Grand Prix Freestyle CDN. On hand to make the presentation was Chris Millman, the man responsible for the design of the award-winning buildings of Willinga Park. He presented the magnificent Trophy Rug made by Aussie Embroidery.

In the Indoor Arena, we saw the completion of the Young Horse classes with Robbie McKinnon on board HV Del Piero (De Niro/HV Her Highness //) scoring 83.60% to beat husband David McKinnon on board Terry Snow’s Willinga Park Fangio (Flanell/Weingold//) with 83.40% in the 4-year-old class. Terry did pick up the 5-year-old class honours with his Willinga Park Emotion (Equitaris/Feliciana//) presented by Brett Parbery for 83.80%. In the 6-year-old class it was a Queensland win for the combination of Jayden Brown on board Lauren George’s incredible 6-year-old gelding Bertone (Benicio//) whose top score, 86.00%,  was made up of Trot 8.8, Walk 8.0, Canter 9.5, Submission 8.5 and Perspective 9.0  Certainly a horse to watch into the future.

We also had Paralympian Emma Booth and her magnificent Zidane on the Otto Sport Grand Prix Arena for a special demonstration ride. This was certainly one of the highlights of the week and we thank her for coming to Willinga Park. Here’s a little insight into her training that’s been viewed more than 6.5 million times: https://www.facebook.com/equinl.equinl/videos/2536815019680736/?t=0

Emma is a superstar in the equestrian world and one of the most inspirational people you’ll ever meet. A down-to-earth Aussie, with aspirations and dreams as big as you can imagine.

After the completion of a wonderful week of competition at the Bawley Point property, the South Coast now becomes the destination for Australia’s leading Dressage combinations as we have two days off before the start of the second competition of the Dressage by the Sea CDI4* on Wednesday. Many of the combinations have decided to stay on and compete again as the competition moves into the stunning indoor arena. This venue is similar to the campaign they would ride if they were competing anywhere through Europe at the highest levels. “We’re so excited for the week ahead,” said Selby. “The first competition has given us great confidence, and we can’t wait to see what lies ahead.”

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